Sign in to follow this  
Diamond-built

Business Ideas

Recommended Posts

I have has Chief for 7 years now I haven't done a single thing with it other than playing around with it and learning it. I purchased it because I do new construction and would have to purchase my drawings online from a website. I was wondering what businesses did you start up and finding it profitable? I would like to start making money with this software. I would love to hear everyone's journeys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anything worth doing is done at a professional level with competence and certainty. "Playing around" has its own rewards but they do not include bankable income. The first thing to do is to really learn with certainty how to 3D model and create useful construction documents. This requires applied, dedicated study and practice not only with the software but also building procedures, drafting and Architecture. Only you can apply the discipline necessary to achieve bankable success. It all starts with your personal decision to succeed. So get started!

 

DJP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you think about this business from the standpoint of owning "software" and "making money with this software" then you've already failed (just being honest).  The software is only a tool.  Its like me buying a bunch of shop tools and calling myself a cabinet maker.

 

I think you either need to school or go work for a good design/arch firm and then plan to branch out once you know the ropes.  Pretenders get found out quick in this industry and the mistakes you can make can be catastrophic both financially and physically.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree - learn - learn - learn

 

never stop learning

 

but you either have it or you don't

 

my partner/friend and I started a business designing with "no experience"

 

if it was me, myself, and I - the business would have never got off the ground

but my partner learned the cad skills to apply his art skills and we did pretty well

 

you find a client and then another and within our first full year in business (2007)

we had 13 clients and 18 projects and won a merit award for an historical renovation

 

made about $54K to split between us

I was full-time and he was part-time

If he could have gone full-time - may have been even better story

 

then 2008 hit and boom :(

 

not so good

 

be careful about "quitting your day job" as they say ...

 

Lew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's easy to make money with Chief.  You can offer services from simple design ideas for homeowners or complete design remodels for contractors to obtain permits.  One can easily make $50-70K a year as a side hustle without trying. Much more if you live and breathe Chief. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chief is just a tool that if properly understood and utilized will allow you to better express your talents. It is your talent that you are selling not Chief.

 

Keep in mind that selling and making money involves a lot more than just generating drawings in Chief. You need to have the appropriate skills not only in your field of endeavor but also the inter-personal skills to effectively communicate and deal with your clients, be responsive to thier needs and be prepared to deliver on your promises. To be profitable you need to understand, practice and operate like a business. You also need to be realistic about the risks and your ability to accept and manage this if you wish your business to be sustainable. You must believe in yourself but don't be naive, understand your strengths and recognize your weaknesses and be willing to do what's necessary to get the right balance.

 

Graham

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your feedback I appreciate it. The Chief software is something I take serious and have been learning right along and also purchasing the upgrades. I have looked into the AIBD for becoming certified with them. Is their any other organizations I should become familiar with? Also for those that are doing this as a business you don't have to be a licences architect correct?    

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

no, in most states you do not have to be a licensed architect/engineer

 

when I worked in the DC metro area that covered 8 counties and 3 states (DC,MD,VA)

we could create the permit sets and the builder or homeowner would sign and submit them

 

sometimes an engineer would provide details and they would sign/stamp those pages and

then they would be added to the permit set

 

In NY we could still create the permit set but EVERY page had to be reviewed and stamped

by and architect/engineer - the permit could then be submitted by the homeowner or contractor

 

I believe there are some states where EVERY page must be created and stamped by the architect/engineer

 

talk to the permit officer for each jurisdiction that you plan to create permits for

as the requirements for what is needed can vary from town to town, county to county etc

 

we also worked via the internet for projects across the US and Canada and France and Saudia Arabia

use screen sharing software like GotoMeeting or Mikogo so you and the client are on the same page

 

it gets crazy trying to describe a change "no, the third wall to the left" - "do you see it?" "no, not that one, one more to the left" :)

 

Lew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes Massachusetts is one of those states where you don't have to be licensed. I just want to make sure I have everything I need to start offering my business to clients before I get started. I have been making my own house drawings for the houses I have built but that's it I haven't offered my services out. From reading other people post the going rate is between $85-110 per hour. Would you say that is a fair and accurate rate? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you sure about licensing in Massachusetts. Some jurisdictions have exceptions for a home owner building their own house but this does not apply when you are contracted to do this on belhalf of someone else. In my local the building department will only accept drawings stamped by a professionally designated Architect, Engineer or Designer. If you don't have this they don't even want to talk to you.

 

Graham

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Graham:

 

Ontario went to more stringent requirements a few years ago

 

some states are very restrictive - others are not (see my post above)

 

Lew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...From reading other people post the going rate is between $85-110 per hour. Would you say that is a fair and accurate rate?

It depends on what you are worth to people. One guy might charge $150 and another guy might charge $50. If the guy charging $150 has the talent and training of Frank Lloyd Wright and is 3 times as fast and efficient as the guy charging $50, the guy charging $50 starts to look like he's OVERcharging and the guy charging $150 starts to look like a bargain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Graham:

 

Ontario went to more stringent requirements a few years ago

 

some states are very restrictive - others are not (see my post above)

 

Lew

 

If memory serves me correctly, that few years ago is now about 10 or maybe more. Thanks for reminding me of my age.

