Coaching Call with Residential Architect Jason Comer

Jonathan Stark (00:03.013)
Hello, and welcome to Ditching Hourly. I'm Jonathan Stark. Today, I'm joined by guest Jason Comer. Jason, welcome to the show.

Jason Comer (00:09.942)
Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Jonathan Stark (00:11.793)
So, for folks who are just hearing your name for the first time, could you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?

Jason Comer (00:18.114)
Sure. My name is Jason. I live in Arizona. I went back to architecture school pretty late. I was around 30. Worked in a firm for 10, seven years, coming out of the recession, which was kind of a horrible time for architects, but it was a good time to be in a firm because I had that stability. I went out on my own exactly 10 years ago this month and didn't have a huge plan, but I just knew I wanted to be on my own and kind of do my own thing.

And after a while, I settled in on doing residential projects, which is something I had never done in a firm. So even though I'm licensed architect, I'm kind of self-trained on the projects that I do now. So for a long time, I was really undifferentiated at the mercy of whoever called me. Lots of low value projects. There was one year, I think I did 50 or 60 building permits in a year, which is just insane. Yeah, and probably two years ago,

really tuned into value pricing, took the win without pitching seminar with Blair Enns and Shannon Lee. Yeah, and that was really transformational in terms of negotiating with clients, raising my fees significantly, you know, multiple of what I was doing before. But I think I still have the same issues, which is I'm not well suited for client work. So I'm trying to break out of client work and do something that's...

Jonathan Stark (01:22.607)
Oh great.

Jonathan Stark (01:33.254)
Mm-hmm.

Jonathan Stark (01:39.702)
Mm-hmm

Jason Comer (01:44.842)
Yeah, just not tied to one-on-one work.

Jonathan Stark (01:48.561)
That's great information. Can we, let's adjust your mic for a second here. Something happened when I pressed record and it got super loud. Do you have any kind of adjustment controls on your end?

Jason Comer (01:58.998)
Yeah, I do. Let's see here.

Sound.

Jonathan Stark (02:05.125)
I just don't want it clipping. Oh, that's much better.

Jonathan Stark (02:12.621)
All right, give me a one, two, three again.

Jason Comer (02:14.86)
One, two, three.

Jonathan Stark (02:16.741)
All right, now it's a little low. Can we split the difference?

Jason Comer (02:19.954)
Yep, let's go, how about there, that's like 75%.

Jonathan Stark (02:23.429)
That's cool. All right.

So for folks who are not architects, I know we've got a few listening, but not mostly, can you give us a little bit more of an idea of what your day-to-day is like or has been like? You know, like the 50 building permits.

Jason Comer (02:41.558)
Yeah, yeah, that was insane. And that was a lot of like really low volume projects. Some of that was coming out of the last recession. So, you know, you might have like a $1,200 client you spent two or three days on. I'm not really doing those kinds of projects at all now. What I have now is, oh, that would be like, can we add a shower to our powder room and go get a permit or can we?

Jonathan Stark (02:58.177)
What kind of a project would that be though? Is that like a kitchen remodel or?

Jonathan Stark (03:05.411)
Okay.

Jason Comer (03:08.342)
knock out a non load-bearing wall and add a kitchen island to our kitchen. So kind of easy projects you could knock out really quick, but low value, just kind of nuts and bolts work.

Jonathan Stark (03:12.022)
Mm hmm. Okay, gotcha.

Jonathan Stark (03:20.197)
Okay. And in addition to the building permit piece, like what's your interaction? What's that little project look like?

Jason Comer (03:26.814)
Yeah, yeah. So today, I guess it'd be more helpful to talk about what I did today. So today it's more the ideal project is a brand new house. So it's a usually a pretty successful person in their 40s through 60s that might have more than one house. They've bought a piece of land that might be a million dollars, you know, you know, a tear down in a established neighborhood that might be over a million dollars. And.

Jonathan Stark (03:50.092)
Yep.

Jason Comer (03:53.066)
We establish a program, which for an architect just means, you know, how many rooms, how many bedrooms, how many bathrooms, rough score footage, work through floor plans. And really the work is kind of divided into two, maybe three phases. The first one just being due diligence, establishing the scope, what can they legally do? What can they afford realistically? And then most of the work is really the design phase where you're really doing the sexy work.

And then at a certain point, it kind of shifts into production, doing the construction documents. And I would say that that's probably 40% to 50% of the hours, if you're looking at scope. But historically, clients don't value that. They don't understand that, and they don't understand why it's really important to them. And it really creates a lot of risk for the client if that's not done right. I've taken over projects where people have charged the client.

Jonathan Stark (04:22.269)
Great.

Jonathan Stark (04:43.189)
Mm-hmm.

Jason Comer (04:51.962)
say $10,000 for their drawings and they've made $60,000 mistakes in the drawings. So, you know, I charge more than that, but I mean that's the kind of mistakes that I see. So anyway, that portion of a typical project is really uncomfortable because there's a lot of urgency from a client, they're asking for status updates, they want to see some progress, but that could take four or five, six months and there's...

Jonathan Stark (04:59.81)
Yeah.

Jason Comer (05:19.518)
engineers and consultants involved. So there's a lot of things I don't control that affect the time. And yeah, that's what I'd really like to get out of that urgency and that anxiety about client.

Jonathan Stark (05:32.397)
And how would you have priced that most recently?

Jason Comer (05:38.581)
I totally bought into one without pitching because it's price the client, not the job. But on the low end, $30,000. On the high end, I think the most I was able to achieve was like $120,000.

Jonathan Stark (05:50.413)
and that would take them through to what point of the project with your involvement.

Jason Comer (05:53.522)
And yeah, and that gets them through the building permit. And then there's like occasional phone calls and questions and changes for another year, probably after that. So, you know, a typical client, they may be around for, on the low end, two years. And on the high end, I just got a building permit for a project that started early COVID.

Jonathan Stark (06:14.751)
Mm hmm. You just got the permit. So

Jason Comer (06:15.314)
So yeah, there was lots of unrelated problems on that, you know, with permitting and the city utilities and stuff that had nothing to do with me, but I think I just looked back and I first talked to them in like November, 2020. And so, you know, here we are three and a half, four years later.

Jonathan Stark (06:32.194)
Okay, and the, okay, and just for people who have never interacted with an architect, including me, the permit is the end result of the plant. You can't get a permit without plans, I'm guessing.

Jason Comer (06:50.414)
Yeah, and that's kind of... Architects impose a lot of restrictions on themselves, so everybody kind of handles it differently. There are architects that only do the design side. And then they hand it off to another architect, drafter, engineer to do the building permit documents. So there's a way to get out of that, which I would like to do. And there's other architects, like I have friends that do all the interior design.

Jonathan Stark (07:07.865)
Okay, yep.

Mm-hmm.

