Top 26 Best Architecture Software: From Design to Operations

by
Lucas Gray
Wondering which architecture software you should invest in? This article includes the best architecture software for firms to manage their clients, run a profitable business, and deliver great design solutions.
Top 26 Best Architecture Software: From Design to Operations

Having run a small architecture firm and now a Business Development Manager at CVG, Lucas Gray knows how difficult it is to find the right software for your business. 

In this article, Lucas looks at the best architecture software for small firms to:

  • Manage their clients
  • Run a profitable business
  • And design great architecture 

Let’s dive in. 

Over the past 7 years, I ran a small architectural firm and grew it from 2 to 5 employees. 

During this time, I was hands-on when it came to testing different architecture software for our studio. 

My testing included 2 things:

  1. Traditional design tools like drafting and modeling software 
  2. Business software like billing and task management software 

Deciding which operational tools work best for your firm can be pretty overwhelming when you’re starting a new business. 

I’ve put together a few general categories of software that every firm should consider using with the pros and cons of each.

The team at Monograph also highlighted their favorites to help steer you in the right direction.

Now you can find a reliable fit for your architecture software stack to reduce non-billable tasks and start getting more done.

Although this was ideal for a 5-person architectural firm, these solutions are scalable for larger firms. 

Most of these solutions have tiered pricing for different-sized companies, so you can find one that suits your pocket.

3 Best Architectural Drafting/Modeling Software

We recommend that architects use a Building Information Modeling (BIM) 3D program. For this reason, we didn’t include AutoCAD or other 2D drafting software programs.

100% of large architecture firms have been using BIM for billable work since 2019 (AIA Firm Survey Report 2020.)

100% of large architecture firms are using BIM for billable work. (AIA Firm Survey Report 2020)

If you are a new firm or a company considering adopting new drafting software, we propose that you go with a BIM program. Otherwise, you are starting with antiquated tools.

Now let’s take a look at the 3 software we recommend for drafting & modeling:

1 - Autodesk Revit (or Revit LT)

Revit is by far the most commonly used BIM software in the United States’ architectural industry. 

We adopted this solution from day 1 and would recommend it for any sized architectural company.

Screenshot of Autodesk Revit
“Revit. You can make an update and not have to chase the changes through your drawings? Amazing. Very powerful and should be the standard for all projects these days. You’re wasting your time and resources if you’re not using BIM.”

- Silvia Lee, Architect and Community Manager at Monograph

Pros of Autodesk Revit 

  • Streamlining the design process
  • Reducing the learning curve that comes with using multiple programs
  • Coordinating with consultants

Revit LT is a lighter version of the full software and has almost all of the features needed for a firm of 1–8 people.

Screenshot of Autodesk Revit LT

It is perfect for those residential or small commercial projects where one architect uses the software at any one time.

Cons of Autodesk Revit

Autodesk Revit only runs on Microsoft Windows, so if you’re using an Apple Mac, you will either need to Boot Camp your computer or use Parallels Desktop 17 to get the software to run.

Screenshot of Parallels Desktop 17

I really wouldn’t recommend it. If you want to use Revit, I advise that you buy Windows-based computers for your office. 

Secondly, the files can be gigabytes in size and challenging to manage. 

Relatively small projects use hundreds of megabytes and take up a lot of storage, making the model slow to open, save, and respond. 

Pricing

Screenshot of Autodesk Revit and Revit LT Pricing

It costs $60/month or $475/year, compared with the full Revit version of $320/month or $2,545/year.

The main difference is that multiple people can collaborate on 1 model simultaneously in the full version.

The full version is great for larger, more complex projects and larger teams. 

If you are just starting, go for the lighter version.

There is a large user base that offers tips, plugins, model elements, and other resources.

2 - ArchiCAD

The BIM software ArchiCAD is specifically designed for architects. 

It has a friendly interface and is flexible in design.

Screenshot of ArchiCAD

Pros of ArchiCAD

The main benefits are that it is Mac compatible, and the software is easier to grasp. 

Many people swear that this is a more superior design program than Revit. 

