Jobs Using Chief?


solver
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm a one man design build using HD Pro for permitting and helping customers visualize their projects.

 

I can't imagine not being in the field working most days, and after spending 25+ years in IT, I'm not ready to return to sitting at a computer all day.

 

Wondering how others are using Chief to make money. 

 

Some are similar to me, but I'm guessing others are freelance, working on projects for a variety of customers.

 

Anyone care to share their story?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm also a one man design build (with some help when needed). I am also an engineer (and practiced it many years ago in a large firm where I wrote code as well).

Their, I was just a number (there were 130 of us in one office). I also had an interest in home improvement and, well, one day, took the plunge.

Have now been doing it for about 15 years...started out with small jobs, built a couple of houses, but now limit the work to smaller jobs, and additions.

Multiple jobs going on simultaneously is definitely one way to keep the cash flow up, but found it challenging/frustrating to manage them, primarily because of the help (you become a baby sitter, and I have returned more then I'd like to admit to make corrections). And, can be taxing on the home front as well, because of the long hours/weekends.

As far as just being in the office setting, not sure I'm ready for that right now either, but after my 50th B-day coming up, I might reconsider.

 

-Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Masters in History

then spent 30+ years as Systems Analyst/programmer

 

got into Chief while designing an addition in 2004

 

role was to run the business while partner did the CAD work

found I could do some - eventually 60-70%

 

mainly remodeling, but some new construction also

 

via the internet did projects across USA and a few in Canada and France etc

 

retired in 2009 due to ill health

 

now using Chief for my own historical renovation tasks

as health allows

 

Lew

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do Design Build.  I run the business doing sales, estimating, design and supervision.  My son and helper along with subs as needed

do the field work.  I think it might be hard to try and stay in construction and also do design for others.  I think they may feel you are a competitor.

At least that is how it seemed to me when I tried offering design to others.  All remodeling work, mostly kitchens and baths. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I started my construction business in 1975 in 2001 I went to work for a builder doing his plans and did 110 cookie cutter house that year, in 2003 I left there after getting a flowing of business's wanting me to do there drawings and have been in the business of design ever since then and have made a decent living doing the designs, most of the contractors that come to me to do there plans by the UCC codes of pa like what I do since I draw by the plans and could build it also, my mato is if I can't build it I don't draw it and it has kept me busy for a long time, am 65 years know and can still build it, maybe I am not the climber I use to be but I can still build what I draw, and go out to the site and show them the way, that has value, so instead of building it in the field I build it on the computer with Chief, so I guess there is a business for what your expence and body will be able to handle, not that I still would not be swinging the hammer but after a fractured skull going to a structure fire I can still use my knowledge and help he younger guys in the field and stay in the field that has help me to the point I am at

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And just an FYI, I have been using Chief since v2 and that was somewhere around 1994, so Chief has made me a good living from the time I did design build to just doing design for others and with no advertising except word of mouth, which is the best ad and the least expensive advertising, and there are many on here that can run circle's around me with the program and I do plans for people east to west and north to south like others on here

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alan CA is the only program I use for my drawings and I do complete construction plans, a large percentage is residential (new homes, additions), other I work with a couple Architect's and do plans for them also but Chief is the exclusive program I use, I have to fortune of my son who works for the state has his engineering degree and he helps with any structure issues that arise for me

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alan after using Chief all these years I do understand your aggravation usually it is user not understanding how the program works, I gained a lot of knowledge from Scott's video's, Dan Bauerman Chief Experts site and the Chief video's and of course the great help you get on this forum from great people that make a living using this program, my son came from an auto cad enviorment and I have him using Chief know for the work we do that he helps me with he does all even the cad details in Chief not autocad, as you lean the program things will get better for you

Link to comment
Share on other sites

why you stay with Chief if it's so aggravating? 

 

If it's so difficult. go back to what you were using

 

What ???

 

after 14 years he's suppose to just forget everything he knows about Acad

and take to Chief like a duck to water ???

 

Have you ever tried to learn something new ???

 

get real !!!

 

Lew

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks to all who responded.

 

Lets say someone has become proficient enough to sell their services.

 

Who is the potential customer? Builders, remodelers, home owners?

 

What do these people want? Complete construction drawings ready for permit? Pretty pictures? Design? Engineering?

 

I know some work with remote customers -- is important to be close to the people you are working for?

 

I'm thinking about the future. At 56, I hope to have 10 more years in the field, but would like a skill to develop as time allows.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well as you may know plain Autocad is just CAD and that is FAR superior to CA in that area.
One would think that after the many years CA has been around they would have improved there CAD environment.