Jason Comer (07:16.242)
so far as to go to a showroom with a client and pick out tile and colors and do renderings and order furniture. And so they're much more involved for longer. So there's a variety of ways to do it. I'd like to arrange it so that I'm not there for two and three years. Because, I mean, you can just map that out. If you deal with 10 new people a year, you might have 30 people at a given time that can call you with a question because you've got last year's 10 people and the...

Jonathan Stark (07:21.594)
Mm.

Jonathan Stark (07:34.075)
Right.

Jason Comer (07:44.814)
10 people the year before that, you know.

Jonathan Stark (07:47.845)
Yep. So what's your favorite part of the, the stuff that you've been doing, that the, the sort of scope of project that you've been doing is that front piece, your favorite part and the doing the drafting is not so much fun or what's the thing that you'd rather focus on?

Jason Comer (08:04.074)
Yeah, I guess the reason why I even got into it, and it's just to be in isolation, come up with an idea, and think, I wanna do that, and then just solve that problem, you know, and that design. That's the whole reason for it. And doing that with new personalities that have never done it before, that have a lot of anxiety and pressure.

and aren't good at making those kinds of decisions, doing that together with them is very stressful sometimes. I mean, even a great client is gonna come with issues.

Jonathan Stark (08:38.042)
Yep. Yeah.

Jonathan Stark (08:42.157)
Right? Yeah, they're total noobs to the situation. I mean, like, I, I'm probably, you have no idea how little I know what you're talking about. Right? So like, and I would be in your in your target market, right? So if I if I wanted, we were literally looking at land the other day, it's just like, how did you know, how could kids afford a starter home today? And look, well, what if what if you built like, what would the price be like, if you bought how much does it be, you know, we're kind of like goofing around on Zillow. And but I don't know, diddley.

about the reality of any of it, none of it, right? So.

Jason Comer (09:17.13)
Yeah, well, I mean, there's a lot of similarities between like software developers and like, if you think just the average software client that tries to tell the developer how they want, you know, buttons to work, you know, how infuriating that might be to somebody that's really good at that. And I'm not trying to say that, you know, I'm the world's best architect, but if you've done 300 projects, you have a real sense of how things need to go together. And a person doing it for the first time, they think they know everything because they've lived in a house their entire life.

Jonathan Stark (09:29.916)
Yeah.

Jonathan Stark (09:34.126)
Right.

Jonathan Stark (09:40.294)
Yeah.

Jonathan Stark (09:45.849)
Yeah. Right. I listen to a lot of records.

Jason Comer (09:45.854)
So of course they know how houses work. Yeah, you know. So, yeah, exactly. Yeah, I've listened to music my entire life. I can obviously be a singer, you know. So, and that's, you know, a lot of my reaction to that is just my personality. It's, you know, clients are, you know, they're regular human beings and, you know, they don't have bad intentions, but that can just be a stressful process.

Jonathan Stark (09:56.257)
Yeah.

Jonathan Stark (10:11.049)
Yeah, some people are cut out for that. Some people are interested in that kind of shepherding and education and that kind of taking clients under their wing and walking them through things. And I don't have that personality for software as much as other people I've recognized. And obviously you're identifying that you're also not the kind of person that has the perhaps patience to describe

Jonathan Stark (10:41.922)
and not it.

Jason Comer (10:42.046)
Yeah, yeah. And there's a lot of, there's an attitude that comes along with the kind of projects I work on where these are successful people who are used to issuing orders and having people jump. So you're in the situation of, and it's just now that I'm, you know, approaching 50 that I'm older than some of the clients. So that played into it for a long time. But even now when I'm older than the client, there's the idea that they have the money so they get to make the decisions. And that's true. They're going to live in the house. It is their money.

Jonathan Stark (11:00.038)
Mm-hmm.

Jonathan Stark (11:07.638)
Mm-hmm.

Jason Comer (11:10.274)
But that can be a frustrating process. So I'd like to break out into a productized service. And I see a couple of ways that could work. And I'm finally to the point where I have some runway to where I can kind of go cold turkey on the clients for a while and really pursue it. Because that's been a problem in the past. I've tried it and then either ran out of money or yeah, mostly just run out of money and time. So.

Jonathan Stark (11:12.569)
Yeah.

Jonathan Stark (11:24.198)
Mm-hmm.

Jonathan Stark (11:34.477)
Yeah, yeah. Okay. So what does it look like for an architect? I mean, I could, what do you, let me back up. There are a bunch of probably obvious things that I could kind of spell out, be like, oh, with my limited understanding of what really goes on behind the scenes with like an architecture project for a

home, I could throw out some dumb ideas, but you probably already have some ideas. So maybe let's start there. Like what, what are some ideas that you have for moving away from client work and into productized services or maybe even products?

Jason Comer (12:07.442)
Yeah, I've thought about this off and on for three or four years, so I can boil it down to the ones that I think are the most viable. The one that's most common is stock floor plans. So sometimes you'll see this in the supermarket. There's a magazine that has a bunch of floor plans in it. Really, those magazines are catalogs for a company that sells those plans online. And so they have hundreds of designers that send their floor plans to this online.

Jonathan Stark (12:25.889)
Mm-hmm.

Jonathan Stark (12:30.799)
Okay.

Jason Comer (12:38.034)
Servicing company that markets it and then the designer gets a cut, you know on average like 50% So they might sell a floor plan for $2,000 The designer gets a thousand and then the company They do different ways of fulfillment. But in the end the client gets a PDF of a really basic set that's totally enough to get a permit in a rural county in Texas and Would not even make it past the front door in a top 10 major metro city with

Jonathan Stark (12:44.165)
Hmm.

Jonathan Stark (13:01.445)
Mm-hmm.

Jason Comer (13:06.71)
really intense regulations. But your average buyer of a $2,000 plan set is probably not a high-end client that's going to build a $5 million house. So there's tradeoffs all the way around. That's kind of the most obvious one. And it's a volume thing. And I've interacted with people online that do it and make mid-6 figures a year doing that, but they've been doing it for 10 or 20 years.

Jonathan Stark (13:08.552)
Mm.

Jonathan Stark (13:17.911)
Right.

Jonathan Stark (13:22.595)
Mm-hmm.

Jonathan Stark (13:34.627)
Mm-hmm.

Jason Comer (13:36.498)
So they have a library of 200, 300 plans that are online with different publishers that are just getting sales two, three times a week. It's hard to get there right away. There's just a lot of work. So that's the most obvious one. What I'd like to do is something like that but with a higher ticket. So somewhere that's kind of bridging the gap between...

Jonathan Stark (13:46.147)
Hmm.

Jonathan Stark (13:51.662)
Yeah.

Jonathan Stark (13:59.999)
Mm-hmm.

Jason Comer (14:05.19)
something that's perceived as a high-end design and not a commodity, because that's a very commodity-based business. You go to those websites and you can scroll for 45 minutes and just click through 12 floor plans on a page, you know.

