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How Much Does ArchiCAD Cost? Pricing Explained

Updated May 9, 2022
ArchiCAD application icon and cash emoji

We have previously discussed the benefits of choosing ArchiCAD for your primary CAD software. With ArchiCAD’s BIM capabilities it is certainly a strong competitor in the CAD software landscape.

However, pricing is an important factor in selecting the best CAD solution and the reality is that the pricing systems for CAD software can often become complex. The pricing structure for ArchiCAD is a case in point. This should not discourage you from considering the program, however. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the pricing system of ArchiCAD.


ArchiCAD license options

ArchiCAD is available with the following license options:

  1. Commercial ArchiCAD full license.
  2. Commercial ArchiCAD solo license.
  3. Commercial ArchiCAD pay-per-use (PPU) license.
  4. Commercial ArchiCAD rental license.
  5. Educational and Academic ArchiCAD license (Annually renewed until the end of your studies).
  6. Free trial ArchiCAD license.

ArchiCAD does not release its official pricing online. If you are interested in purchasing a license Graphisoft suggests that you contact a local reseller for a custom price quote. Your quote will depend on what plan you are interested in, the number of licenses required and so-on.

There are different versions of Graphisoft’s ArchiCAD: Educational version, Academic version, the Commercial version and there is also an ArchiCAD free version download. As we will discuss; Graphisoft offers an ArchiCAD perpetual license and subscription options.

Commercial

The commercial version has 4 different types of licensing:

  1. The full license
  2. The solo license
  3. The pay-per-use license
  4. rental license

The full license pricing depends on what version (if any) of ArchiCAD you had before. In the next section, we break down the estimated pricing for upgrading between ArchiCAD versions.

The solo license has the same functionality as the full license but doesn’t have the Teamwork, Cinema 4ad rendering engine and Hotlink/X-ref capabilities. For both the solo and full license, there is no limitation to usage.

For the pay-per-use license, the cost is marked per-use. The timer starts when you start the program and ends when you quit it. If more ArchiCAD instances are running at the same time, the timing will be multiplied.

The rental license allows you to buy the ArchiCAD license for a certain period of time, e.g. three months. For the chosen period it can be used without any limitations.

What about ArchiCAD upgrades?

As previously mentioned, pricing for your ArchiCAD license can depend on whether you already owned a previous version.

Here’s an estimate – Purchasing a new ArchiCAD 17 license would cost approximately $4995. However, a significant discount is available for those who wish to upgrade ArchiCAD. If you were to upgrade ArchiCAD from version 16 to version 17 the approximate cost would be  $1050. (These estimates are based on our inquiries to ArchiCAD sellers.)

If you were to upgrade between the trial version to the full version you would be required to pay the full purchase price, without any discount.

Conversely, if you were upgrading between the Educational to the Commercial version (perhaps you used ArchiCAD as a student and now you have graduated and will use it in your professional work) then we’ve seen reports of a 30% discount being offered. Bear in mind that all these prices are indicative of our personal inquiries with ArchiCAD resellers in the US.

ArchiCAD Trial Download

This is a free 30-day version of ArchiCAD that can be used to check if you’d actually like to purchase a license. This is a great option for those who wish to fully evaluate the software prior to any financial commitments. 

You can request the ArchiCAD free trial on the ArchiCAD Trial Download page. In order to gain access to the free trial you will be required to create a ‘Graphisoft ID’ which is simply an online account for your ArchiCAD license. You will also need to define whether you are using ArchiCAD for professional or educational purposes.

Some software developers will heavily restrict a free version of their software to encourage users to purchase a license. In the case of ArchiCAD, its free trial limitations are related to how freely you can use the files created by ArchiCAD. Their website states that you can only open the files created by the trial software on the same machine they were created. Therefore sharing files, created by the free ArchiCAD version, with your colleagues would not be possible.

Educational and academic

These are free and fully functional and can be renewed every year of your academic life but it cannot be used after you leave your academia.

To use ArchiCAD for educational purposes, Graphisoft advises you to first download the 30-day free trial and then request a license via the MyArchiCAD website.
For a detailed explanation of these license types and comparison table check out the related Help Center article.

ArchiCAD perpetual license

Most software developers are moving from a perpetual license model to subscription-based pricing. The benefit of subscription pricing is that of simplification; in the past, if you purchased a perpetual license you were usually required to pay for support, upgrades and any other related services. 

With subscription pricing you know that there are no hidden costs beyond the monthly or annual subscription fee. Additionally, you have the peace of mind that your software is always up-to-date and you continue to have access to support.

Nonetheless, Graphisoft continues to offer an ArchiCAD perpetual license for those who prefer this pricing model. Unlike the subscription pricing, which can be obtained quite transparently, the perpetual licensing pricing is hidden and you can only request a quote from resellers to obtain your unique ArchiCAD perpetual license pricing.


What about License management?

Managing a license in a corporate environment can be an important factor in your purchase decision. If you have multiple potential users of your ArchiCAD license you will want to ensure that you select a licensing method which allows for such flexibility.

ArchiCAD licensing methods diagram

ArchiCAD licensing is available in two formats:

1. A hardware key

The hardware key comes in two forms; the Hardware Net key (see the floating license section below) and the Single Key.

