The PPP loan program was one of the many bazookas the fed and administration used to support the markets and economy with COVID happening. 7/6 Monday the Small Business Administration (SBA) released the numbers for the program, with more specifics on firms that received loans above $150k+.
Data might take a couple seconds to load; fullscreen button bottom-right on hover
You can dig into the data yourself more… but a couple interesting tidbits:
- Many firms seemed to pretend that their entire studios (besides founders) would be let go without the “loans”. While this may be true for smaller studios, where the founder is one of five people doing work, it is absolutely not true for a firm of 50+ (which because this data is for $150k+, this data skews to larger firms). The larger firm founders/owners are typically detached from the day to day of the studio and wouldn’t even know how to operate revit or CAD if you asked them. They would not and could not function without staff.
- We all know the industry is full of White Males. This data seems to support that breakdown (while the numbers have a very large margin of error due to non-reporting – given the history of architecture, its safe to assume they are somewhat representative)
- NY had by far the largest requests, which is to be expected.
$5-10 Million PPP Architecture Loans
Here are the 32 firms that received the biggest loans. In total there is 8,706 reported ‘JobsRetained’ within this loan range.
A couple firms reported false numbers for this on the low end (1, null, zero for example)… which probably is balanced out by the higher numbers reported (as mentioned earlier). Little Diversified for example has 375+ employees listed on their website, yet claimed “0” JobsRetained. There is another explanation, as they may be using the PPP funds as an actual loan and not for forgiveness (which would be smart considering the loan rate and borrow terms are very generous).
|ARCHITECTS ORANGE||144 N. ORANGE ST||CA||289|
|HMC HOLDINGS||3546 Concours St.||CA||351|
|KTGY GROUP, INC.||17911 VON KARMAN AVE||CA||318|
|LPA, INC.||5301 California Avenue, Suite 100||CA||400|
|WARE MALCOMB||10 EDELMAN||CA||479|
|BRPH ARCHITECTS ENGINEERS INC||5700 N Harbor City Blvd. Ste 400||FL||328|
|SOL-ARCH INC.||9485 Sunset Dr Ste A-292||FL||1|
|CDM LIGHTING DESIGN GROUP LLC||1344 La France Street||GA||14|
|COOPER CARRY INC||191 Peachtree Street, NE Suite 2400||GA||325|
|SHIVE-HATTERY GROUP, INC.||222 3RD AVE SE, Suite 300||IA|
|SOLOMON CORWELL BUENZ & ASSOCIATES||625 N MICHIGAN AVE||IL||277|
|ELKUS MANFREDI ARCHITECTS LTD||25 Drydock Avenue||MA||271|
|HORD COPLAN MACHT, INC.||700 East Pratt Street||MD||314|
|HARLEY ELLIS DEVEREAUX CORPORATION||26913 Northwestern Hwy Suite 200||MI||429|
|CUNINGHAM GROUP ARCHITECTURE, INC.||201 SE Main Street||MN||326|
|I & S GROUP, INC||115 E. HICKORY ST STE 300||MN|
|RSP ARCHITECTS, LTD.||1220 MARSHALL ST NE||MN||387|
|ARCO DESIGN/BUILD PARENT, INC.||7700 BONHOMME AVE STE 200||MO||253|
|POPULOUS, INC.||4800 Main St, Ste 300||MO||345|
|CTA ARCHITECTS ENGINEERS||13 N 23RD ST||MT||423|
|JOHNSTON ARCHITECTURE||SUIT 214 1213 CULBRETH DR||NC||2|
|LITTLE DIVERSIFIED ARCHITECTURAL CONSULTING, INC.||615 South College Street, Suite 1600||NC||0|
|EYP, INC.||201 Fuller Rd||NY||450|
|H2M ARCHITECTS, ENGINEERS, LAND SURVEYING AND LANDSCAPE ARCHITEC||538 BROADHOLLOW RD FL 4TH EAST||NY||467|
|WD PARTNERS, INC.||7007 Discovery Blvd||OH||232|
|OTAK, INC.||808 SW 3RD AVE STE 800||OR||326|
|EWING COLE INC||100 N 6th Street||PA||462|
|NELSON WORLDWIDE, LLC||100 S Independence Mall W Suite 500 0.0||PA||500|
|ARCHITECTURE INC||1902 CAMPUS COMMONS DR STE 101||VA||63|
|CLARK NEXSEN INC||4525 Main St Suite 1400||VA||0|
|MG2 CORPORATION||1101 Second Ave Suite 100||WA||335|
|FLAD & ASSOCIATES, INC||644 Science Drive||WI||339|
The main function of the program is to get offices through the lull in economic activity during the forced lock downs. Jobs Retained is really what the program is all about. The PPP loan is meant for 2 months of payroll + 25% premium (for other overhead and expenses such as rent). There are many stipulations above this of what can and cant be done in terms of firing and forgivable etc (not all the money is forgivable).
Started to do the numbers to get around $22k per person for 2 months, yadda… yadda…. But it doesn’t really matter. Two things became super clear from the napkin math:
- The information was not completely accurate. It is a bit silly that a government program (quite literally) handing out free money to companies doesn’t require more accurate reporting. We would have loved to see accurate reporting even just of the JobsRetained (since that is the goal of the program — 0 is fine since that may be true, but leaving blank data (null) seems fraudulent on the surface)… but also the ethnicity and gender. This program could have quickly became the biggest and best architecture data set. (along with other industries)
- The government program is ripe with inefficiencies. If you’ve ever interacted or had experience with a government agency, you know this is true. One of the latest examples was another one of the stimulus program: the stimulus checks going to over 1 million dead people. The numbers here further prove that when a program is set up on a vast scale, its full of problems and inefficiencies that everyone will take advantage of.
Even with this, the whole program was supposed to preserve jobs, and it seems at least for now to have temporarily done that to a good section of the industry who took advantage. The firms that did take the PPP could be making it last even longer than 2 months as pay cuts + selective firings along with the 25% overhead could mean this money stretches easily to 4+ months. Other notable firms left off this list (some big ones too) are presumably either not in the need for money, looking to other markets to raise capital, or are using the downturn as a way to streamline and reduce staff, becoming leaner for the long haul.