I was desperate for a 3D software that produced quick renderings or better presentation for those customers that frankly do not have the ability to look at a 2D plan & see what is going on.
Quite frankly price brought me to CA. I tried Envisioneer first, not just the trial but purchased it. At the 30 day window to return it I did just that.
The CAD environment was awful & the number of work arounds was more than I could bear.
To it's credit CA is better but you must realize I come from the Cadillac of CAD software's. In that environment I have full control of the environment & command operations.
Although 3D is not feasible for housing with Plain ACAD but itself.
I used an add on to ACAD called ArchT, Now AccelliArch, and it is like CA in the 2D but uses ACAD interface & tools. It does produce 3D by converting the 2D smart object's back & forth from 2D to 3D.
And I loved it for the quick development of 2D plans, but for rendering you needed to export to a third software & materials are not even close to CA.

So it appears that you can not have your cake & eat it too.

RIVIT by autocad is $6000 and has all the CAD tools but I've been told that the 3D & rendering, (maybe I should say Ray Trace) aren't as easy as CA.

I plan on using CA for another 6 month to a year & make a decision weather to stay with it.
Mind you I can develop a 2D floor plan very quickly now & have gotten the manual roof tool to a comfort level I can live with.
I'm only into my third month and have produced 4 hybrid plans for permit. Between working & learning new software my plate is full.
It is extremely frustrating when I think something should be easy to do & I have to fight the program to get it done.
Simple Copy with base point & Paste is Sooo easy in ACAD but in CA:  https://chieftalk.chiefarchitect.com/index.php?/topic/3226-can-this-be-so-difficult/
Undo deficiencies : https://chieftalk.chiefarchitect.com/index.php?/topic/2857-why-wont-undo-talke-to-me/?hl=stair
My latest fight is thickened foundations, in this thread: https://chieftalk.chiefarchitect.com/index.php?/topic/3300-interior-foundation/
My last fight was/ is stairs in plan view here : could not find my thread but this is similar https://chieftalk.chiefarchitect.com/index.php?/topic/2295-fantastic-new-solution-found-re-how-do-you-show-partial-open-railing-stairs-and-how-to-show-the-door-to-the-basement-stairs-underneath/?hl=stair
My next fight will likely be framing as I still do that in ACAD.


The program has the potential to so much more.
I have 2 or 3 pages of notes that I will tidy up & send to tech support when I have time.

Sorry for the tread hijack.

And at 6 months I may "Go to another software"

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alan after using Chief all these years I do understand your aggravation usually it is user not understanding how the program works, I gained a lot of knowledge from Scott's video's, Dan Bauerman Chief Experts site and the Chief video's and of course the great help you get on this forum from great people that make a living using this program, my son came from an auto cad enviorment and I have him using Chief know for the work we do that he helps me with he does all even the cad details in Chief not autocad, as you lean the program things will get better for you

 

I used to speak fluent AutoCAD, up until 2006

at any rate. Probably wouldn't even recognize

the interface at this point. To all Ray's valuable

recommendations listed above I would add one

more important one.

 

Read the Reference Manual cover to cover.

 

I know it's long and dry and time consuming,

but you will get a much better appreciation for

the CA method of work and you will start to see

what Chief tools will do the job of the AutoCAD

tools you are accustom to using. While breaking

out the manual for crash instruction sessions on

the problem of the moment is instructive, it can't

replace a thorough digestion of the manual and 

getting a feeling of how the whole Chief program

is structured to perform.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks to all the good folks here who give freely of their time.

 

I skimmed the manual & will return to study it properly but as you know life has a way of pushing in on your time.

 

I love Scot's video's, informative & entertaining. :)

 

I've been through almost all the CA video's and quite a few twice.

 

I may have to byte the bullet & pay for training just to accelerate the learning.

 

There are some insufficiency in CA that no amount of video's will solve and the program environment could be made more user friendly.

See the GUI discussion here:  https://chieftalk.chiefarchitect.com/index.php?/topic/3145-sneak-peak-into-chief-x7-posted-on-facebook/page-3

 

I'll try to stop bashing CA, it's my frustration coming out, and try to realize it will never have a GUI like ACAD.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

.....

I may have to byte the bullet & pay for training just to accelerate the learning.

 

.....

 

Interesting you should say that.  I am working with a  Buddy right now as I write this,  he is in  Vegas,  we are using GTM,  and I am training him.  He is doing all the work and I am leading him.  He is picking this up very quickly including the hot keys.  It costs him money but in the long run it is saving him lots of money.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I began my CA usage in the early 90's (think I started with CA 7) when we couldn't find any architects to draw plans for the simple room additions we would get repeated requests for. So I bought Chief to get those plans drawn for those clients with smaller projects. Offering design and plan services became a profit center for our business.