Jonathan Stark (14:19.161)
Yeah, it's like WordPress themes. Yeah, okay.

Jason Comer (14:21.878)
Yeah, yeah, 100%, 100%. So that's the obvious one. And then probably the idea that I'm most keen on is there are design architects. For example, there's one in South Africa that does really high-end homes and they do them all over the world. Singapore, United States, Russia, France, London. And they'll do the front-end work and charge a handsome fee for that. And then a local architect will do the backend work.

Jonathan Stark (14:49.532)
Mm-hmm.

Jason Comer (14:50.614)
So I'm wondering if there's a way I can do a pre-designed design that maybe I have a personal catalog and then capture that kind of client online and not reinvent the wheel with every client and then at some point turn them loose to somebody local for the work that they don't value very much and don't even know that they need, but they really do need it.

Jonathan Stark (15:05.744)
Right.

Jonathan Stark (15:11.697)
the draft engine.

Jonathan Stark (15:17.381)
Mm hmm. Okay, so I'm detecting a possible friction here where it makes sense to me that people who are kind of at the low end of the market and are buying commodity floor plans for two grand would be open to the idea of doing things on the cheap.

So is there a mismatch between, you know, your existing buyers, let's say, or maybe somewhere in between your existing buyers and the people that would buy one of these $2,000 plans? Is there a disconnect between like, I'm used to getting exactly what I want. So I would never buy an off the shelf design.

Jason Comer (16:00.862)
Yeah, yeah, and that's probably the biggest, that's probably the biggest hurdle to that. So if that doesn't work, then at a certain point, you might have to go a little down market. And with those stock floor plans, just to give you an idea like what that means, I had a client two years ago that bought a stock floor plan from someone in I think Mississippi or South Carolina. They paid I think two or $3,000 for the plan, and then they paid that person to modify them to their liking, you know, make the bedroom a little bigger.

Jonathan Stark (16:21.533)
Thanks for watching!

Jason Comer (16:31.066)
add a shower, things like that. They spent another two or three thousand dollars. Then they had to hire me to get it through the city locally. And between me and my engineer, I think we charged another fifteen thousand dollars. So so they were it was funny. I thought that they were spending close to a million dollars on the house. Pretty big house. Not great finishes, but a lot of square feet. And I just thought it was really funny that they started with that online versus

Jonathan Stark (16:32.774)
Mm-hmm.

Jonathan Stark (16:42.182)
Hmm.

Jonathan Stark (16:50.67)
Mm-hmm.

Jonathan Stark (16:54.778)
Yep.

Jason Comer (17:00.546)
having a fully custom design. So I mean, I don't know if that's just an anecdote, but.

Jonathan Stark (17:02.337)
Isn't that interesting? Yeah.

Yeah. So would you be open to the idea of modifying and off the shelf? Like you sell, you sell a plan, not modifying someone else's, but, but you sell a plan for, I don't know, $30,000 and it's got some kind of guarantee that in, I don't know, in these municipalities or something that this will not need to be modified for an engineer to get the, uh, building permit.

Jason Comer (17:34.538)
Yeah, part of that's right, which is if I had a catalog of designs that I had created and I was kind of intimate with and I knew how the logic of the design was put together, you know, if I decided to make a closet larger or add a bay to the garage, that would be relatively easy on my end, potentially. The nut you can't crack is that you do something in one city that's guaranteed to be permanent everywhere.

because there are, just to give you an idea, like locally, there's probably six different building codes. People are in different years, different cities are in different years. So each city has their own requirements and there's no one size fits all. And so like if I did a project in Arizona, the insulation thickness would be different than a project I did in Rhode Island. You know, there is no one size fits all, but you can give the basis of something that can have that added work later, you know, to make it fully constructable.

Jonathan Stark (18:11.507)
Yep.

Jonathan Stark (18:23.308)
Right.

Jonathan Stark (18:30.061)
Mm-hmm.

What if you focused on a target market? Like, you know, I was on your website and it said, uh, desert homes or something like that, it was like a very specific. Kind of. So could you target, could you use that as like, uh, a, a sort of a segment or a niche that you went into that would maybe have a little bit more transferability from, I don't know, city in Arizona to city in New Mexico.

Jason Comer (18:40.888)
Yeah.

Jason Comer (18:56.501)
Yeah.

Jason Comer (19:00.886)
Yeah, and that's probably, that would probably be a good path because certain designs are suited for certain locations. Like you know, a house that would be done in Providence, Rhode Island would look really out of place in Phoenix and vice versa. So that probably would be a good way to kind of target that more geographically.

Jonathan Stark (19:13.23)
Yeah.

Jonathan Stark (19:20.537)
Those pictures that I saw on your homepage, are those real or are those something that you had mocked up or something?

Jason Comer (19:26.154)
I think one of those projects was only renderings because the client would not allow us to have it professionally photographed. And then the rest of them I think were all real photos. Yeah.

Jonathan Stark (19:32.068)
Mm.

Jonathan Stark (19:36.473)
Wow. I mean, the stuff is gorgeous. It screams high end. It's obviously a very specific kind of style. So only a certain kind of person would want that. But it screams high end. And I could imagine someone looking at it and being like, I want that. Not really knowing, like just feeling like, okay, yeah, yeah. I get the feel of what that's gonna feel like. I want that feeling that this thing gives me. And...

I so and if customizations aren't out of the question, that's that feels like it maybe could thread the needle on, you know, with a higher end kind of client who's used to tailor made things. What?

Jason Comer (20:23.23)
Yeah, yeah. I've talked about this with a colleague that, you know, the way that you buy a BMW, you know, or the way people think that they might do it is they get on the website and you can click the color and you can change the transmission and the upholstery and the rims. And so there's like variations you can do. If it was something more like that versus, you know, kind of the worst kind of project is like...

Jonathan Stark (20:41.241)
Right.

Jason Comer (20:53.25)
they have a floor plan and they want this. They just want a larger kitchen, two more bedrooms, an extra bay of the garage and make it two stories and make it half the size. You know, like I've had people that not that extreme, but that's how you can kind of read some of their requests sometimes. So.

Jonathan Stark (21:01.413)
Yeah, yeah.

Jonathan Stark (21:09.697)
Yeah, that happens in software too, where people are like, Oh, I bought this WordPress theme, or this Shopify theme. And I want to use that to get me started. But then I want all these customizations that are actually much harder to do on top of this foundation that wasn't meant for it. Than if you just did the whole thing from scratch in the first place. So it's hilarious. Yeah.

Jason Comer (21:29.95)
Yeah, yeah, that just introduces chaos. Like there's gotta be somebody to kind of control, systematize it, control it. I mean, not even to do volume, but just for sanity.