 

I should however clarify that you do not have to have a professional designation to prepare the drawings, they just need to be reviewed and stamped by someone who is in order to be accepted for permit submission. This I am in full agreement with, what I myself dislike is that they also made a few other changes that really impact on small existing residential remodeling work. The most impactful is that they redefined the meaning of the term structure, it use to be assumed that this meant the loadbearing elements, it now means any framing member. Now if you wish to change an interior door width from say 30" to 34" in an interior nonloadbearing wall you are supposed to get a obtain a permit. It won't be long before needing a permit to paint that door.

 

Graham

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Correct me if I am wrong in most US jurisdictions residential can be designed to residential code no engineer, commercial requires Architect and PE. Residential customs can be design by anyone, if you don’t follow code for structures you need a PE stamp.

 

My jurisdiction and a lot of mid to small rural do not have the staff or funding to do residential plan reviews, you design to code and find out if your screwed up at the build. More than three stories  or duplex needs licensed stamps.

 

I think a good business model is get into as much as possible if one fails hopefully the rest do not or can be moved elsewhere, and if they are all on fire so are you such as Design_Builder, Drafting Services, WUFI, SAM(NREL solar simulations, pro Image and  Video…..I agree the more you know outside of CA and CAD the better, it IS just a limited tool these days being reduced.

 

A professional E&O insured legal entity such as an LLC would be good with all the legal suites popping up over false or misleading info;  “green” energy efficient designs and Indoor Air Quality issues, , etc…..It is growing fast, if not on the band wagon there is not much of a future, along with less 2D drafting on its way with model based drafting(MBD) and BIMS.

 

Keep your eye on 3D printing too in the next decade it will be a game changer beyond imagination according to MIT.

 

How many are not an insured legal entity?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

it is very  difficult for a non licensed architect or engineer to get E&O insurance

 

I hear it may be offered to AIBD members

 

Lew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lew, quotes I got recently around 3-5K/year (with a large engineering background), one home sale @ ~$500 from 10% profits well worth what it could cost in law suites. Any engineer w/o it silly! You want to play you have to pay. Sue happy society it is getting worse and I think "designers" of the past are going to be more at risk in the future. One prosecution and the business without a properly insured entity is toast. Search the net we already there. Some loosing personal assets. 

 

The underwriters are going to look at your credentials and size up their risk that determines that rate. I got to fill out some long credentials form this weekend and submit for a rate. I think it all depends on location too. 

 

As things develop and we maintain the road we are on with all this new technology(IAQ, ventilation rates, etc) the days of anyone being allowed to design will be gone. A drafter will become a drafter once again w/o the engineering liability unless they do engineering, what is left of that drafting skill set probably not much, following code(since it has issues) and/or residential designer will need more professional credentials and protection. 

 

From what I read getting an Architect license will require a higher level of building science knowledge, this is already the requirement in many countries outside of the USA we are starting to follow behind. BIMs is already breaking ground as a mandated requirement in many countries coming to your jurisdiction soon. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The underwriters are going to look at your credentials and size up their risk that determines that rate

 

Terry:

 

when I called a few underwriters they stated that w/o a professional license they couldn't issue coverage

 

I hope that the requirements don't become so restrictive to prevent "designers" from working :(

 

Lew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Odd must depend on state anyone can get it here, a license and experience in a field would reduce the rate. 

 

An aerospace giant I am currently doing some work for was boasting about some advancements they made in 3D printing in a world wide telecast today I seen. I'm currently converting old legacy 2D drawing's to (3d) MDB no drawing's. If I were young and full of energy I'd be getting familiar with the STL file in CA and MBD/BIMS design-build-life cycle management processes, focus on those skill sets of the future. 

 

I've designed some "Fused Deposition Model" parts in full production more advanced 3D printing, another one to research. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Terry:

 

I fully agree on 3D printing and BIM\

 

I started scoping out 3D printing back in 2006 and was considering buying a color printer

 

but they cost $65K and I found a shop that would do the printing for around $300

 

I then started scoping out marketing 3D Models to high-end clients in Old Town Alexandria and

Old Georgetown but then 2008 hit and :(

 

BIM ??? - I've been advocating for BIM since 2005 and I seriously doubt if CA will go down that road

 

Lew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The way to start a design business in 3D printing is understand all the materials that are being used today. Backed in 2013 when I designed that FDM HVAC duct there were around 12 plastics and metals today many, many more and applications in just three years. Get familiar with the plastic families and types and metal alloys and how to grow parts to staisfy different design requirements. Start a joint venture with a local manufacture, learn the different machine capabilities then buy one. 

 

BIMS- An entry level system could be designed and sold to jurisdictions. You don't need to sell the ones on the market now or could if you are not good with developing building information systems. Set up a system that can easily manage any CAD_CAM software like 3D printing, print data, maintenance records, life cycle info...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Member Statistics

    27611
    Total Members
    6254
    Most Online
    ChiefAKBuilder
    Newest Member
    ChiefAKBuilder
    Joined