The Single Key is the common hardware license you may have encountered from other software vendors. This licenses a USB dongle and you can run on any PC which has the dongle inserted. Luckily these dongles are cross-platform meaning they will run on both MacOS and Windows systems.

2. A software key

Much like the hardware key, the software key is available as a ‘single’ or ‘network’ option. The software key is a file that is downloaded onto the computer on which the software is to be installed. These keys may be used for managing single or multiple licenses.

The license can be downloaded from the License Manager Tool (LMT) software that is installed automatically with ArchiCAD and can itself be downloaded from the Graphisoft website.

Is there a floating network license option?

Many companies who have multiple users of CAD software prefer to manage the licenses across a LAN. You will have a computer acting as the server for your licenses and all other users on your LAN will be able to access the software license.

ArchiCAD floating network license diagram

Diagram demonstrating ArchiCAD’s floating network licensing method. (Source)

This licensing option is very useful when you have many potential users of an application but few potential simultaneous users. Typically you will only require one license per simultaneous user.

ArchiCAD does allow for this type of ‘floating network’ license option. For this, you will require the hardware license key, more specifically the Hardware NET key’.


ArchiCAD Pricing – The Full Breakdown

Neon dollar sign

As we’ve discussed above, there are many variations of the ArchiCAD licensing. Based on your preference and requirements the pricing of this software will change.

Different regions might have slightly different pricing, but the difference isn’t much. These are the average prices of the ones that were quoted to us from Graphisoft agents of different regions.

We’ve stated all prices in $USD and the prices are exclusive of any applicable taxes. The pricing is sourced from our inquiries to official ArchiCAD resellers.

Contract

Price

ArchiCAD 22 commercial version

$3971 total

ArchiCAD 22 commercial version (30% student discount)

$2780 total

ArchiCAD Start Edition

$2045 total

ArchiCAD pay per month

$196 per month

So, the prices could be compared as such for a period of 1 and 5 years:

Contract

Price

Cost in 1 year

Cost per month for a 1 year period

Cost in 5 years

Cost per month for a 5 year period

ArchiCAD 22 commercial version

$3971 total

$3971

$331

$3971

$66

ArchiCAD 22 commercial version (30% student discount)

$2780 total

$2780

$232

$2780

$46

ArchiCAD Start Edition

$2045 total

$2045

$170

$2045

$34

ArchiCAD pay per month

$196 per month

$2352

$196

$11760

$196

Additional ArchiCAD service options

Resellers may offer additional service options which are available in conjunction with your ArchiCAD contract. These services are additions to the standard SSA (Software Service Agreement.)

Additional ArchiCAD services include:

  • Upgrade ArchiCAD for free to the full version that is annually updated by Graphisoft.
  • Replacement of your license. This is only provided in case of theft or damage of your ArchiCAD license
  • Online technical support gives you access to ArchiCAD’s support team.
  • Monthly webinar tutorials are available for those who chose to purchase this service.
  • On-site visits are available as one of the higher priced options. There are limitations to on-site visits so don’t expect an ArchiCAD demonstrator to be visiting your office regularly.

Here’s a guide for the pricing options of these additional services

SSA

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Option 4

Free option to upgrade ArchiCAD

+

+

+

+

Replacement of ArchiCAD license

+

+

+

+

Online ‘technical support’

+

+

+

+

Monthly webinar

 

+

 

+

On-site visits

   

+

+

         

Price (per month)

$56

$72

$86

$100


Where can I purchase ArchiCAD

ArchiCAD application icon on world map

We recommend that you purchase your ArchiCAD license from a local reseller. You will have the benefit of being billed in your local currency and some services may differ depending on your location, therefore, purchasing from an international reseller may not be the best option.

Only purchase from a verified ArchiCAD reseller. It may be tempting to purchase from a cheaper, unofficial source but you are most likely purchasing cracked software which is both illegal and counterproductive if you depend on the software for your professional work.

How do you know if a reseller is verified? You should be able to find them listed on ArchiCAD’s website.

To find your local ArchiCAD resellers you can use ArchiCAD’s default sales agent finder but this is only applicable for US customers. Here’s a list of direct links to all ArchiCAD reseller finders for each region:


Are there alternatives to ArchiCAD?

Yes, we compiled a list of the most popular 2D and 3D CAD software available. Most solutions will offer a free trial with which you can evaluate the best solution for your needs. Therefore we would recommend checking out the ArchiCAD trial download.

We’ve also made direct comparisons between ArchiCAD and competitors:

Graphisoft’s ArchiCAD is the industry’s first BIM software for architects and it continues to lead the industry till now. Its automatic generation of drawings allows users to extract standard files like sections, elevations, and other 2D and 3D views. Because of its versatility and customization to your needs, ArchiCAD is a favorite among many.

Although this falls on the medium-high range of prices among other software, it doesn’t have as steep a learning curve as some high-end CAD software.

If you’re unsure how ArchiCAD’s pricing stacks up to other leading CAD solutions; you can check out our posts on AutoCAD pricing and Solidworks pricing for a full run-down.

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