 

During the 10 - 12 years we ran our General Contracting business we developed many relationships with many builders. After we got our a$$ kicked by the last work slow down we shut down a our construction business and I began to design full time for a couple of the builders that we worked with. From there it's turned into a full-time gig with a lot of great references and contacts that built from there.

 

If I were starting from scratch again I would do the same thing. Total immersion in Chief. Read everything you can find. Check all the videos you can find. Take on ANY job that comes your way. Lose money on a couple jobs. Do everything wrong until you learn how to get it right. If you're passionate enough about your craft work will find you!! Everyone who has run kind of business knows how that magic works. Phone rings out of the blue, customer needs drawing done. Very important - you say yes!! - even if you don't have a clue how to proceed. It forces great creativity and resourcefulness. Before you know it you have a genuine business.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't care how frustrating anyone finds Chief - I guarantee I was more frustrated - for years. It's the main reason I try and help new users with the easier problems because I can so so relate to the pain of learning this program.

 

I find the paradigm and approach that the CA programmers have chosen to be nothing less than crazy making - for the way I think. ACAD is way worse, again for the way I think. Sketchup style symbol creation fits my way of thinking much, much better but can't imagine using it to create an actual house. So I had to adjust my way of thinking in order to get CA to be a useful tool.

 

With that said having 3 months into any Architectural program will get you ALMOST to the point where it becomes truly usable. 3 months with ACAD gets you where? No way of knowing if someone's used it for 14 years. I've been using CA for about 15 years and can do almost everything I'd like for my remodel type construction plans but it took me a couple years to feel somewhat comfortable and if I decided to begin to learn ACAD I'd expect a similar learning curve.

 

One more point. You will read over and over and over again in this forum from former ACAD users how CA can do everything ACAD does (not in the same way but the same thing) within its CAD environment but if you're versed in ACAD and you've used it for 14 years a user will most likely not believe the claims, even though it's repeated over and over again. Can't help in that regard.

 

Hang in there either way - or maybe Chief is simply not the program for you. Best of luck either way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks to all who responded.

 

Lets say someone has become proficient enough to sell their services.

 

Who is the potential customer? Builders, remodelers, home owners?

 

What do these people want? Complete construction drawings ready for permit? Pretty pictures? Design? Engineering?

 

I know some work with remote customers -- is important to be close to the people you are working for?

 

I'm thinking about the future. At 56, I hope to have 10 more years in the field, but would like a skill to develop as time allows.

 

Once again, the topic has veered.

 

Anyway, Eric,

For my future as well, these are valid questions/concerns. 

Right now, I primarily generate "pretty pictures" and it is this that has kept me going. Right now, like yourself, I do not have to prepare (except in the case where permitting is required) plans or "shop drawings"...because I am the shop!

I am the one on site performing the work. And I've been in the field for about 15 years.

As far as the range of customers to sell just a "service" to, would be better answered by the architects/remodelers/designers who just do this.

I would imagine their range would include all three (builders, remodelers, homeowners) so as not to limit themselves on potential sales.

 

just my two cents...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the words of encouragement Larry.

Yes ACAD has a loooong learning curve. :)

I'm not a quitter so back to the battle for me. Onward & upward...

Alan, if your main work is residential, then I really feel that if you stay with the program long enough you'll be glad you did. The best thing is that you're modeling the plan too. We get jobs sometimes from clients because they can't visualize the cad drawing. We find this getting to be a bigger issue with clients as time goes on. Yes anyone can place walls doors and windows and put an auto roof on in a plan very quickly. But if you do fairly complex plans, then yes it takes much longer to use the program and figure out how the program thinks. Most of the better users here will tell you that it takes mega hours learning the program to do most situations. I just feel you will be happy with the program if you stick with it. Many times you have to think outside the box to get what you want and you really won't figure a lot of that out until you get really familiar with the tools.

 

I was looking at a thread recently about doing screened porches. Well, we do so many different screened porches that I use different methods to do them depending on the situation and when doing them, I do them in a manner to where I can do construction drawings too. The girl I work with doesn't think like that and just does it quickly to show the client for conceptual purposes. However, when it comes back to me to do the construction drawings, I have to change things (or rework it) so that I can specify and dimension things the way I need for the builder and Engineer. Some of the fastest ways to do porches are not the easiest for doing construction drawings.

 

Anyway, hope to see you for a long time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

  • Member Statistics

    31602
    Total Members
    9156
    Most Online
    1badbear
    Newest Member
    1badbear
    Joined