Chiefpdb

Economics of Chief Architect

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I would like to understand why Chief Architect has such a high price tag. By comparison, the Home Designer Programs are much more affordable. I live outside the US and I certainly do not understand why any program would charge such a high fee. It is the first that I have encountered in my lifetime. Please explain.

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Sounds like perhaps you're not too familial with CAD/CAM/BIM software.

Softplan with all modules--->  $3,585

Vectorworks Architect--->  $3,045

Revit--->  $2,250 per year

AutoCAD Architectural---> $1,260 per year or $4,950

ArchiCAD--->  Not positive, but $5,000+ last I checked (I think it was actually closer to $8,000 but I'm not sure) and could cost quite a bit more with some of the various add-ons

All Plan and other full featured CAM/BIM software can easily cost $12,000+

...and some CAM software packages such as CATIA can easily cost $50,000 or more--in fact, the yearly maintenance fee alone can cost twice as much as Chief

 

If you ask me, Chief Architect Premier is a bargain.

 

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44 minutes ago, Alaskan_Son said:

Sounds like perhaps you're not too familial with CAD/CAM/BIM software.

Softplan with all modules--->  $3,585

Vectorworks Architect--->  $3,045

Revit--->  $2,250 per year

AutoCAD Architectural---> $1,260 per year or $4,950

ArchiCAD--->  Not positive, but $5,000+ last I checked (I think it was actually closer to $8,000 but I'm not sure) and could cost quite a bit more with some of the various add-ons

All Plan and other full featured CAM/BIM software can easily cost $12,000+

...and some CAM software packages such as CATIA can easily cost $50,000 or more--in fact, the yearly maintenance fee alone can cost twice as much as Chief

 

If you ask me, Chief Architect Premier is a bargain.

 

 

Thank you for your rather enlightening feedback. No, you're quite right, I'm not too familiar with said software at all. I'm quite astounded by the high fees asked. May I ask why they are so high? What does so much money go into? Who can afford to pay so much and why would they invest so much? Is this unique to the American consumer market or do other countries share it?

 

Also, you're right about Chief Architect Premier, by comparison to the other CAD software you mentioned.

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Hmm...I can't think of too many small businesses that can be started for under 10K. You can start a drafting business for literally the price of the software, a fairly basic laptop, and a business license. But of course the expense is relative to the income you can generate and do operate a home design / drafting business, you wouldn't have to have any other software unless you chose to. 

Perhaps it'd make sense to compare it as a percentage to your potential annual income. What does an average draftsperson earn in Spain?

 

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In Canada, it'd be fair to say that the full price for Chief X10 Premier is equal to a month's salary. The annual fee for SSA is relatively similar to 1 monthly payment on a car loan.

Lots of room for interpretation there but it's a starting point.

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For a homeowner, say, these prices are quite high. For a professional, they are a bargain. If I can double my output (and income) -- which may actually be a low estimate -- spending $3,000, rather than hiring employees, is a bargain. I know an architect nearby who does maybe 60 projects a year by himself using Chief Architect. If he charges only $3,000/project (and he usually charges more), he is making $180,000 for an investment of only $3,000 in Chief Architect software. I can assure you that he does not care how Chief Architect spends his money.

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You need to look at it from a business perspective. The software does not deteriorate so the initial purchase of say $2,700 will last the lifetime of your business. To keep the software up to date the annual cost is about $500. Now if your business will be in operation for say 20 years then form an accounting perspective the cost per month is approximately $60. I spend more than that on my monthly cell phone charges.

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3 hours ago, Chiefpdb said:

 

Is this unique to the American consumer market or do other countries share it?

 

The more expensive ones in that list are not American.. Allplan, Archicad, and CATIA.

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12 hours ago, Chiefpdb said:

 

 Is this unique to the American consumer market or do other countries share it?

 

 

I use Chief but am not a typical user as I am just an amateur using it to plan the remodelling of my home, however I still decided the cost was worth it for various reasons.

 

My day job is working in software and there are many software applications that are in the several thousand or more USD price range and used all over the world.    Just one development tool I use is over $4000 USD and in total I have probably three times that invested in the software I use.  

 

The reason that some software costs so much more than others is primarily down to how specialised it is (i.e.is it likely to have a few thousand users or vastly more) and how complex it is to develop and maintain.  Developing software is incredibly time consuming and hence costly and that has to be recouped and profit made.  I've worked on applications that have hundreds of developer years worth of development time in them and that's a huge cost.

 

In the case of CA, they can sell a cut down version of Chief as a home product hence the low cost of the Home Designer products.  That may give them extra revenue and/or a way to get people to upgrade to the professional level products (as in my case).

