Trimble Price Gouging

I’ve been using SU since it’s inception in the 1990s. I’ve lived through the founder, Google and Trmble eras.

I am primarily a hobbyist. I use the product seriously about once per month. I don’t use it commercially. When the free version became bare bones with no access to the vast world of add-ins and extensions, it became fundamentatlly useless to me. I had my free client version of SU 2017 that was full-function, but it got clunky and no longer supported. I bit the bullet and bought the Pro subscription last year.

I am 77 years old. I’ve been retired for a dozen years on fixed income. Paying hundreds of dollars for software that I use occasionally is difficult for me, but I cancelled a lot of magazine subscriptions and replaced their cost with SU Pro 2023.

Then I get this Trimble notice this week that Pro is going up from $237 a year to $346 a year! I don’t have any more magazine subscriptions to cancel to pay for this. What in the world can justify a 32% price increase. Yeah… sure! There’s inflation, but not 32% inflation! Furthermore, most of the heavy lifting developing SU was done a long time ago. Those costs are sunk. I don’t know what Trimble paid Google for SU, and I guess they are desparate to repay their investment, but they’re driving the casual user, like me, out of their market.

There is competition that offer full-function, free versions. None of them are as intuitive as SU, and at my age, the thought of learning new software, only because my favorite software has priced themselves out of my reach, is not a happy thought. Fusion 360 does what SU does (an more), but it is more complicated and less comfortable for me. Blender is open-source and very powerful, especially for organic shapes (which SU is not), but the number of dialog boxes and variables you need to control is mind boggling and will take me a long time to master.

I wish they could have a Pro version for the casual user that’s priced somewhere between free and $347. As it stands now, I have to look elsewhere, and that’s too bad. I’m a pretty advanced SU user and have contributed many models to the SU 3D Warehouse.


How is that price gouging? There hasn’t been a price increase in the SketchUp subscription since the subscription plan was introduced. Costs for energy, infrastructure, insurance, etc. have increased by a greater percentage in that time than this price increase.

It would certainly be nice if they offered a desktop version priced between free and the price of Pro but this price increase is not price gouging.


Pro is going up from $237 a year to $346 a year! What in the world can justify a 32% Price increase

That’s not right
It’s going up from $299.00 to $349.00

This is a 16.72% increase

Fortunately you still have access to SketchUp Free which in itself is really good.
The version of SketchUp for Web that is paid and is significantly cheaper I will add ($119) might be more suitable for you as a hobbyist.

If you have’t looked at it before

Almost all of the core funcationality is there, even many newer features that did not exist during the google days.


I think that sketchup make should return but not for free, maybe priced between the Go and pro versions, there are a lot of users who don’t use layout and need to be able to install plug-ins.


the Fusion 360 is expensive as well. $545/yr.

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That seems pretty cheap what what it can do. I also don’t see it as a SU competitor, maybe Form-Z would be a closer comparison?

I understand that Pro might be priced too high for a fixed income in the ops case. I don’t think that SU Pro is overpriced for what it offers, but it is outside the price range of many hobbyists like me and #mmarcovitch who are retired and on a fixed income. It’s a shame, because #mmarcovitch has done some very interesting work that I have admired. I use SU Go and I think it is a good deal for me, even though there are no extensions available and no Layout. There is still a lot you can do with SU Go.


That 237 you paid was a discounted price given the asking price has been 299 since the subscription model was introduced. There’s really no renewing at that rate unless you let your subscription lapse (or downgrade to Go), wait for another discounted price to come up, and take advantage of the pro rata.
I did that once when I upgraded from a Chromebook to a Mac Mini partway through my Shop subscription term (since I couldn’t have installed Pro on the Chromebook if I wanted to). Of course, that leaves you with a lesser version of the app in the interim.

As much as I hate to say it, a price increase was inevitable for you. It’s a tough spot, not using it in a professional capacity but still making use of the extensions. It’s possible there will be some middle ground version of the app, a Layout-free edition or some kind of extension functionality for the Go version, but we may well be a few years away from anything like that. We’d probably have to have a few more price increases before Trimble starts exploring other pricing options. Going from the perpetual license to SaaS was already a big leap.

Speaking of leaps, another factor to consider is the number of platforms SketchUp has expanded to since introducing the subscription model. Apple completely rewrote its own hardware standards with Silicon, and passed on some of that horsepower to their Pro level iPads. Microsoft tried going ARM-based with one of their Surfaces, but that never quite caught on. Also, getting the functionality of the desktop version into a browser window is no easy feat, even with reduced functionality.
These are all very costly changes, requiring whole new teams to be formed within the company to handle the platforms.

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Yeah, I understand I did not “upgrade” and I am still using the 2021 version now. I have been on the pro version because At Last Software didn’t have a free version when I started using it. The software works fine for me and I don’t see myself paying for the subscription until the software has something to offer. I mean lets face it, the “pro” version “of-old” is now 600+. I know so many people are going to say that’s not true but really the old version was a full version. Once they went down the nickle and dime route I just hop off the money train. The 2021 version has just become a component builder for other software that’s more targeted. I make small components like cabinets etc and upload them to my other software. You would be surprised at how fast you can populate a drawing with 3d objects that way.
I use moment of inspiration 3D for organic modeling and really I use it for conversion as well. Micheal the guy who wrote Rhino started a company to do NURBS on a tablet computer and he has updated the software to level 4 going to level 5. The cost is the ~same as a one year subscription to Sketchup pro and there is no subscription with MOI and Mike is on the forums.

