AIA 2019: BIM Perpetual License - Your Projects Are Yours
June 7, 2019

SaaS subscriptions tend to be month-to-month and if it lapses, designers and architects lose access to their projects. Go from concept to completion all in one BIM software with Vectorworks and keep what’s yours.

Christoph Trappe speaks with industry expert Sarah Barrett about their perpetual license that allows users to keep the software permanently. Listen now >>

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Christoph Trappe: Hello, everyone. It’s Christoph Trappe again. Still reporting from the AIA Conference in Las Vegas. And on this episode of our podcast, I’m talking to Sarah Barrett. She’s a senior architect product specialist with Vectorworks.

Sarah, thanks for joining us.

Sarah Barrett: Thank you for having me.

Christoph: What was interesting about Sarah, many things I’ve heard were interesting alread, but Sarah is actually on the marketing team. So, an industry expert on the marketing team. Fantastic setup right there.

But we want to talk about pricing for software. We have obviously seen a trend already in the industry. More and more software as a service, more and more software tools out there.

But to get us started, talk about what is your software? What do people use it for? Why is it important?

Sarah: Vectorworks is a BIM software, designed for designers, architects, interior architects, landscape architects. And it’s designed around their design process.

[Prefer an article? Perpetual Licensing Lets SaaS Users Keep Their Content]

So, it allows you to go from concept to completion all in one software. And one of the things that we’ve seen in the industry, especially with other BIM software, is they’re moving to a subscription model where to be able to maintain the software, you have to pay every month.

The issue with that for designers is their drawings that they create from the software are essentially their legal documents. But if you have a subscription plan and you don’t maintain it, you actually lose access to those documents.

Vectorworks has always had a perpetual licensing system, and we want to keep it that way because we know it’s important for customers to be able to access their documents whenever they need to.

Christoph: And what’s interesting about that, when Sarah said that off the air, I was like, what? Who does that in SaaS? Nobody does that, right? Or very few companies do it because they want the monthly recurring revenue.

And of course, we’ll talk about that, you have that setup as well. People have that option. But when you say they have a perpetual license, what does that mean? They buy it once and then…

Sarah: So, they buy the current version of the software. Right now, it’s Vectorworks 2019. They buy it, they own it. As long as they have a computer, they can run the software and so they have access to it.

Christoph: And it’s not like—not to pick on Apple, we’re recording this on an iPhone, iPhone 6 maybe. I don’t even know. iPhones—seems like it stops working after a while.

So, the 2019 software, it will just keep working, except there won’t be updates, right?

Sarah: Yes. It’s that version of the software, and you have that as long as you wish.

Then we also offer a maintenance program for a yearly fee that allows you to get the updated version of the software every year. You still maintain those old versions. You’ll always have them. You just get a new one every year.

If you cancel the maintenance program, you would still get to keep those versions of the software that you had. But you wouldn’t necessarily get the next version if you weren’t paying for the subscription program.

And then the other thing we have is we do offer subscription licenses on a monthly basis. Maybe you have one or two licenses, and you have a big project where you’re going to be hiring a few people.

Then you could rent licenses by the month for those people to use. And then that software would function as that subscription style.

Christoph: Very interesting. And especially as we’re seeing more and more software as a service in our industries to see the different models.

[Read also: Virtual and Augmented Reality for Construction]

I was talking to somebody earlier and they don’t charge you at all. They use it as a lead generation tool, which is a whole other new model I haven’t run across.

So, it seems like what you’re doing is very customer focused.

Sarah: Yes. That is something that we’ve always prided ourselves on, our users, we like to think that our users are our long-time fans. So, we want to make sure that they stay that way.

Christoph: Fantastic. Sarah, thanks for joining us. If you are listening on iTunes, Spotify, etc., check us out on,

Christoph Trappe here at the AIA Conference in Las Vegas.

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About the author
Christoph Trappe | Former Chief Content Officer

Christoph Trappe, a top 25 content marketer and author, was the former chief content officer at Stamats Communications, the parent company of BUILDINGS.