Jonathan Stark (21:42.713)
Well, the whole point is you're trying to smooth this out, of course. And if you're getting people that want... It's really like a... I imagine it's like a spectrum. So, you know, if you order an iPod, you can get it, if they even still have those. But if you order an iPod or an iPad or something, you can kind of customize it. You can pick the shell color. You can maybe get an inscription. You can pick the size of the storage.

Jason Comer (22:09.409)
Yeah.

Jonathan Stark (22:12.567)
change the screen size, you know, there are things that are just completely off limits. So is there a parallel in the space that you'd like to occupy where they're, you know, for any given design? Well, actually, I know this from the knitting world, because people sell knitting patterns on Ravelry and usually, you know, there'll be

Jason Comer (22:14.974)
Yeah, yeah, that's a really good analogy. Yeah.

Jonathan Stark (22:34.065)
optional things that you can do. It's certainly different sizes. So if like someone wants an extra large sweater versus a small sweater, they'll be like, here's the pattern for that. Here's the pattern for this. Or here's what you, here's the pattern. And here's what you do differently if you want it to be, you know, buttoned, whatever, you know, the, the minor differences that the pattern can support. And it's the same with themes and WordPress. In fact, now that I think about it, where there are certain customizations that you, that are kind of presumed.

Jason Comer (23:03.215)
They're baked done, yeah.

Jonathan Stark (23:03.461)
that it supports. Yeah, they're baked in. So is there a path to that with something that you could do barring a sophisticated configurator website like a BMW might have?

Jason Comer (23:15.63)
Yes, yeah, and yes, and that would be like kind of an ideal outcome. So, for example, if you had just an arbitrary design, and it would be even smoother if you had kind of thought through some of those items in advance, like what if we take away a bedroom or add a bedroom? You know, maybe if you don't even market that, but it's available kind of in your back pocket. But within reason, some of those things you could do on the fly.

Jonathan Stark (23:27.225)
Mm.

Jonathan Stark (23:35.383)
Hmm.

Jason Comer (23:45.43)
you know, without having done it before you interact with the client. Some items you could do that. Yeah.

Jonathan Stark (23:54.769)
Cool. And how would you how would that be? How do you imagine presenting that to the market?

Jason Comer (24:04.422)
That, so it'd definitely be, you know, a website and social media. And I think it would have to be, I'm just thinking of other industries that it would kind of mirror. Like it definitely wouldn't mirror the architectural industry because for the most part, you know, an architect's website is, you know, has the five sections at the top about us, our projects, you know.

contact us, whatever. Like that's not gonna do it. It has to be more of a higher end experience to where when they go there, you can convert them and they kind of buy into that. I don't – marketing is not my strong suit as far as like getting in front of those people. So that would – yeah.

Jonathan Stark (24:44.613)
Mm-hmm.

Jonathan Stark (24:50.117)
Right. Where, you know, this is one of those things that potentially lends itself to physical magazine advertising, which I bet ya is, well, probably in the magazine that you'd need to be in, it'd probably be a little expensive, but we get a local to our neighborhood, there's like a local.

periodically, I think it's monthly kind of a glossy large magazine that's just specific to not even the city, but our neighborhood. And you know, all the restaurants advertising it and all the realtors have full page ads. So it can't be like insanely expensive. And it's a small, it's a relatively small market and the housing here is brutal, brutally expensive. So I could imagine

advertising, like just have a beautiful picture of you know, this house could be yours or thinking about building, you know, think it, you know, I don't want to can't find your dream home build one, you know, or whatever. And I could imagine seeing them, you know, flipping through this magazine, I flipped through it last night, I could imagine seeing that and being like, huh, I would totally go to that website.

And because it's such a, at least in our area, it's such an issue where it's insanely, you're buying a million dollar home to tear down. It's like insanity.

Jason Comer (26:15.786)
Yeah, yeah, very similar. Yeah. There was one idea I had, I didn't follow through with it, but it was to target. Sites. So there's a few neighborhoods that are really hot for redevelopment and, and tear downs in new houses, and you could almost even target the sites and just send them, uh, your own published, you know, magazine look. Yeah.

Jonathan Stark (26:27.978)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Jonathan Stark (26:32.465)
Yeah.

Jonathan Stark (26:36.753)
That's a great idea. So you could, if you kind of partnered or at least had relationships with realtors who were selling that stuff, it would be probably, I mean, because again, I was goofing around, I don't know if we said this before we started recording or not, but we were goofing around on Zillow last night and like what can you find for under 300,000 in the worst city in the state? And there's one house, but a whole bunch of land popped up.

and you know $25,000 for you know quarter acre an acre I don't know like enough to build a house on and if but it's just this ugly picture of woods you know like ugly woods so it's like huh I could imagine the person who's selling that

would love to be able to point to here are some beautiful houses you could build on this lot and you get the plans for 35,000 you get the property for I don't know 100,000 or million whatever it is and you buy these you know look here are five houses that would fit on this lot like go fall in love with one and then buy the plans that's a I think that's really interesting I could be completely wrong but

Jason Comer (27:50.654)
That actually could be an angle like to, because I've had realtors ask me before, can you do an image for our marketing purposes? And for the most part, what they want is probably $20,000 for the work that they want to pay $500 for. But if you had already created the work and were just pushing a few key relationships with those top, that could actually be an avenue.

Jonathan Stark (28:01.853)
I'm going to go ahead and close the video.

Jonathan Stark (28:08.23)
Right.

Jonathan Stark (28:15.753)
That sounds interesting. I mean, I would explore, you know, as a as the consumer in this situation, I'd investigate that 100%. I would definitely investigate that and whether it's whether it's an ad in like a, you know, you target, let's say there's a place, like you said, lot of redesign, what did you say a lot of what's it called with a lot of lots.

Jason Comer (28:41.666)
Oh, redevelopment or infill. Yeah.

Jonathan Stark (28:42.457)
Redevelopment, yeah. Okay, so there's a lot of redevelopment in the area and you're like, oh, okay. Meet all the realtors that are associated with the plots or whatever. And maybe there's like a local mag that they all advertise in that you put a thing, or maybe this is how you meet them, where they're all in there and they've got their glamour shots, they're all like dolled up.

And, and you have and then you've got a full page ad like selling a piece of property. Imagine how effective it would be to be able to present, you know, new build plans with full renderings to sell the lot. I don't know how you'd word it exactly. They could tell you the realtors could tell you but that would be like because they're all flipping through to see what everybody else's picture looks like. And it's like, Whoa, what's this? And then if you if it was already easy for you.

And they were like, ah, we can we use this in the marketing materials, you could work out a deal in theory. And then they're selling, you know, then they're paying you to sell your idea to the people that buy the land. It's pretty interesting.

