What’s up with SketchUp Make?

Thanks for the AutoDesk Fusion 360 mention. I am going to give it a go. Will add my 2 cents here that for personal use, the free version of Sketchup is quite a drop in quality of experience compared to how good the free version has been in the past (probably just when Google was running it).

To the argument that people can afford cigarettes and laptops so should be able to pay $100+ per year for Sketchup. That mindset is just as closed as the one you’re trying to call out for being cheap. It everyone bought every piece of software they want to use for that kind of money, it wouldn’t take much time at all to surpass the cost of a laptop and cigarettes. That’s a lot of money on one piece of software that is for personal use, and for a lot of people not a regular use, just once in a while for home projects etc.

I love Sketchup but hate its cost and especially hate when a company takes over a product and does this to it. Hopefully at least a few of the actual inventors of the product are seeing some of the profits.

I don’t like the subscription licensing model or the web version, but I do understand TANSTAAFL (there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch). People always get quite upset when asked to pay for something they are used to getting without paying (note: I didn’t write “for free”).

When Google owned SketchUp, they gave it away for free because it was a means to draw users to their overall environment in which they make a ton of money gathering and selling info about you to advertisers. They didn’t need revenue from sale of SketchUp licenses to support the business. Even so, they were reportedly very tight-fisted with funding for SketchUp development.

Trimble has no such ulterior motive. They can hope that if you like a free version you will decide to license a pay version of SketchUp, but in the mean time they are actually losing money on you. They pay developers yet get nothing back. And if you want a contrasting business model, consider the “pro-grade” CAD apps that cost thousands per year per seat!

If you can find something that is truly free with no hidden costs, by all means go for it. But please don’t slam Trimble for not wanting to starve.


I remember a story that my Grand Father told me many years ago.

They were living on a farm in the Prairies during the Great Depression (the dirty 30’s). They weren’t too bad off but had neighbors on a farm several miles away that weren’t as lucky. My Grandparents felt sorry and decided to help out. Every morning for quite a while he would get up, go over and leave a loaf of bread and a container of milk on their door step.

Several months later he stopped providing them with food. The next day the neighbor came over to my Grand Father’s farm and said “Where is my milk and bread”

Need I say more?


I get your points, but what I will slam them for is their high prices, particularly their middle version. There is the zero-cost version, and the Pro version for $299 USD / year. Then there is the middle version that is $119 USD / year.

I can see how a professional would be willing to spend $300 per year. I can’t imagine (maybe I’m wrong) many pro’s bothering with the middle version.

You can go on and on about Trimble needing to not starve, but it’s just not true. They’re making money, lots of money, let’s not pretend otherwise. Have a look at their stock value:

So boohoo no boohoo, they’re charging too much money. If I’m going to budge, it’ll be that yes, the Pro version should cost money. There should be no middle version that is just a money grab attempt against pro-sumers.

The starving dev argument has been around since there were ever devs. Trimble is not just devs, they are a full company with tons of positions, not just devs. Dev’s themselves, make their own work free all the time! Rant end.

Yes, and this is the full-fledged, no holds barred software package. The price is more than reasonable at $25 a month. For a pro, that’s about 15 minutes of work and it’s paid for each month.

This is web-based software, and doesn’t include everything that Pro does. Likewise, it’s comparable to a music streaming subscription, at $10 a month. Almost negligible in price for someone who is still doing commercial work.

While stock price isn’t any sort of way to measure revenue of a company, it is interesting you brought it up. Trimble stock price has gone up 25% in a year, but only to break even the last 5 years.

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That’s just your opinion.

Be honest, no one is forcing you to buy anything from Trimble. But apparently you want something from them.

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Go back 2 more years and see they nearly doubled their stock since the takeover date of Sketchup.

To be clear - I brought up the stock value to make the point that they’re not starving. You don’t think that the value of a company’s stock has anything to do with its revenue? I guess I’m not a trading or financial expert so I’ll have to bow down here, but it does seems strange for a company valued at 2.7 billion and who doubled their stock value over the last 10 years, and quadrupled it over the last 20 years, to be thought of as starving, or some kind of struggling small set of dev’s.

That’s the argument I’m making. It’s a big company that does a lot of things to make a lot of money.

“So?”… what do you mean, “So?” ? My very next sentence, let alone the obvious theme of my entire comment was to say “SO: they’re not starving, the price is too high for non-commercial users”.

SketchUp is a very, very, very, very small part of what Trimble is. I highly doubt that it accounts for any significant portion of their revenue stream. But who am I to know? Who are you to assume?

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You’re putting words in my mouth, I didn’t say I wanted them to give me anything. I said the prices are too high, and I took a pass at debating the notion that they need to charge these high prices because they’re starving devs.