Cons of ArchiCAD

We place a lot of value on adopting industry standards, so it is easier to share files and collaborate with others.  

ArchiCAD is not as common, making it harder to coordinate with engineers.

Pricing

Archicad starts at $240/month for the solo version and $280/month for the full version that allows you to work as a team.

3 - SketchUp

SketchUp is another commonly used modeling software, but it has some significant limitations.

It is perfect for quick iterations, massing studies, and concept explorations. However, when you start developing the design in more detail, it is very clunky and unrefined software.

Screenshot of SketchUp

Pros of SketchUp 

SketchUp is suitable for small projects that don’t need a lot of detail.

It also has a very intuitive interface, and you can quickly learn it.

There is a large user base that offers tips, plugins, model elements, and other resources.

Cons of SketchUp

While we used SketchUp during the schematic design phase, we phased it out as our team became more adept at Revit.

It isn’t great for 2D drawings or detailed work because it doesn’t offer enough line weights and types control.

Pricing

SketchUp Pricing

SketchUp Pro is an affordable option at only $299/year.

2 Best Rendering Software

Rendering software is excellent for creating 2D and 3D images and can help you identify problems in the early developmental phases of the process. 

It’s also convenient for communicating your ideas with your clients.

4 - Enscape

When I started playing around with Enscape, it quickly became apparent how useful it would be as a part of the design process. 

Getting live views of the rendered environment while working on the model was incredible and changed how I was designing.

Screenshot of Enscape
“Enscape enables designers like me who’re not super good at V-ray renderings to create renderings quickly. The walkthrough feature is super helpful to walk clients through the building during design presentations.”

- Joann Lui, AIA, Architect and Product Marketing Manager at Monograph

Pros of Enscape

Enscape is a plugin for SketchUp, ArchiCAD, or Revit (although Revit LT doesn’t allow plugins, so you need the full version).  

It’s effortless to fit into your typical workflow. 

You can quickly get the hang of the software and find your team using it daily. 

The objects and textures that come with this software help make renderings good enough for client presentations with minimal extra work. 

You don’t need to spend hours post-processing in photoshop. 

All-in-all it is a great tool and the recommended option for in-house rendering. 

Cons of Enscape 

It’s hard to fault Enscape, but there are some downsides. 

It’s hard to create representative model videos (if that’s what you are going for), and the final renders are medium quality.

But there is nothing photoshop cannot fix.

Pricing

Enscape Pricing

Subscriptions start at $39.90/month for a single-use license and $67.90/month for a floating license. 

5 - Lumion

Lumion is rendering software widely adopted in architectural offices.

Screenshot of Lumion
“Lumion has different visual styles and can easily add in assets. Great way to explore a design and show clients updates if they’re having trouble visualizing from drawings.”

- Silvia Lee, AIA, Architect and Community Manager at Monograph

Pros of Lumion

Like Enscape, Lumion gives live rendering updates while working on the model, changing how we can and should use renderings.

It’s more sophisticated and comes with additional features, like animations and objects.

Cons of Lumion

The real downside is the price. 

Lumion is over twice the price of Enscape, so it is a more significant investment. 

It might just be out of the budget for a smaller firm. 

Pricing

Lumion Pricing

Pro licenses for Lumion start at over $3,300. 

2 Best PDF Reading/Editing Software

‍Pretty much every firm needs PDF reading and editing software to review drawings and redline submittals.

A majority of firms (82%) are using file editing software like Adobe or Revu (AIA Tech Culture Report 2021.)

82% of firms are using file editing software (AIA Tech Culture Report 2021)

6 - Bluebeam

Bluebeam focuses on making the best PDF software. 

It is a standalone company popular with design firms. 

It can convert blueprints into 2D and 3D PDFs, and it has many markup features that are easy and fast to access.

Screenshot of Bluebeam
“Bluebeam all the way -- with their stamps, there are ways in which you can create standards that make it incredibly easy to drive interior layouts. It’s great for schematic design when you need to make big decisions quickly across teams.”

- George Valdes, Assoc AIA, Head of Growth at Monograph

George also recommends starting in Bluebeam before even doing any kind of work in 3D tools.

“This process was developed by Christi Farrell at WeWork and sped up schematic design review processes by weeks.”

Pros of Bluebeam

You really should invest in Bluebeam if you are in the design and construction industry. 

It gives you the flexibility to create, edit, and markup PDFs. 

It’s by far the best PDF software for architecture firms of all sizes and definitely worth the investment. 

Cons of Bluebeam

It doesn’t integrate with many systems, but other than that, I can’t fault Bluebeam. 

Pricing

Bluebeam Pricing

Bluebeam Revu standard starts at $349 per seat.

7 - Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat is part of the Adobe suite of graphics software. 

It is free, and many people use this software.

Screenshot of Adobe Acrobat

Pros of Adobe Acrobat

All architects and engineering disciplines use PDFs, and chances are your team is familiar with Adobe.

It’s suitable for document control and interaction with clients.

If you’re already investing in Adobe Creative Cloud for your graphics and image editing needs, Adobe Acrobat Pro is already included - so you don’t have to pay extra to use it.

Cons of Adobe Acrobat 

Adobe Acrobat and Bluebeam are similar in terms of their software, but Bluebeam is more architect-friendly. 

Pricing

For solo firm owners, you can get the Adobe Acrobat Standard is at $12.99/month (windows only) and the Pro version at $14.99/month (for both mac and windows.)

For a team, you can also get the Acrobat Team version at $16.99/license/month (for both mac and windows.)

2 Best Business Suite Software for Architects

Every successful firm needs design and administrative tools to keep the organization running.

In fact, 88% of firms use a paid “Office Suite” like Microsoft 365 (AIA Tech Culture Report 2021.)

88% of firms use a paid “Office Suite.” (AIA Tech Culture Report)

In this section, we rate writing, spreadsheet, and presentation software. 

This software is a bit tougher to narrow down as much of it depends on what computer you have and your personal preferences. 

Here are our recommendations for business suite software: 

8 - Microsoft 365

Microsoft Office is still the dominant player in this space, and you probably use it if you have a Windows computer.

Screenshot of Microsoft 365

Pros of MS 365

MS Office has been around for nearly 30 years. 

It is an excellent investment to buy the subscription service. 

There’s not a learning curve either—everyone is familiar with it. 

Cons of MS 365

The downside of MS Office is that you don’t own the software. 

And most people only use 20% of the functionality, so you are technically paying for something you aren’t optimally using. 

Pricing

Microsoft 365 Pricing

Microsoft 365 starts at $5 per user per month for the basic features.

9 - Google Workspace

Google’s Documents, Sheets, and Slides are packaged together as Drive. 

It’s free to use with any personal Gmail account or included in your paid Google Workspace account.

Screenshot of Google Workspace

Here at Monograph, we use Google suite for everything from creating presentations, to writing blog posts because it’s great for collaboration across teams.

“Google suite works well for collaboration. Easy and lots of ways to apply it into workflows, but was not used much at all in my prev. arch offices, Microsoft office was.”

- Silvia Lee, AIA, Architect and Community Manager at Monograph

Pros of Workspace

We decided to use Google Workspace for our firm, which includes custom Gmail for our company email and Google Drive for file storage and sharing. 

Secondly, and this is the big one, Google Workspace is the best option for collaboration between colleagues. 

The process of emailing draft files back and forth falls away. 

Everyone can log in to a single file and edit it simultaneously. 

It is a web-based software, and so all your files and programs are accessible from any computer as long as it has an internet connection. 

Google Workspace makes it easy to switch from a work desktop to a home laptop or a tablet.

Cons of Google Workspace

Google Workspace isn’t quite as powerful as MS Office, but it does everything you need to run your business. 

It’ll save time and money, which makes this our recommended approach.

Pricing

Google Workspace Pricing

Google Workspace starts at $6 per user per month, with a premium option of $18 per user per month.

3 Best Accounting/Bookkeeping Software

Bookkeeping software automates your accounting, makes tax filing a little simpler, and keeps the doors of your firm open.

You could also use a full-blown Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software that would include accounting, but for most small firms, simple accounting software is enough.

59% of firms are using accounting-only software instead of using more advanced ERP systems.

59% of firms are using accounting-only software instead of using more advanced ERP systems (AIA Tech Culture Report 2021.)

If you are a firm of 5 or more people or planning to grow, we recommend that you buy QuickBooks Online. 

Although a higher cost, small businesses widely adopt it, and most accountants and bookkeepers know this software. 

However, if you are just starting and are planning on remaining either a sole practitioner or a small office, one of the others might be a perfect fit.

Keep in mind that it does take time to switch from one software to another, so consider your future needs when selecting which program is the best fit. 

10 - Quickbooks Online

Quickbooks is the most significant player in this space, and it’s what we used in the beginning stages of my company.

The Quickbooks Online option gives you the advantage of having your accounting information available from anywhere, and it has a friendly and simple user interface. 

Screenshot Quickbooks Online

Pros of Quickbooks

Quickbooks makes sending invoices, tracking payments and expenses, budgeting, and other bookkeeping easy. 

It also is the most widely used bookkeeping software, so there are tons of resources to help you learn how to use it and many plugins to add features. 

Cons of Quickbooks

The desktop version is overkill for a small firm and is only necessary if you have in-house accountants. 

Otherwise, the online version does everything you need.

Pricing

Quickbooks Online Pricing

The simplest package starts at $25 a month, but pricing goes up to $180 a month for advanced users.

11 - Freshbooks

Freshbooks is explicitly marketed towards small businesses and is more affordable than Quickbooks.

Screenshot of Freshbooks

Pros of Freshbooks

It sells itself as being intuitive, simple, and easy to adopt. 

It’s for service-based businesses where Quickbooks is built for all businesses and thus has features that don’t apply to architecture firms—like inventory and product sales. 

We went with Quickbooks because it is the more significant player and offers more plugins and syncing with other software. 

However, Freshbooks is a cheap streamlined bookkeeping/accounting software doing everything that you need in a start-up firm. 

Cons of Freshbooks

Freshbooks can crash if you are a bigger organization with a lot of data designed for smaller firms. 

It is templatized software, which means you can’t change terms easily per client. 

Pricing

Freshbooks Pricing

The entry-level package starts at $4.50/month for up to 5 clients and the premium package only goes up to $15/month with unlimited clients. 

12 - Wave

If you’re trying to bootstrap your startup firm, Wave might be a place to start because it’s free.

As cloud-based software, it’s similar to Quickbooks Online, although it does offer fewer features.

Screenshot of Wave
“I use Wave for all my side hustles to keep track of my books. I love that it’s free so it’s perfect for small businesses, and it has so much flexibility.”

- Joann Lui, AIA, Architect and Product Marketing Manager at Monograph

Pros of Wave

Wave is for small businesses with only one person running the accounting, unlike Quickbooks, which can accommodate multiple users. 

It’s an easy-to-use program and is more intuitive to pick up than Quickbooks, which can be complicated and cumbersome with all its features. 

Cons of Wave

The main drawback to Wave is that it’s less widely adopted. 

You’re not able to integrate it with too many other programs. 

However, if you can live with fewer features and limited integrations, you really can’t beat the price. 

Bear in mind that if you go for something free, you get what you paid for in terms of support. 

Pricing

Wave pricing

Wave is totally free to use, but you’ll need to pay transaction fees if you use it for payments. 

2 File Hosting/Sharing Software

Most architecture firms use local servers to store their files and data, but we do see a switch to cloud storage in recent years especially during the pandemic.

In fact, around 3 in 5 firms are storing files in the cloud today as remote work increases (AIA Tech Culture Report.)

But the most common method is hybrid as 42% of firms are using both cloud and shared servers to store and access their files.

42% of firms are using both cloud and shared servers.

All of the cloud hosting services do an excellent job, and your purchase probably is a personal preference based on habit and what works best for you. 

We realize there are many other options in this space like Box and some of the built-in storage like iCloud or OneDrive from Apple and Microsoft, respectively.

However, most of the others gear towards personal use or enterprise use for larger companies. 

The 2 options below are what we found to be most applicable for small firms, and we chose Google Drive since we were already using other Google software.

13 - Google Drive

We decided to use Google Drive to integrate with the other Google services like Gmail, Google Workspace, and Chat.

Google Drive became our file server, and we used it both internally to manage our files and externally to share with consultants and clients. 

Screenshot of Google Drive
“​​Drive has its limitations but helps keep all of your main office tools in one place.”

- George Valdes, Assoc AIA, Head of Growth at Monograph

Pros of Google Drive

Google Drive was easy and intuitive to use. 

The cost is scalable depending on what amount of storage you need and the number of employees you have. 

The main benefit of Google Drive and their Gsuite of software is creating and storing files. 

Google Drive is also a bit cheaper than Dropbox when comparing storage space. 

Cons of Google Drive

Google Drive can’t upload more than 5TB in a day, but you probably won’t use that much if you are a smaller firm. 

Another big concern is security, as some think that Google Drive isn’t as secure as other cloud storage solutions. 

Pricing

Google Drive Pricing

You can use Drive for free for up to 50GB and then it ranges from $19.99/year for 100GB all the way to $249.99/year for 5TB.

14 - Dropbox

Dropbox was a pioneer in the cloud storage space. 

Many architects use Dropbox to organize internal files and share them externally to Google Drive. 

Dropbox Screenshot

Pros of Dropbox 

Dropbox syncs files faster, which can be a plus.

They also have an unlimited storage plan, so it’s perfect for large files like Revit models and renderings.

With their desktop sync ability, you can offload the storage space to the cloud whenever you don’t need to work on the file.

Cons of Dropbox

Unlike Google Drive, you can’t create and store documents in the same space. 

Pricing

Dropbox Business Pricing

Dropbox Business starts at $16.58/month for individuals.

For teams, it starts at $12.50/user/month and goes up to $20/user/month for unlimited storage.

3 Communication Software

‍With so many people working remotely, improving collaboration becomes the top reason why firms are using communication software.

70% of architecture firms use a live communication platform such as Slack, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams (AIA Tech Culture Report 2021).

70% of architecture firms use a live communication platform (AIA Tech Culture Report 2021)

If you are investing in a specific ecosystem like Microsoft Office or Google Suite, then our recommendation is to go all-in and adopt their team communication tools as well.

So everything is in one place.

However, if you want to mix and match to get the best of all worlds, we would recommend Slack as it has the most integrations and features to date. 

“Love how slack can cultivate a culture in your company. Teams seem less intuitive for use. Google chat is the most casual for me.”

- Silvia Lee, AIA, Architect and Community Manager at Monograph

Here are our top 3 communication software tools:

15 - Google Chat

Because we used the Google Suite of products, we also used Google Chat for our internal communications.

Screenshot of Google Chat

It’s similar to Slack but comes with an already paid suite of Google products. 

So we figured we would give it a shot. 

Pros of Google Chat

Google Chat worked well for our needs and helped with office and project communication. 

It has channels for specific topics or projects and offers most of the features that Slack offers. 

Cons of Google Chat

While we liked Google Chat, I think we are the only firm I know that uses it. 

As I talked to other architect friends, no one was familiar with it as an option, and almost everyone used Slack within their offices. 

Other than its compatibility with other Google software, Google Chat does not have many integrations.

Pricing

Google Chat is free if you are a Google Workspace user. 

16 - Slack

Slack is the dominant force in this space, and for those reasons alone, you may want to adopt it.

Screenshot of Slack

When you’re working remotely, what communication tool you use can break or make your culture. 

We love Slack here at Monograph and use it daily to communicate with everyone as we work fully remote.

Pros of Slack

If you already use Slack to communicate within other organizations or friend groups, it is probably worth sticking with that since it is already part of your habits and routines. 

As the industry standard, Slack has many integrations, bots, and other features to improve or add new capabilities to its software. 

Cons of Slack

The real downside of Slack is the free version.  