Jason Comer (29:54.442)
Yeah, there probably is an angle. I had not even, not recently even thought of anything like that. So it would be, my fear would be that it might end up being a little too high touch. I'm kind of wanting to distance myself more from all of that. You know, in a perfect world, you're kind of, you're kind of in isolation, you know, making the magic happen. And it's that, you know, that artist's dream. That's, unfortunately, that's not the reality at all. But

Jonathan Stark (30:01.082)
Yeah, it'd be...

Jonathan Stark (30:10.551)
Ha, nope.

Jonathan Stark (30:20.407)
Mm-hmm

Jason Comer (30:24.652)
I'd like to get more on that side of it.

Jonathan Stark (30:27.357)
It could be, yeah, I mean, it feels like the kind of thing where you'd create the relationship and that would be the hard part and it would just sort of be an ongoing referral thing where at a point, if it works, at a point relatively quickly, you'd have these relationships set up and then you'd just be making new plans that would fit on these lots or the kinds of lots that are coming available. It's a little bit like...

It's a little bit like doing spec work, but you're retaining the intellectual property. So it's not really spec work because then the person isn't just buying it. And that's that. Like nobody else, you can't sell it again. It's not a one-time sale. Okay. So what are the, what's the high touch piece that is it the dealing with the realtors or is it more like dealing with the magazine?

Jason Comer (31:10.974)
Right. Yeah.

Jason Comer (31:20.478)
It would, it would, the realtors, maybe, maybe not. The individual clients definitely would. I've done, I've done spec houses, I don't know, two or three dozen spec houses over the years. And those are actually great because the client is the developer. So if the developer is a good developer, they're great. You know, a bad developer is horrible. Somebody that just retired with a little money and wants to play developer, those are not good clients. But a professional developer that hires you because they like your design, those are usually

really good projects and because you're kind of left to your own devices to solve the problem.

Jonathan Stark (31:55.85)
And then what do they end up with at the end of one of those engagements?

Jason Comer (32:00.886)
They, the ones I've worked with before, they kind of want the, those developers are more like general contractors in their mindset. So a contractor just wants what they need to move to the next step. So they want the building permit and then they don't ever want to call you again for the most part, unless there's a problem.

Jonathan Stark (32:08.677)
Yep.

Jonathan Stark (32:17.901)
Mm hmm. Okay. And they understand the need for the plans and the whole drafting phase that most people don't.

Jason Comer (32:24.83)
Yeah, yeah, the rub is always that they're also kind of cheap. You know, a contractor, their whole business is comparing quotes and choosing, you know, the lowest bidder. So that's why those are not ideal clients.

Jonathan Stark (32:34.157)
Right.

Jonathan Stark (32:38.029)
In that way, but if you imagine, well, let's just explore this for one second, because I like the sound. There are things about this that I really like. Um, if you were pulling stuff off the shelf, making minor modifications, could you not offer a price to them that would seem cheap to them, but was really profitable to you because you didn't start from scratch.

Jason Comer (32:55.046)
Yeah, yeah, I hadn't thought of that. But yes, if you, you know, it's like the dinner, if they're in the kitchen while you're making the dinner, you know, people, I know, I know people that don't like you to be in their kitchen while they're cooking, they want you to just go away. You know, so if the dinner, if it came out of the room, ready to go, that might actually not be a bad process.

Jonathan Stark (33:04.549)
Mm-hmm.

Jonathan Stark (33:19.781)
Right? So there's sort of, the idea of selling to a good developer feels closer to a good fit for you based on just this short conversation than even selling directly to a millionaire who has an empty lot and is gonna be like.

you know, let me run this by my spouse and like, just like all of the hand holding, it feels like there'd be way less hand holding and

Jason Comer (33:51.114)
Yeah, it would be more transactional and less emotional, I'm sure.

Jonathan Stark (33:54.777)
Yeah. And the other thing about it is if they it's the gift that keeps on giving because these developers aren't going to stop developing. So if they've got a really attractive, you know, they're really happy with the way that you work and the price that you offer and the speed that you can deliver it, then it's just it's just like, how many repeat? Homeowner clients do you get?

Jason Comer (34:25.802)
Let's see, I think I'm probably pushing something like between 300 and 400 clients for the last 10 years. Most of those were frontloaded when I was doing tons of projects a year. And out of those, maybe a dozen have been multiple clients. I think one client hired me three or four times. That's as far as homeowners. When I look at developers or contractors, I mean, there's one contractor that's hired me 60 times. Lots of small jobs.

Jonathan Stark (34:51.281)
Dude, this is like, yeah, sure, sure. But like that's exactly what I would have expected. Where once they have a trusted partner for a particular thing and your pigeon holding their mind as that thing, they just reach for that tool when they need it. So if you are.

Jason Comer (35:05.954)
Yeah, yeah, if you make it easy for a contractor, if you make it easy and they don't feel like they're constantly price focused, they don't feel like they're paying double what everybody else is paying, they probably will continue to call.

Jonathan Stark (35:18.681)
Mm-hmm. Yeah, so that's that could be a good runway thing. Getting this off the ground. Maybe you also do to homeowners or maybe sell through realtors, not, you know, just use realtors as a referral source. And and perhaps you can get less price sensitivity from the homeowners, although I tend I don't know, like who's cheaper, the developers or the homeowners?

Jason Comer (35:36.843)
Right, right.

Jason Comer (35:48.514)
Well, the problem is that a good developer is going to take all the margin. So there and there's lots of people that are capable of, quote unquote, doing plans, you know, like the cities for the most part don't even require you to have a license to do it. You know, you could if you were good at graph paper and pencil drawing, you could do your own plans. The homeowner could. So.

Jonathan Stark (36:02.181)
Hmm.

Jonathan Stark (36:13.541)
Wouldn't that present a downstream problem for the developer though?

Jason Comer (36:17.61)
Yes. Yeah. And so the problem is a lot of them, they're really focused on the front end of the price and they're not thinking about that. So I had a I had a perfect example a few months ago, a new, new to me developer called and he wanted to do a house. And we got to the end of the conversation. I kind of talked to him too long before I threw out a price. And when I threw out the price, I for what he was asking for, I think I said something like 20 to $30,000.

Jonathan Stark (36:37.996)
Uh-huh.

Jonathan Stark (36:45.58)
Mm.

Jason Comer (36:46.81)
And he said, Oh, I've got another architect that will do it for a dollar. He had a really specific number, like a dollar 27 a square foot.

Jonathan Stark (36:57.591)
Okay.

Jason Comer (36:57.726)
And it was so specific and immediately my first reaction was, well, why don't you call him? Like, and he says, well, you know, I have problems with him.

Jonathan Stark (37:06.283)
This is like one of my comics.

Jason Comer (37:08.758)
Yeah, no, it really was. It really was. And the thing was, it was such a specific number that he threw out. I was like, he can't be trying to low ball me. Like he actually is used to paying that number. And I just, I could be like, I'm not even gonna convince him. I'm just not even gonna get involved in that because I can already see the problems he's gonna present to me. You know, like that's not a good client at all. But yeah, there's plenty of contractors that are, and developers that are like that. For a good example, you know, there's architects that charge percentage fees.

Jonathan Stark (37:14.076)
Right.

Jonathan Stark (37:18.339)
Yeah.

Jonathan Stark (37:24.445)
Yeah.

Jason Comer (37:38.954)
So percentage fees, so the percentage of construction. So say you have a $5 million house, there are architects that'll charge 10%. So there's not a large amount of them that'll get that money. They're very small, almost infinitesimal. But there are architects that'll charge 8%, 10%, 12%. And in different regions of the country, that's more accepted and less accepted. Here, not super common.

Jonathan Stark (37:39.441)
that charge what?

Jonathan Stark (37:47.014)
Mm-hmm.

Jason Comer (38:07.926)
But I know on the East Coast there's more of that. And then you're competing against people that might outsource to another country that are charging in round numbers like $5,000, $10,000. So the scale of a fee is exponential. But for the most part, a developer is not going to pay anything on the upper 50% of the fee scale. They're going to be in the bottom 20%.

Jonathan Stark (38:21.446)
Mm-hmm.

Jonathan Stark (38:25.303)
Yep.

Jonathan Stark (38:35.545)
Right, I get that and I don't know if this is possible, but the path here would be to collapse your costs so that they could pay what they expect to pay and you're doing an hour and they give you $10,000.

Jason Comer (38:44.725)
Yeah.

Jason Comer (38:55.774)
Yeah, yeah, that would be... There's no reason why the designs that I have done for spec developers needed them to be involved in the design. For the most part, I could have done that before I even met them and just had it on the shelf. You know, there's a few things that are really specific that they'll ask for, but for the most part, those are things you could modify.

Jonathan Stark (39:05.105)
Mm-hmm.

Jonathan Stark (39:10.864)
Right.

Jonathan Stark (39:17.605)
What's an example just to kind of make it concrete?

Jason Comer (39:19.71)
So, thinking probably the one that you saw on my website that has the renderings, that project had a few problems because it started like right as the COVID lockdown started. So it took a long time to get there. But for the most part, you know, they gave me a bedroom count, a rough square footage, how big they wanted the garage.

Jonathan Stark (39:25.744)
Mm-hmm.

Jonathan Stark (39:31.97)
Mm-hmm.

Jason Comer (39:40.846)
And we had meetings throughout design, but I could have done that plan without them. You know, it's not like they, it's not like that client specifically directed this to go on the left and that to go on the right. And for this move on the roof and for that move in the elevation.

Jonathan Stark (39:46.749)
Thanks for watching!

Jonathan Stark (39:54.111)
Yeah.

Jonathan Stark (39:59.693)
Yeah, they let you do your job and yeah, it sounds really, so not micromanaging. Like I imagine a homeowner is much more prone to be micromanaging. And the thing that I like about it for your demeanor is that it seems much more likely that you're going to get people who just let you do your job. If you go with developers, then you know, they're experienced. They don't really care.

about most of the things the way, you know, like I would care.

Jason Comer (40:30.33)
Yeah, they have a few hot buttons, which if you've worked with any of them for more than two or three projects, you know, it's going to be here locally, it's going to be wood frame construction. It's not going to be steel and concrete. It's going to be mostly stucco because that's the cheapest thing they can put on a house. And that differs. I know in other cities, stucco actually costs more than brick. And it's going to have the things that they know will sell, which is the kitchens and the bathrooms.

Jonathan Stark (40:42.581)
Hmm.

Jonathan Stark (40:49.148)
Hmm.

Jonathan Stark (40:59.138)
Mm-hmm.

Jason Comer (41:00.247)
So there's a few things that you could key in that you know every developer is gonna want once they reach a certain level.

Jonathan Stark (41:05.021)
Right. And now what, speaking of level, are there, it's gotta be, if it's anything like here, certain developers that specifically do high-end stuff or reasonably high-end stuff.

Jason Comer (41:19.646)
Yeah, 100%. So the range of developers is going to be everybody from, because I've worked with a few, a few different types. Some are people that are safe forties fifties that have retired from their career that always wanted to do this, or they got into house flipping during the recession. One was an airline pilot who got furloughed and he wanted to get into it. Those are, those are awful clients. Just awful. But on the high end, you will have more

Jonathan Stark (41:34.813)
Mm-hmm. Yup.

Jonathan Stark (41:41.533)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Jason Comer (41:48.438)
vertically integrated developers that are also the general contractor. Uh, one of my clients, like his wife is the realtor, so his wife will list the home, he'll sell the home. Another one of my developers, the wife is the interior designer. So the husband will build the home. The wife will do the interior design.

Jonathan Stark (42:03.864)
Hmm. Oh, I love that. That's a cool little niche.

Jason Comer (42:07.178)
Yeah, so I would never be a developer because most of being a, when I say residential developer, they're really a contractor for the most part. There are some that just hire everything, but for the most part they kind of self-perform. But they have to deal with three or four hundred different people over two or three years to get the thing done. Yeah, yeah, it's a nightmare.

Jonathan Stark (42:16.143)
Mm-hmm.

Jonathan Stark (42:23.675)
Mm.

Jonathan Stark (42:30.13)
I know, it's not my, I could never. It's like making a movie.

Jason Comer (42:34.942)
Yeah, yeah, I asked one of the guys, you know, how many people, how many, it's mostly men, how many men showed up to this house to build it over the course of the two years. And he came up with a number of approaching 500.

Jonathan Stark (42:40.537)
Mm.

Jonathan Stark (42:49.308)
I do not have the constitution to do something like that. That's funny. All right. So for me, the I love the idea of having

Jason Comer (42:51.55)
Yeah, yeah.

Jonathan Stark (43:03.869)
a sort of a what would you call it just like a bookshelf. It's like a shelf of plans catalog. Yes, thank you. Like a catalog of plans for the kinds of things that are going to be attractive to the high end of the market. And, and just completely collapsing your costs so that you can offer competitive pricing for that meets the call it requirements.

Jason Comer (43:08.29)
catalog. Yeah.

Jonathan Stark (43:32.249)
of the kinds of buyers that you'd be dealing with. And yeah, so, you know, with the homeowner, maybe the expectation is some level of, some higher level of customization. I don't know if it's finishes or number of bedrooms or size of garage or whatever. And then it's gonna be similar with the, similar with the...

Jason Comer (43:34.774)
The expectations, yeah.

Jonathan Stark (43:57.829)
developers or the contractors, but they're just gonna, they're gonna want, like you said, it's gonna be stucco. It's gonna be, did you say, did you mean that they want wood construction? They must, right? Yep, yeah. Yeah.

