Don’t Take a Job You Can’t Do

(Last Updated On: December 20, 2019)


I am Jorge Fontan. I am an Architect, a Blogger, and I have a Youtube Channel. This blog post is going to be me venting a little on something that constantly happens, but today was the straw that broke the camel’s back.


Don’t take Jobs You Can’t Do 


I started writing a blog years ago. In fact, this is blog post number 354. I am an architect and my blog is on architecture and related issues. In my blog, I discuss a range of topics including construction, sustainability, design, real estate development, and zoning, just to name a few. I think my New York City Zoning blog posts are the ones that get the most attention. I write my blog for people who are looking to learn about these topics. More specifically, I write for people who are looking to hire an architect. I am an honest and straight forward person, and let me tell you the truth. Ready? I blog in order to get clients. There, I said it.

Of course, I know that while my blog was intended for potential clients, other people will read my architecture blog. I get many students and I really think that is cool. I actually get lots of students contacting me for advice and I am happy to help if I can and if I have time. I have even invited students on occasion to come to my office (depending on how busy I am at the moment). Usually they are architecture students or real estate development students. Also, high school students contact me asking for advice on whether or not they should pursue architecture. Note to self: I should do a blog post on that.

I also get lots of homeowners, and people who want to get into real estate development. I get small business owners, large businesses, and all types of people. I also get lots and lots of real estate agents calling me for free advice. I even had one of the largest real estate brokerage companies in NYC plagiarize my blog and use diagrams without giving me citations. It’s a company everyone knows. I think only one real estate brokerage company in New York has ever actually paid me for my help. Usually real estate agents want free advice. I am always shocked at how people are surprised that I want to get paid to help them. I am running a business. And that brings me to my next point.

I am running a business. I am not here to give free advice. I have easily 20 – 30 people a week trying to get free advice from me. But there is only one group that bothers and truly offends me. That is people who call me for free advice who are being paid to do a job they don’t know how to do.

If you do not know how to do the job you should not take money to do it.

I get architects calling me all the time asking for free advice and posting questions on my blog asking questions. Why are architects asking me for help? If you don’t know how to do the job, why are you taking the job? I understand that there is nobody on Earth that knows everything. I learn something new every day. Every thing I learn is a reminder of how much more I still have to learn. But I at least know how to find answers without asking some random dude on the internet. It is mind boggling to me that a licensed professional needs to read my blog in order to complete a project they are getting paid to do. And on top of it, they still need to ask me questions to help them. I am also sure these people are charging half of what I charge and then they come to me for help.

Today someone asked me for free advice who isn’t an architect but on their website have the following statement “Real Estate Due Diligence Experts”. This person said they are “working on a Zoning Analysis” and then asked me a question that proved to me this person knows nothing about New York City Zoning. I have nothing against people who know nothing about NYC Zoning as long as they are not taking money to do a zoning analysis. Why the hell are you taking money to do a zoning analysis if you do not know anything about Zoning? Why do you have the word ‘expert’ on your website when you are clearly incapable, INCAPABLE, of completing a zoning analysis without my help?

You should not take money to work on something if you need to ask for help from some random guy on the internet. Especially when you are probably charging half of what I charge. And why are people hiring these types of characters? There is a reason these people are cheaper. It is because they can’t charge what others charge. They have to low ball to get jobs. Nobody would hire them if they were not cheap.

I got hired for a new job today. It is a small townhouse renovation in Manhattan. I gave the client a proposal months ago. They went with someone cheaper. In fact they went with someone who was less than 60% my price. And what do you think happened? Guess. Guess what happened. Well, as I said, they just hired me to do the job. The client’s words were something to the effect of: pretty much nothing was accomplished in the past several months.

I am currently designing a new small building in Brooklyn. Same thing happened. I gave the client a proposal for a zoning analysis on the property. They told me they liked me but found someone much cheaper. In fact 25% my price for the zoning analysis. Then a few months later they come back and hired me to do the zoning analysis at my original quoted price. That architect was 25% my price and much more expensive then me because they wasted two months with nothing to show for it. I got the zoning analysis done, and they then hired me to design the entire building.

If you do not know how to do a job, do not take money to do it.

If you cannot complete the job without asking some random architect on the internet, like me, for help, you should not take money to do it. 

Thanks for listening to my rant.


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