It has limitations like limiting the total number of posts before they are deleted,  deleting older posts and storage space.

Pricing

Slack Pricing

You can use Slack for free if you don’t care about losing some of your older messages.

The paid version costs $6.67 per user per month, billed annually. 

17 - Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams will appeal to those who have already invested in a 365 subscription or are ingrained in the Microsoft ecosystem. 

Screenshot of Microsoft Teams

Its features are comparable to Slack (or Chat), although their video conferencing is more robust.

“I used Teams in my previous firm. It actually has a lot of great features for project teams, but it was hard to move people from emails to a communication platform. Most architects are still used to sending 1-sentence emails.”

- Joann Lui, AIA, Architect and Product Marketing Manager at Monograph

Pros of Teams

‍It’s an excellent option for those who are using MS Office and need a video conferencing tool. 

Cons of Teams

Teams can be a little buggy compared with other solutions on the market, although its features compare favorably to Slack and Google chat. 

Pricing

Microsoft Teams Pricing

Teams is included in the Microsoft 365 plan for $5 per user per month. There is a free version available. 

3 Image Editing Software

‍You will need at least a basic editing software solution at your firm. 

We recommend Adobe Creative Suite as we find Photoshop to be the most in-depth option. 

Access to Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat Pro, and other software are huge benefits worth the price.

Affinity Photo probably does most of what you need for in-house photo editing if cost is a big concern. 

Let’s look at our top 3 picks.

18 - Adobe Photoshop

There isn’t a great alternative here, which unfortunately keeps us stuck in the Adobe ecosystem. 

Photoshop is by far the most common program for photo editing globally and an architect's office staple.

Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop
“Photoshop cause it’s so good and robust. Great for post-rendering.”

- Daniel Nguyen, Design Engineer at Monograph

Pros of Photoshop

Despite the relatively high cost, investing in the Creative Cloud and accessing Photoshop, Illustrator, and Indesign has been imperative for our office’s workflow.

We invested in 1 license primarily because we usually only had one person using the software at any one time. 

If you have a larger team, full-time renderers, or marketing staff, you need additional licenses. 

Cons of Photoshop

The biggest downside is the cost, and there is quite a steep learning curve. However, the benefits outweigh these costs reasonably quickly. 

Pricing

Adobe Photoshop Pricing

You can subscribe to Photoshop and Lightroom for $9.99 per month or get the full Creative Cloud subscription for $52.99/month.

19 - Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo is a raster graphics editor developed along with Affinity Designer and Affinity Publisher as a competitor to Photoshop.

Screenshot of Affinity Photo

Pros of Affinity Photo

As a competitor to Photoshop, Affinity Photo’s most significant selling point is the price — you only pay a single payment. 

A bargain compared to the monthly subscription for Creative Cloud or even standalone Photoshop.

It has the most standard Photoshop features, and I know a few architectural firms that use it as a replacement.

For the vast majority who only need simple image editing, it can probably do the job.

Cons of Affinity Photo 

If you do a lot of renderings in-house and edit those images intensively, you may miss some of the features that Photoshop offers. 

It could be an excellent place to start for a new firm or small office with a tight budget. 

Pricing

Affinity Photo Pricing

You can purchase Affinity Photo for $54.99.

20 - GIMP

GIMP is a free, open-source software option competing in the image editing space.

Screenshot of GIMP

Pros of GIMP

Although free of charge, GIMP still provides all the essential editing features and tools, and it’s easy to learn. 

Another free option is Google Photos - it does simple photo editing like cropping, adjusting exposure and colors, and other minor adjustments to photography. 

It does a decent job at these basic things but doesn’t have anywhere near the features or capabilities of Photoshop, and I can’t recommend it as a replacement.

Cons of GIMP

Like with any free tool, you shouldn’t expect a lot of support from GIMP. 

Some of the tools are not very precise, and cropping can be a challenge. Download time is also prolonged.

Pricing

You can use GIMP for free.

3 Website Software

‍If you are not a web designer, Squarespace and Wix are recommended to build your company website. 