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11 minutes ago, Chiefpdb said:

 

Here is a link to that information... https://www.payscale.com/research/ES/Job=Design_Architect/Salary

Adjusting Euros to dollars the median salary is just under 24K USD with 90% earning 45k. The median cost of living for Spain is 23% lower than the states, while Madrid is between 30% to 33% less than LA or Boston (42% lower than NYC) making adjusted salary roughly $64k.

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1 hour ago, MarkMc said:

Adjusting Euros to dollars the median salary is just under 24K USD with 90% earning 45k. 

This means the 90 percentile, meaning that only the top 10% make more than 45K.

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2 minutes ago, Richard_Morrison said:

This means the 90 percentile, meaning that only the top 10% make more than 45K.

OK- so 40% make between the median and the top.

It also looks as if jobs in architecture aren't at the top of the heap in Spain-http://www.salaryexplorer.com/salary-survey.php?loc=203&loctype=1&job=9&jobtype=1

Which appears to show pay lower for architecture in general in Spain than here but still adjusted for COL doesn't look too bad to me.

Then again statistics can be selective -

architectural draftsman Spain 8 yrs experience 31.30 eu adjust to US $, 40 hrs/wk, 52 weeks $74869. (before COL adjustment)

LA 8yrs $78,350 yr

Kind of interesting and fun but in any case I don't consider CA is expensive. I've done things where the capital cost of tools and equipment was far worse while return ratio wasn't not much better (if at all but that could have been the bosses fault-need to go talk with him:)

 

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I appreciate all your feedback very much. I am now developing a better understanding of the finnancial side of CAD software. So, let's take the cost of Home Designer Professional, for example. Its price of 495 USD is meant to cover the anual development of said program, which, in the course of ten years, supposing one update of the prgram were released per year, would lead to a revenue of 4,995 USD times the number of units sold, not taking into account the upgrade price. That would mean a minimal income of 49,995 USD in one decade.

 

Only, why is the price for Home Designer Pro not rounded up to 500 USD? Why make a reduction of only 5 dollars? 

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6 minutes ago, Chiefpdb said:

.....

Only, why is the price for Home Designer Pro not rounded up to 500 USD? Why make a reduction of only 5 dollars? 

 

 

If they were super smart,  they would charge $499.99.  That sounds a lot less than $500.00.....  but I think you knew that.

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2 minutes ago, dshall said:

 

 

If they were super smart,  they would charge $499.99.  That sounds a lot less than $500.00.....  but I think you knew that.

 

Actually, I didn't know what to think. What does being smart have to do with such a very slight price adjustment under a solid number? 

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1 hour ago, Chiefpdb said:

 

Actually, I didn't know what to think. What does being smart have to do with such a very slight price adjustment under a solid number? 

 

I thought that was marketing 101.  Maybe times have changed.  Never mind,  my bad.

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20 minutes ago, dshall said:

 

I thought that was marketing 101.  Maybe times have changed.  Never mind,  my bad.

 

Okay, no hard feelings. By the way, as a Chief Architect user, how respected is that program in the state of San Diego? I ask because where I live, Alcalá de Henares, is the sister city of San Diego. I would be very interested to know, as over here, Chief Architect is not used. Due to translation issues, Ashampoo 3D Cad is more sought after.  

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3 hours ago, Chiefpdb said:

supposing one update of the prgram were released per year, would lead to a revenue of 4,995 USD

 

$495 + 9yr x $99 to upgrade each year I believe.....  so  $1386USD

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21 hours ago, Chiefpdb said:

Its price of 495 USD is meant to cover the anual development of said program, which, in the course of ten years, supposing one update of the prgram were released per year, would lead to a revenue of 4,995 USD times the number of units sold, not taking into account the upgrade price. That would mean a minimal income of 49,995 USD in one decade.

 

I suspect very little of this cost is used for development. They are using this money to pay for the salaries/wages of many people, their buildings, utilities, hardware & software, marketing, training, maintenance, legal expenses, etc., etc. and maybe a little profit. And some software development.  You should not wonder why the price is so high, but rather why it is so low.

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Chief has a very nice building , has everything they need probably not cheap. But very nice., reminds me of silicon valley.

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Why does a Harley CVO Limited cost more than a 2006 Honda Rebel 250 – $1,880?  They’re both just motorcycles.

 

Please explain.

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On ‎2‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 4:06 PM, dshall said:

 

I thought that was marketing 101.  Maybe times have changed.  Never mind,  my bad.

It is, and you are right it is called psychological pricing where odd prices slightly below whole numbers give the perception of a better deal.  It appears there may be a cultural disconnect/bias that I am sure you didn't anticipate here.

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This thread reminds me of an magazine article I read years ago about how the price of cad software at that time was considered to be ridiculously high.  I believe the comparison was that software should not cost as much as a new car.

 

I suppose that in those terms the price has came down a bit.  To compare this to the new car analogy above, maybe the price of software should really be $29,995.00.  That should satisfy the folks who believe in psychological pricing.

 

Don't tell Chief though. 

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