I guess the one thing I do “want from them” is a lower valuation of the product, particularly middle version that seems most likely catered to consumers versus commercial users.

I’m nobody to assume. I’m defending against your comment against my comment. You brought up the 5 year break-even. I widened that to 7 to counter your argument.

While we’re here still. Re your comparison to music streaming services. THe money that goes into those services, is paid to a lot more hands than Trimble’s income is to their devs. There are infinitely more people to pay on the music streaming example than Trimble / Sketchup.

If you don’t want to pay for software, then write your own :wink:


:slight_smile: OK, I will have to stop debating, but you get my last comment. (winking back at you).

I don’t think I said I don’t want to pay. If I did, then feel free to quote it and I’ll be in the wrong. But if I didn’t - your comment is no value.

It was a free piece of software at one time, and a lot of users used it for personal use. This is still the case, except the number of capabilities in the free edition have been reduced. So it’s not like the people who share my opinion are just coming here begging out of the blue. We are people who once were given something, were really happy about it, and now (this speaking solely for me) am voicing the want for a lower price on a version that I WOULD buy.

So anyone commenting saying I don’t want to pay, or so what that Trimble makes a lot of money, you must just want something out of them for free, come at me in true context of what I said, don’t try to throw extra meaning or words into what I said in order to quickly get me out of the argument in favor of your own argument.

EDIT (adding more):

All bitterness aside, along with subjectivity around the actual price/cost.

I think a monthly option with the ability to cancel without notice would be a fair compromise between users like myself who only use the software every once in a blue moon and Trimble. I would pay 1/12th of $119 USD in order to have it for a single month.

This actually is probably how I should have started, just with a “I wish there was a monthly / no commitment option”. Would have saved a lot of debate:).

Still making wild unsubstantiated assumptions about how Trimble operates, how much SketchUp makes of their revenue stream, and what devs are paid.

You have no idea this is true. The only reason I brought up streaming services was to point out how freakin’ small the monthly payments are for BOTH existing SketchUp subscriptions. If you’re using them for commercial work, it’s basically free. If you’re a hobbyist, it’s less than Netflix monthly. I said nothing of where that money goes, mostly because it’s absolutely IRRELEVANT.

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There really should be a desktop middle of the road version (ie. Make) that is perhaps priced somewhere between $150.00 - $200.00.

The web based versions are great and all but without their ability to handle extensions they are virtually worthless in my opinion. SketchUp, as wonderful as it is, without extensions is too bare bones to really get anything done in a timely and efficient manner.

In order not to cannibalize the Pro sales you strip away Layout and a few other advanced tools like Boolean tools as was done in the past. However, you keep the ability to load up extensions.

I’ve know I’ve argued the this point before but I will argue it again because I really think Trimble and SketchUp are missing a big chunk of potential market share and profits by ignoring this segment of their user base.

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Per year? If so, that’s not much of a difference from Pro pricing.

This would definitely cannibalize on Pro sales since most of the functionality you talk about stripping away could be added back in immediately using extensions.

I think this is an unfair comparison. Yes, devs like to make things open source because it’s a way for us all to help each other that we all benefit on in the long run. However, for most programmers I know open source projects are done besides the main work, or minor parts of the main work can be open sourced so others can help maintain it in the future. The main work still needs to be payed for devs to earn money.

This is like saying a teacher shouldn’t get paid because they also like to discuss their subject with people in their spare time.


It’s like you’ve been hired to get on here and filibuster. I haven’t made any assumptions about how Trimble operates internally. Regarding the darn music streaming comparison - you brought it up, and anything I say in response you’ve likely got a retaliatory blurb waiting to fire in your next quoting of me. Netflix, for what it’s worth can be canceled anytime. So can all the music streaming services. If somebody doesn’t want the subscription service for an entire year at a time, then you averaging out the cost over 12 months is irrelevant to them.

That is just you taking one small sentence out of context. It isn’t like saying a teacher shouldn’t get paid yada yada, because that’s not what I was saying. That’s all I’ve got for you.

Can I make a plea for SketchUp Make to be continued - and continued to be supported?
I have recently discovered SketchUp but I live and work in southern Ethiopia where we have really slow internet. Sometimes we get 17 bits per second download speed. Using web-based subscription services for software effectively rules out much of the African continent using the software. Furthermore, many of us who live in countries where there is good internet, but spend much of the year in African countries (and I suspect this holds true in many Asian and American countries too) cannot use thew service when we are here.

Not sure how you address this, but I’m just asking for recognition of the fact - when making software and commercial development decisions - that much of the world does not have high-speed internet access. (Example…it just took more than 4 minutes for the emoji panel to show all the emojis here):grimacing:

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