“Gouging” might have been a bit hyperbolic, but it got people’s attention. I still have to explore other options, but I may be forced to go for the price increase when my license expires next year. Maybe between now and then a “Sans Layout” version will be offered at a reduced cost.


What do you mean by “got clunky”?
That it isn’t supported anymore doesn’t mean it doesn’t work anymore. SketchUp Make 2017 is still working for me…


I understand having a fixed income makes price increases painful.

SU wasn’t released until 2000. Since then, prices have always been on the affordable level. They still are relative to the other competitors. Your first subscription year price was discounted. It was $299 from its inception, so a $50 increase over 3 years doesn’t seem that out of line…probably in line with inflation.

Unfortunately as time goes by, prices do rise. $3 beers at events from the 80’s are now $12 or more. Gas, food, transportation, housing…it’s brutal!


The decision sort of was taken away. I was on auto-renewal and it did! My wife was a good sport and we realized that it’s important to me. I didn’t realize that my last year’s subscription was with the $50 discount and the update price was only (only?) $316. It saves me a ton of re-learning staying with what I know best and I will continue contributing to the SketchUp universe.


I vote that if you are younger than 18 or older than 65 years old then you should get SketchUp Pro at a discount or better yet FREE!


I really can’t understand why companies don’t offer a perpetual license beside a subscription. Just can’t.


I think ultimately the numbers don’t work out, even moreso for such a low cost product as SketchUp.
Users want to pay as little as possible.

You hear it here all the time, users want free software that does everything the pro version does.

Pro users want software that is updated in line with the machine on which they run it and the software they use alongside it - but they would not pay for this as an “extra”.

They also want software that is as feature rich as other pro software that is 3 or 5 times the price.

SketchUp’s current model and pricing sits somewhere in the middleground that works well for lots of people, you can’t please everyone unfortunately


If you’re retired, 77 yrs old and on a fixed income what do you “need” Sketchup for?
If you’re doing some work for someone, charge them for your service. Only you know what your work is worth. I’d suggest at least the cost of Sketchup as a startup fee.

If you are just using Sketchup to entertain yourself; look around there are a large number of FREE cad and illustration softwares available. Learning any one of those will challenge your mind keeping you sharp.

Complaining will just drag you down. How do I know? I am older than you. I pay for SU and am now learning Freecad. Fun program. Keep yourself and your mind busy and challenged.

Best wishes


I occasionally sell some of my services. However, the two biggest model projects, where SU played a huge part, were donated and not sold. I only “need” SU because I’m so familiar with it and would rather create designs and build models than spend the time to reach mastery with other programs. These two projects are typical of how I apply SU.

The I.W. Bernheim distillery circa 1870. I drew it from one image that was hanging on the wall of the modern Heaven Hill Distilleries Berheim Distillery in Louisville. I was waiting for a plant tour to learn about Bourbon distillation to build a model for my model railroad, when I saw the picture. It was so intriguing I decided to model that.

01 Original Berheim Bros Distillery

My drawing: The drawing was done with Match Photo. It was challenging to scale since this was the only extant image in existence. I based the entire drawing on the approximate size of the door openings. It’s not a perfect final product, but nicely conveys the feeling of the building.

The finished product.

For my railroad build installed a modern material handling system that is based on the actual system at the modern distillery.

I kept the first one for my railroad. I built a second and donated it to Heaven Hill’s Bourbon Experience Center in Bardstown, KY. I charged them only for materials. The family that owns Heevan Hill live next door to my daughter and have been very nice to us and my daughter’s family when we moved here.

The second major SU build is the Iowa-Class entire Battleship 16" Turret from Gunhouse to the Keel. My finished model is on permanent display at the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memoria, berthed at the Camden Waterfront in the Delaware River across from downtown Philadelphia. I did a detailed start-to-finish build thread on this forum last year. It took months to draw based on line drawings and photos, and one actual ship visit. It was very difficult for me since I had very few actual dimensions from which to base the drawings. Most drawings were created by working proportions, dead reckoning or dumb luck. Hundreds of parts were 3D printed in my shop based on the SU drawings.

The guns were the first thing I drew. If I couldn’t get them right, the rest of the project was not worth doing. The 16" - 50 Cal guns are complex with complex geometry. They’re huge in real life and pretty impressive in the model. The renderings are by Podium. The gun barrels themselves weight 266,000 pounds! The entire rotating parts of the turret weigh 2,500 tons equal to the displacement of a WW2 destroyer.

Building was more difficult than drawing. Much had to be scratch-built using old-school methods besides all the 3D printed parts.

The view of the almost-complete gun house clearly illustrates its complexity. I chose to build two guns in the load position (5° elevation) and one in firing position with the loading tray in the upright position.

This was me (right side) in the handover of the model to Ryan Syzmanski, the New Jersety Battleship Museum’s curator.

The model now resides in the Ward Room on the main deck. This spot was chosen to enable those with disabilities access to the model when they’re unable to get into the actual turret.

I wish there was a way to display the finished models on the SketchUp 3D Warehouse. Most of the drawings I post there end up as real-world 3D models.


Some really great work. :+1:


Chris from the EDU team here. Have you considered purchasing a Non-profit subscription
through the Museum that you work with? 501c3 organizations qualify for greatly reduced pricing on our Pro subscriptions.
You can find more information on our educational reseller site: