14+ Ways of making money as a freelance architect or designer

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Making money as a freelance architect

Are you a freelance architect, a student of architecture, or someone eager to start your own freelance design business and begin making money?

This article will show you how, with real commitment and some of your free time, you can start using your skills to make money on your own, outside of a traditional design studio.

I won’t list all the benefits of starting a freelance career in architecture (whether to supplement or completely replace working in a studio). If you’re here, you probably already know the advantages. You might also be wondering why no one told you how tough but rewarding being an architect can be, and whether there are many freelancers like you. If so, you’re in the right place. This is exactly what you’ll find out in this post!

Being an architect is a big responsibility, and that’s all on you. In this post, I’ll help you figure out how to start your freelance business and begin earning money with your skills.

The web is full of freelance architect jobs

It’s not always simple to find the job of your life, but the world is full of opportunities, and many of these come from the web. Don’t hesitate to change direction or to change your mind, there is always time to find a new job.

Probably you are very good at CAD, 3D model software, in graphics and who knows what else… Plus, you have a good taste – plus, you have a good taste, which is not a common attribute. These and other skills you possess can take you far if you want. There are a lot of freelance architect jobs and you have no choice but to intercept them. Start from this list of resources and deepen the one that suits you.

Thanks to internet we are able to comfortly work from our desk and to propose ourselves to all potential customers in ways that a few years ago were not even thinkable. Below we summarize a number of tips and tools that can help you making money as a freelance Architect using only your abilities.

If you’re interested we recommend you also the topic of personal branding. So, read also Personal Branding for Architects: how to promote yourself”, because in these cases the authority is very important. When you can not appear in person, you have to present yourself on the web in the best possible way.

The last thing before leaving is that if you ever take the road as a freelance architect, you will have to carry out the most disparate tasks and duties – from billing management to customer relations and a whole other series of organizational and collateral activities. Don’t forget that there may be tools explicitly designed to help run your business. Read this post to find out and note the best ones!

The main ways to make money as a freelance architect

GoPillar, Let’s work with real clients

Cocontest is probably the best invention ever for an architect. An open and meritocratic platform where you can experience and participate in small competitions. Obviously with cash prizes. This is a community that is now taking place in every part of the world and that currently houses a community of 14,000 architects and designers.


Anyone can become a customer, and anyone can participate to the competitions. People from all around the world submit their project needs and ask designers to compete to provide their ideas and solutions. After closing the competition, the customer chooses the winner and pays a substantial refund – according to the type of work required – from the simple plan to a 3d render. Go and discover it!

Architecture platforms

Find out which websites people use to search for an architect online. Obviously, you will have to take care of your presentation and understand which of these is the most suitable for you and the services you would like to offer.

Get some clients with Houzz

architetto freelance

Houzz is a platform that provides three different service to the users. You can discover design ideas for your home, browsing more than 9 million photos filtered based on your taste, find freelance architects (and of course you can add yourself) and an entire shop.


You can log in and create a personal page of your business  – here an example – (whether you are alone, whether you belong to a team) where you going to tell through a portfolio your realized projects, your bio and provide all your contacts.

Once you have created your profile you will be indexed based on your geographical location, your value and based on reviews of customers who have worked with you. It is really an excellent platform for freelance architects in my opinion.

Freelance Collaboration websites

making money as an architect

Be found in one or more of these platforms that collect freelancers of all kinds, including often architects or designers:


Create a profile and complete it with your skills, a sharp and honest bio, and your best profile picture. Finally, set your hourly rate. If you always do a good job, you will only get positive reviews, and you will be able to place yourself better and better in the rankings. Don’t forget that your page on one of these platforms (or all of them) can be a good landing page for any occasion with your potential customers. You could, for example, report it on your LinkedIn profile or Twitter or Facebook.

Sell your products – digital or not with Shapeways

Shapeways is the platform for 3D e-commerce. Whether you are a digital modeler or you have access to a 3D printer, here you will find fertile ground for your passions. This is a great community where designers are free to sell their creations and online customers are free to buy them. Shapeways enters the picture in the physical creation of products and in their delivery. This service provides a network system of 3D printers and uses them to create objects.


Using a 3D modeling software for 3D printers, (Tinkercad for example) anyone can become a designer and publish his projects at no cost and with no contractual relationship with any production company. Someone is speaking about third industrial revolution referring to the advent of 3D Printing, and in this case we would like to confirm this definition. If you are good in modeling, you will not have to worry about anything else. Your products will be bought and produced without additional efforts.

Create an online shop

If you are creative and if you have a strong sense of business, then you may want to trade and sell online t-shirt or anything else (if you are good in using graphics programs – all you need is a bit of time to create your drawings / written / photos and print on t-shirts). The next step will be to take care of receipts and shipments. And you can do everything remaining on Facebook!


With so much willingness you can design your shirts and present them to the web in a simple and original way using  mock-up files – in this way you can begin to sell them without having previously printed and therefore without incurring upfront costs, (obviously you have to run after the first order! It is useful to have in mind the entire production: from creation to shipment, also to determine the final price). To sell them you will definitely need a platform, unless you should entrust once again to Amazon, however, among the best there are Shopify, which sell directly from Facebook, Big Cartel or Woo Commerce.

Sell digital products, on Graphic River for example.

Envato studio is an online platform for digital contents. Digital contents of all kinds: vectors, photographs, presentations and videos. Or even “plug ins” for Internet sites. Besides being an inexhaustible source of graphics material  for architects or designers, it is also a powerful tool that you can use to show and sell your skills.


Anyone can become an author, and sell his creations. What is needed is to be good at something and know how to be even original.