They both have user-friendly interfaces that allow you to create a beautiful website without knowledge of HTML or coding. 

These website software programs offer a range of great templates to start from, and they are easy to edit and add pages as needed. They also:

  • Make it easy to process and adjust images
  • Handle all the back of house security
  • Make dynamic adjustments, and
  • Much more!

Let’s look at your options.

21  - Squarespace

We used Squarespace for our site to find a template we liked and felt the interface was easy to modify to fit our needs.

You can also change the template in the future, and most of your content will seamlessly adjust—this can't be done on Wix as it doesn’t allow you to change a template for an existing site.

Screenshot of Squarespace
“I appreciate Squarespace templates and how you can swap the look of your website easily between them. I have not found Wix to be as easy to change the look of the website. Wix and Squarespace are probably easier for beginners than Webflow.”

- Silvia Lee, AIA, Architect and Community Manager at Monograph

Pros of Squarespace 

Squarespace websites look beautiful and have effective marketing and SEO integration. 

The sites are also mobile responsive, which is a bonus. 

Cons of Squarespace

Version switching can be a little difficult, and navigation for editing isn’t straightforward.

There are limitations on how much you can customize on Squarespace, but most of the design styles provided in their templates should be enough for an architecture firm website.

Pricing

Squarespace Pricing

Squarespace starts at $18 per month. 

22 - Wix

Wix allows users to create drag and drop HTML5 websites and mobile sites.

Screenshot of Wix

Pros of Wix

Wix is a more widely used platform, and thus they offer more plugins and other features that work on their platform. 

That is an advantage over Squarespace. 

Cons of Wix

The drawback of Wix is not being able to change your template in the future. 

This is significant if you ever want to change the look of your website. 

You would have to build it up from scratch. 

Pricing

Wix Pricing

Wix starts at $14 per month and goes up to $39 per month for a business VIP plan. 

23 - Webflow

Webflow is rapidly growing as a no-code website builder that can be infinitely adjustable and can do almost anything.

Screenshot of Webflow

Webflow is Monograph’s choice of website builders. We use it to build our Monograph.com website as well as the Section Cut website.

Screenshot of Section Cut Website
“Webflow all day every day. Much more control over the website. There is a learning curve but in the long run so much easier for hand-off.”

- Daniel Nguyen, Design Engineer at Monograph

Pros of Webflow

Webflow is one of the top website builders globally, and more and more designers are using this platform to create interactive websites without having to rely on developers to code.

Cons of Webflow

On the downside, Webflow has a steeper learning curve than other template-based sites like Squarespace and Wix.

If you are a larger company or a design firm that wants a unique presence on the internet, this might be the better choice.

If you hire someone to build you a custom website, we recommend Webflow.

Pricing

Webflow Pricing

The Basic plan for Webflow starts at $12/month and goes up to $36/month for the Business plan.

3 Best Time Tracking Software‍ for Architects

There are a seemingly infinite number of time-tracking software options. 

It is hard to narrow it down to just a few choices. 

We selected these options based on their integration with other popular software, features and services, and ease of use.

You may also want to consider project management software with time tracking capabilities.


24 - Monograph

Monograph is a robust offering beyond simple time-tracking. 

It offers a full suite of project and firm management services within its platform. 

It also integrates with Quickbooks Online for accounting purposes.

Screenshot of Monograph Time Trackin
“Everyone realistically hates timesheets—but it helps the team to know where to put their time in, so that they can each keep track of their work. It’s really a step above a simple spreadsheet, as Monograph harnesses the data to give you some straightforward intelligence about a project.”

- William Itzen, Principal, Itzen Architecture

Pros of Monograph

The real power is how time-tracking integrates with:

  • Project schedules 
  • Fee tracking, milestones 
  • Task scheduling
  • And reporting functions 

It is nicely designed, simple to set up and use, and offers a lot of value above and beyond just understanding how you spend your time. 

We chose to go with Monograph time-tracking and project management software.

It is a bit more expensive than the other options but does a heck of a lot more and is a valuable tool for any architecture firm. 