Jason Comer (44:08.142)
Oh yeah, like wood studs. You know, so like if you're going to build a house out of wood studs in my market, and then you compare that to a house built out of concrete block, the block might be, you know, double or triple the price. So.

Jonathan Stark (44:20.857)
Right, they don't want that. Okay, so yeah, so boy, it sure seems like, you know, if you're trying to optimize, systematize, productize, it sure seems like the developers are a better fit. They might be tougher. I can't even imagine they're tougher to get to. I would imagine, how many, like do you have relationships with these sorts of people?

Jason Comer (44:43.6)
Yeah, yeah.

Jason Comer (44:47.537)
of a somewhere between a half dozen and a dozen probably.

Jonathan Stark (44:53.065)
And what does your lead flow look like in terms of the homeowner type of buyer?

Jason Comer (44:57.902)
So this is one thing that I've learned, and Blair Ends mentioned this during Win Without Pitching, but I kind of feel it. You can't take a customer that's used to paying you $500 and charge them $50,000. So the problem with a lot of those developer relationships that I have is that some of those I might've priced five or six years ago, a fraction of what I want to charge today. So I don't work with them anymore because of that. Like every time I've made a

Jonathan Stark (45:11.517)
correct.

Jason Comer (45:26.786)
big leap in income, I've had to cycle through a new group of developers.

Jonathan Stark (45:30.913)
Right. That makes sense. But you know where they are. You understand what they think. Yeah, right. So it's not necessarily that you'd use the network that you already have. But you're an insider. You know, you've worked with them. You've got experience.

Jason Comer (45:34.454)
Yeah, no, I do. Yeah.

Jason Comer (45:42.666)
Yeah, and even if I didn't, if I identified a different city in the same region, it wouldn't take long.

Jonathan Stark (45:48.329)
Right. Yeah, you know how to do it. You know how to speak their language. You know what they want. You can read their minds. So that is. To me, that's like an easier puzzle to solve than like, how do I attract? Millionaires who are looking to build a new house from scratch. The the things that pop to my mind there are magazine advertising. Inflate magazines.

I don't feel like it maybe it's probably Instagram. Instagram, I don't even think it's Instagram ads. I think it's like Instagram. And I don't think it's things like architectural digest because I know because I think you need to be or I just mean, I don't mean that specifically. I mean.

Jason Comer (46:35.142)
Oh no.

Jonathan Stark (46:42.393)
national magazines. I don't think it's national magazines because you, you know, well, maybe it would be if you were, if there was totally hands off and they were just downloading PDFs from your website, it could be national magazines. But if you're going to focus on a particular style that only makes sense in certain regions, then it would be a waste of money to advertise in like a national magazine. So

Jason Comer (47:05.258)
Yeah, yeah, I've entered designer friends that are really good at Instagram. And, you know, their entire lead flow comes through Instagram, just.

Jonathan Stark (47:15.509)
Yeah. I know some, I know people who are in very visual fields, like 3d modeling, for example, where, where all the leads come from Instagram combination of YouTube and Instagram. Yeah. So, so what is what's your reaction to the idea of networking your way into introductions with high end higher end or high end developers, people who are Are probably

probably willing to spend the kind of money that you would need to receive. And then what would you need to do to collapse the costs so that the prices they're expecting to pay are really profitable to you.

Jason Comer (47:59.074)
So my first reaction honestly would be a little bit of fear with the people that I've worked with before. So like it's almost seems easier just like if it was a fresh start in a different city and just identify developers and contractors in that area and then just have a clean slate. That would be, that's not scary at all. As far as what the offer, I really like the idea of a catalog.

Jonathan Stark (48:10.438)
Mm-hmm.

Jonathan Stark (48:13.689)
Yep.

Jonathan Stark (48:19.313)
What would the offer be? So like, what would you say to them?

Jason Comer (48:26.418)
And even if it is a physical catalog that was printed like a magazine that had some heft to it, you know, it's not 30 pages, maybe it's got more heft than that. And it's almost like, you know, it's a thing that you could leave with them. You know, that could be realtors or contractors and hey, if this is what your client likes, I'm your guy, you know? So as far as like what it would take to get there, it would take some runway for sure, you know, maybe six or eight months to...

Jonathan Stark (48:30.875)
Mm-hmm.

Jonathan Stark (48:44.807)
Mm-hmm.

Jason Comer (48:55.298)
work through creating that, which I could do right now.

Jonathan Stark (49:02.554)
What would be a test that you could do before going to all that effort?

like some digital version or something on an iPad, there's something that wouldn't require all of the printing and editing and all of that, just to test.

Jason Comer (49:18.026)
Yeah, probably something that was a link that didn't have very many designs that maybe I recycled some things that I had done before that I liked maybe.

Jonathan Stark (49:30.789)
Okay, so it's sort of like a portfolio kind of presentation. I like the idea of doing it. I mean, if you're going to do it in person with a magazine or a coffee table book kind of portfolio, you know, why not go with an iPad and have it be you're not going to leave behind presumably but

Jason Comer (49:49.522)
Yeah, well, I mean, also I could just do it kind of the low rent bootstrap way, which is I have a binder, you know, a binding machine. You know, I could actually print some stuff at Staples on nice paper and bind it myself. That wouldn't be a huge cost or time.

Jonathan Stark (49:57.473)
Oh.

Jonathan Stark (50:02.913)
Yeah, I would, for me, I wouldn't want to go six or eight months and be like, okay, now let's test it. So I would, you probably get there, but I like to prove to myself that I'm onto something before I go all in on this thing that's going to feel like a sunk cost later if it doesn't work. So.

Jason Comer (50:22.186)
Yeah, that's a good point because a buddy of mine, we actually tried to hyper specialize in something, it was automobile related and kind of high end garages, you know, cause there's a lot of, there's a lot of guys around here that'll buy a garage condo. I don't know if you've ever heard of this. Okay. So say you're, you've sold your software company or your healthcare company and you have a pile of 15 or $18 million and all of a sudden you've got McLarens and Porsches coming out the wazoo that you can't keep at home.

Jonathan Stark (50:32.55)
Mm-hmm.

Jonathan Stark (50:38.38)
No.

Jonathan Stark (50:49.51)
Yeah.

Jason Comer (50:51.638)
This is a real problem for some people. They'll go to a development that's almost like a strip warehouse, but it's been condominiumized so that you get your own little 2,000 square foot bay with the giant roll up doors and the 20 foot ceilings. And you can park your Porsches in there. So anyway, so we tried to focus on that for that was more of a one off where you would build that kind of high end garage on your own property. And we actually went to the Barry Jackson and

Jonathan Stark (50:53.809)
Hmm.

Jonathan Stark (51:07.737)
Okay.

Jonathan Stark (51:18.471)
Mm-hmm.

