Does your practice need a studio manager?

As the owner of an architecture practice, your day is likely filled with a never-ending to-do list. There are the daily meetings, check ins with clients and builders, bills to pay and staff to manage. Not to mention, there’s probably also some design work you’re interested in completing.  

What if there was someone at your side to handle the business side of the practice – the day-to-day running of the practice – so that you can focus on the big picture at hand? 

Introducing the studio manager.  

A studio manager is an individual who can alleviate you from some of the burdens in your workday. They can handle a variety of different tasks, such as hiring new recruits, handling leads, or preparing the monthly budget for the practice, so that you do not have to.  

In our most recent Huddle, we sat down with Bronwyn Shelsher, Studio Manager at Sydney-based ArtMade Architects to learn more about her role and how it impacts the architecture practice. 

Here are 5 key takeaways from our chat with Bronwyn: 

  1. Monitoring the financial health of the business is a top priority. One of Bronwyn’s most important tasks is to make sure the business is financially stable. That includes preparing all of the financial reports, monitoring them monthly and proposing subsequent actions. The studio manager should also ensure that the practice is billing in a timely manner. 


  1. There’s never a ‘right’ time to hire a studio manager. Hiring a studio manager is a strategic move. You shouldn’t hire a studio manager because your practice now has 10 employees, or there’s been some turnover. It should happen when the business owner feels that they want to move the business to the next level.  


  1. A studio manager will take on those practice improvement projects you so desperately need. When is the last time that you thought your practice really needed something, but you simply couldn’t find the time or energy to get around it? A studio manager will handle those “big projects in the background that no one ever wants to do,” said Bronwyn. That includes projects such as undertaking a rebrand and upgrading your website. (Learn more about how practice improvement projects can improve your business in our Practice Improvement Formula Course.) 


  1. Time management skills are an absolute must. To be able to manage all of the different aspects in the role, a studio manager needs to be able to manage their time wisely. One option is to block certain times a day to work on specific jobs, such as marketing for one hour in the morning and billing after lunch. You can also set a daily meeting time, where staff members know they can reach you to ask any questions they may have.  


  1. A background in design or related fields is handy. While it is not necessary, it would be beneficial if the studio manager has some background in architecture, design or a related field. Having some knowledge in the field means that they will understand the jargon and how everything works, allowing them to be better at their job.  


Want to watch the Huddle with Bronwyn Shelsher? Head over to this page to access a replay of the Huddle session for free. Huddle events are invite-only events where the Archibiz community and friends gather to learn more about a topic or trend that’s impacting architects and how they run their business.   

Recruitment is one of the many business topics that we cover in both of our online programs for architecture practice leaders. Learn more about our signature courses today.