Cons of Monograph

One thing to consider is whether your bookkeeping software offers time-tracking. Freshbooks has integrated time-tracking, which might make that a good fit to cover both accounting and timesheets. 

Pricing

Monograph costs $45 per user per month.

✅ Give your team the easy-to-use Time Tracking tool with Monograph - Start a free trial today

25 - Harvest

Harvest is a web-based time tracking tool commonly used by architecture firms.

Screenshot of harvest

Pros of Harvest

Harvest is an excellent tool to monitor your team and their capacity. 

You can also use your billable and non-billable breakdowns to determine whether everyone is spending their time on the right things.

Cons of Harvest

On the downside, there’s often a disconnect between the mobile and web app, which can be inconvenient. 

If timers are accidentally left on, there is no notification, which can throw employees off. 

Customer support is via appointment only. 

Pricing

Harvest pricing

You can use Harvest for free for up to 1 seat and 2 projects.

Its paid plan starts at $12 per seat per month. 

26 - Quickbooks Time (TSheets)

TSheets, now called Quickbooks Time, is a web-based time tracking and scheduling app that runs in either a web browser or mobile phone.

It’s now a time tracking feature included in Quickbooks Online.

Screenshot of Quickbooks Time

Pros of Quickbooks Time

Both Quickbooks Time and Harvest are widely used options with apps and integrations to Quickbooks Online. 

Quickbooks Time claims to have more features than Harvest but both these tools will work well in a small architectural firm. 

Cons of Quickbooks Time

The biggest downside of Quickbooks Time is the cost. 

Users also complain that the reports are complicated and that there are numerous mobile app bugs.

Pricing

Quickbooks Time Pricing

Quickbooks Time alone starts at $20 per month and goes up to $40 per month for their Elite plan.

So if you already use Quickbook Online, this is a good option to track your time.

Software Package Recommendations

With all the software options out there, the right software can be difficult and time-consuming to research and put together a package that will best fit your firm. 

Based on our research and testing at our firm, below is what we would recommend for a startup vs. an established firm. 

The goal was to balance annual costs with the functions you need to keep the company productive and profitable. 

Startup Firm - 1-2 people

Best Architecture Software for Startup Firms

Established Firm - 3+ people

Best Architecture Software for Established Firms

Considerations for Buying Architecture Software

The other thing to consider is that you could start a firm and grow slowly. 

You probably won’t need all of the right software up fronts. 

For instance, you could probably start a firm with just Revit LT, a Gmail address, and use a spreadsheet to track expenses and issue invoices. 

Then you can purchase other software as the need arises. 

With monthly subscriptions, you could probably get by for as little as $60/month (the monthly cost of Revit LT). 

Although there are savings by purchasing annual subscriptions to most software, you also could take advantage of monthly subscriptions and start and stop payments as needed. 

If you aren’t going to be doing renderings next month, do you need to pay for Photoshop/Adobe Creative Suite?

✅ Need help figuring out which project management software to invest in? Speak to a Monograph expert today.

What’s Your Favorite Architecture Software?

Of course, there is no perfect software for all users. 

Each person has experience with different programs or works on project types that might necessitate one set of tools over another. 

Our firm mostly worked on single-family residential, small multi-family projects (2-10 units), and tenant improvement projects. 

The software I recommended worked for the projects we did and the size of the firm we were. 

That doesn’t mean it was the ideal setup if we grew in size or started to take on larger projects and had additional revenue. 

We also were constantly balancing our immediate needs vs. future goals and trying to adopt software that would serve us for many years with the intent of cutting down on training needed if we switched software.

Let us know in the comment below…

What’s your favorite architecture software?

Which architecture software in this list will you try next?

About the Author
Lucas Gray Photo

Lucas Gray is a Senior Account Manager and Business Development Manager at Charrette Venture Group where he helps architects run better business. Lucas has over 17 years experience practicing architecture around the world, including running a small firm in Portland, Oregon. He also writes the newsletter A Better Built Environment and curates the blog at EntreArchitect. Lucas is passionate about making the profession of architecture more successful and making the built environment more sustainable and people-focused.

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