Jason Comer (51:20.802)
had a booth and did some internet marketing. And we pursued it and we put about two months into it. And it didn't really pan out. And I'm not sure whether that was just because of the way we marketed or we didn't stick with it long enough. But it led to some clients that really, we didn't recover our costs with the clients we got out of it. But yeah, we went all in right away and we'd really never approved the concept.

Jonathan Stark (51:36.049)
Hmm.

Jonathan Stark (51:41.339)
Hmm.

Jonathan Stark (51:45.741)
Yeah. I think some things, I think certain concepts need that kind of all in like they can't picture. They can't picture it unless it's done kind of thing. But this doesn't feel the idea of making yourself available at an extremely profitable, but also affordable price to high end developers. I don't think.

I don't think you need much more than what you probably already have. So then it becomes a like, all right, like how do I get in touch with these people? What do I say so that they understand what I'm offering here and how can I deliver it in a way that makes it crystal clear to them what it would be like to work with me and what's in it for them. And, and then have some kind of like next step, like next call to action is.

you know, whatever, add your, add their email address to your mailing list or something, you know, keep in touch, maybe it's manual. And, and just see if they're like, you know, if they respond, if somebody responds to the offer is like, I've got to, you know, if you meet some new person, you get your foot in the door, you show them the binder.

and you get somebody or multiple people that are like, I could hire, how much is this? I could hire you right now for this. I've got a project right now I could use this for. Then you know, okay.

Jason Comer (53:06.41)
Yeah, it might be a little slower than that. Like one good developer I know, he might do two projects a year. So there might be a little bit of a time before you're able to prove that. They all seem to have projects that are kind of small, I mean, relative to a new house, or major renovations and additions and stuff. But those are things that are very hard to systematize. Like a brand new from scratch.

Jonathan Stark (53:13.216)
Mm-hmm.

Jonathan Stark (53:17.339)
Okay.

Jonathan Stark (53:28.957)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Jason Comer (53:33.974)
brand new home that might not be one that they have 10 times a year.

Jonathan Stark (53:37.793)
Okay, that's fair. So what if you did target an area that was about to go through or is going through a big sort of phase, like a big lot of developments or something? I mean, is that possible?

Jason Comer (53:51.71)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, and I think if what I could see working is if you targeted, say, a dozen of those people, I don't know if it does, that might be too many, maybe six or eight and just try out, try out different approaches and kind of see what seems to stick. You know, it might be three or four months before they actually have something realistically that they could bring you in on. So there'd be a little bit of runway there.

Jonathan Stark (54:10.321)
Mm-hmm.

Jonathan Stark (54:20.029)
That makes sense. Okay. I mean, I do like the idea though of boots wrapping it or MVP from the software, MVP-ing a test. And I don't know, you know, you don't really need to, I don't know if you're planning on doing this or you would be planning on doing it or not, but you don't need to get into the, I don't know if you need to get into the cost cutting measures that you would be implementing on your end.

In other words, maybe you would, I mean, maybe it would make it more attractive to them if you came in and said, Hey, get a catalog of really high end designs that are perfect for, you know, new developments, like you're building a house from scratch. And, you know, I wanted to talk to you about the pricing and that sort of thing. Not only is it, not only is it fixed price like that, but it's, I don't know, maybe you say it's very quick. It's like less work for them.

fewer meetings for them. They're customizable to an extent.

Jason Comer (55:20.478)
Yeah, I could see on their end that an advantage would be... Some of these developers and contractors, they have the same problem just on a different side of the table where they have an uncontrollable client that's constantly changing their mind, that constantly changes scope. And, you know, that's how developers lose money is not managing scope creep. So there could be a way that you could appeal to that, that look, this is going to keep your client off. This is going to...

Jonathan Stark (55:48.665)
Wow, old school.

Jason Comer (55:50.502)
Yeah, this is going to keep them, you know, on the rails, so to speak.

Jonathan Stark (55:57.585)
So when you said, now when the developer comes along and they've got like a new brand new project, brand new build, are they developing with a homeowner or are they just building a house here that they're going to sell to somebody?

Jason Comer (56:13.398)
It depends on the time of the market. So if the market's really hot, they'll go full spec. They'll do everything at risk. When times are leaner, they kind of go the other way. I've heard many, many contractors say, depending on the economy, they're either a spec builder or they focus on clients. So they kind of play both sides.

Jonathan Stark (56:20.539)
Hmm.

Jonathan Stark (56:29.681)
Got it. Okay, that makes sense. All right, well the spec ones to me sound like the easier ones, but that's cyclical, so. Interesting.

Jason Comer (56:37.834)
Yeah, totally. Yeah, like a couple of my houses have been complete specs through the point where drywall started to show up on site and then they sold it.

Jonathan Stark (56:49.956)
Yeah, that's the way the market is around where I am. It's ridiculous. Like, thing goes on the market on a Friday and it's gone on Monday.

Jason Comer (56:59.158)
Yeah, I mean, there are a lot of risk for that. There are a lot of risk. You know, some of these guys, when they're first starting out, they'll mortgage their house and everything just to make that happen. So.

Jonathan Stark (57:07.482)
Move.

Yeah, gamblers. Okay, cool. Well, is this helpful? Does this feel like?

Jason Comer (57:14.89)
Yeah, I think that that's at least two paths that I didn't even see, which is more one-on-one than I would like in an ideal world, but it's I think more achievable to get to someplace faster.

Jonathan Stark (57:29.113)
Right. And perhaps it's a phase thing where you get paid more than you might for just a plain old plan. Like a self-service kind of thing. But you build up your binder, you build up your catalog, you get paid to build up your catalog. That's it. It could be a phase that you go full product.

at the end where you're selling the high end, you're the one putting the magazines in the supermarket or wherever, you know, the ads in the, in the high end neighborhood magazines. Cool. Well, this has been a fun conversation. I hope it was a little bit helpful and perhaps you could keep in touch and let me know and let people know how it goes.

Jason Comer (58:00.161)
Right.

Jason Comer (58:16.17)
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, like I said, just a couple of ideas I didn't even anticipate. So I'm definitely gonna think about that and how I could do that, because I could see some of that working.

Jonathan Stark (58:26.769)
Cool, all right, well, where can people go to find out more about what you're doing and maybe look at those amazing pictures on your homepage?

Jason Comer (58:33.894)
Oh, I guess my website, Jason Comer Architect, last updated in 2019.

Jonathan Stark (58:39.812)
This still looks good. All right, well, thanks for coming.

Jason Comer (58:44.404)
Awesome. Thank you, Jonathan.

Jonathan Stark (58:46.361)
Alright folks, that's it for this week. I'm Jonathan Stark and I hope you join me again next time on Ditching Hourly. Bye.

Creators and Guests

Jonathan Stark
Host
Jonathan Stark
The Ditching Hourly Guy • Author of Hourly Billing Is Nuts • Former software developer on a mission to rid the world of hourly building
Coaching Call with Residential Architect Jason Comer
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