Create and sell NFTs!

An NFT, or non-fungible token, is a unique product created with the same blockchain technology that powers cryptocurrencies. In addition to being unique, each NFT is also immutable, meaning impossible to replicate or modify.

NFTs are a method of creating scarcity on a digital work of art where it did not exist before. This resource can also be marketable and salable; its ownership is verifiable at any time by checking the Blockchain register. To learn more about how to create and start selling NFTs, I recommend reading this comprehensive post.

Publish an Ebook

Selling E-book nowadays is as simple as buying them. The online sites that offer this kind of service now are many. Among those that offer a wider potential are definitely Amazon and Playstore. On these platforms you can upload your e-book and wait for downloads that surely will come if you have done a good work!

making money as an architect
Here’s my guide for example “Instagram for architects“. You can find it on Archiobjects and Marketing for architects shop!


It is not important if you are not a great writer or if you’ve never written a book. We are not talking about Novels or Thrillers, at least not only that. You could sell guides, manuals, collections of photography or even short stories. So the e-book is the right way to fix your passions and your knowledge and make it available to the web. An important point is the graphic, in which you have to pay special attention.

Sell your photos and videos

Suppose you are a good photographer or a video maker. In that case, you can preserve your best shots to sell them on one of the numerous dedicated platforms that allow anyone to open their profile and start selling their photographs. A few examples? Below:


If you are a great photographer, you can find a community with the same passion as you and compare yourself through various themes. Copyright is always respected, and it is an excellent business card to start selling your photographs.

Sell your graphics

architetto freelance

As well as for photographs and videos, there are numerous online platforms for the trade of graphics, vectors and other digital content. In addition to being an inexhaustible source of material for graphic designers, architects or designers, it is also a potent tool that you can use to show off and sell the fruits of your skills. Here are a couple of examples:


Anyone can become an author and put his creations up for sale. What it takes is to be good at something. Be original and get noticed.

Kickstarter and Indiegogo

It is not correct to say that these platforms are made to earn money. These platforms are used to realize your ideas. Here have been presented the newest and the most incredible projects of recent times. Known more or less by everyone, Kickstarter and Indiegogo are the main sites hosting ideas and projects to be collectively funded. People love visionary projects and creativity and they are ready to support your ideas if it really worth it.


If you have a great idea, even very very big, (for example a new construction method or a smart low cost hospital…) but you don’t have enough funds to support it, then you need to do only a video presentation, set a target, launch your campaign and spread your words.

Design for Autodesk 

Design for Autodesk is a challenge offered by the greatest cad drawing company in the world, that invite you to create CAD assemblies using Autodesk Fusion 360, the new 3D modeling tool. Beyond the opportunity of earn money, as reported on the official site, this could be an opportunity to improve your ability in something very useful.


The process is really simple, on the site is well explained. You have to read the projects rules and requirements and then you have to choose your project to develop and do your job. Always supported by the Autodesk’s team.

Open a Blog

A freelance architect must also know how to promote himself. One way is certainly to create a site or a blog. Personal blogs can give a lot of satisfaction, including possible gains. Of course the project must be clearly structured and requires a lot of attention – certainly longer than any other point in this list. However, can be a good basis which will launch all the rest.

Or better you can create your own business model, as allaDIYally  did – “a resource, advocate and ally helping you avoid expensive mistakes while encouraging you to assert That need for self-expression!” – and promote your idea through your site.


WordPress, Blogger or Tumblr. are the main platforms with which you can create websites. There are many others – like Weebly or Wix – but I personally recommend the first ones. To start a blog you need to have in mind what you can write on it and have a great passion for digital communication.


It’s not really the best advice to give to a single architect, especially if young and inexperienced, but often the competitions are open and accessible – and thus become opportunities for all. These projects can be the starting point for the beginning of a great career, or at least a window in which to be known or even to be mentioned.


I imagine that everyone knows how it works. It takes a lot of dedication, a lot of time and above all a strong quality. But surely it is the most interesting point and especially the closer to architecture of all this list. You have to try it sometime. And do not get depressed if you do not win, even Le Corbusier wrote that his studio usually won one contest every 10 – Yes, Le Corbusier.

A series of useful links to find the competition for you: Bustler – Archdaily competitionsYoungarchitectscompetiotions – E-architect competitions – Europan

Create an online course

Creating an online course is probably among the most challenging things you could do (at least about the other points on this list). However, doing so can bring you a passive income and a significant network of relationships.

The implementation process varies from platform to platform, and a lot also depends on what you have in mind and the type of content you want to teach. If you are interested in this way, my advice is to familiarize yourself with the most important e-learning platforms. Platforms where you could publish your course yourself.

I hope this article has provided you with valuable suggestions and insights to ignite your enthusiasm for making money as an architect and to help you thrive as a freelance architect or designer. If you found this post helpful, please consider sharing it—I would be extremely grateful. Should you have any questions or further suggestions, feel free to express them in the comments below!

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15 Responses

  1. For students and professionals merely initiating with architect or designer work is incredibly valuable. With the help of Autocad software, an architect can design more effectively. That’s technology at its finest.

  2. Thank you for this very useful post.
    I’m eager about the prospect of entering competitions and exploring my creativity through that.

  3. Another way for architects to make money for an architect is by developing real estate. Although generally considered difficult and risky, I know from the talking with other architects it’s very feasible. I’ve written a very interesting article about how 2 architects in Barcelona succeeded with this. Check it out here: http://blog.archisnapper.com/punch-list-app-iPhone-iPad-Android/from-architects-to-real-estate-developers-with-alex-and-esther-from-barcelona/

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