By Lindsay Kelly
Source: The Bottom Line
TED WOOD AND GERMANO BOTELHO ARE BUDDIES: that you can tell right away. Jovial, often finishing each other’s sentences, the pair head up one of the smaller architectural firms on the Island that works on one of the largest ongoing projects in Bermuda.
Opened in 2004, the Smith’s-based firm has nine employees and they plan on keeping it that way.
“We are deliberately small – we have had the opportunity to grow bigger but decided to deliberately stay small,” said Mr. Wood. “Once you get above ten it gets to have the feel of a corporation rather than a family.”
The firm is currently working on The Waterloo House on Pitts bay Road – a new five-storey office and residential development. But according to the pair, their clients span the range from very large to very small.
“We’re one of the smallest firms yet we are able to produce one of the biggest buildings,” said Mr. Wood. “But if a small client come through the door, they are going to get the same good service. We’re proof that small business does work in Bermuda.”
Their secret to success?
“Great design and good service,” said Mr. Botelho, adding that 60 percent of their business is from repeat clients. “There really isn’t any other secret.”
Two years ago when the owners saw the industry was slowing down, they very quickly went to a four-day work week. “Rather than letting people go, we all took the hit together,” said Mr. Botelho. “It’s become quite seasonal, four days a week during the winter and back to a very busy five days a week starting in the Spring.”
The architects are just fine keeping the business the same size as it is now. “We’re happy to keep on doing what we’ve been doing,” said Mr. Wood. “I don’t think we need to be the biggest firm out there but instead have a good variety of work and be happy without complacent.”