Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Cad software maitenence fees?

Hi, am wodering if anyone has any feed back on the fees associated
with owning cad software. I bought a software package a year three
months ago for $6000 and have been using it regularly. From time to
time the company sends a patch or has you download a new version to
repair glitches discovered in the software. I just recieved a bill
for maitinence for the second year of use (apparently the first years
free…) for $1700 ! I was shocked thinking over 25% of the original
cost as a yearly maitinence fee is excessive, but not sure if this is
"standard" with cad software. Any feed back will be appreciated.



What software do you have and what do you use it for??? There are
better priced and ways of getting deals…legally.


look into FORMZ it is a general purpose modeling software with no
license fee $1950.00 for the deluxe version


What software do you have and what do you use it for??? There are
better priced and ways of getting deals…legally.

It’s monarch. Overwritten on VX specific to cad design for jewelery.
I’ve no problem with the software, using it or their support. I just
thought $1700 a year almost 30% of the original cost steep. Mind you,
this is for keeping their software running smoothly. When they find
bugs which do come up from time to time they “fix” it some how (i’m
not a computer person) and send you the fix. This fee has nothing to
do with continuing education which they offer for $$$ which I
understand and have not used. Some one told me gemvision get about
$1000 and the original cost is $10000. I don’t know if these numbers
are acurate I guess I’m just feeling gaffed as I didn’t catch this
detail in their original contract. I’ve tried googling this info with
no luck as I’d like to see where this fee falls compared to all the
other jewelry cad product available. Not that they’ll change
anything, but i might be encouraged to jump ship to a different
product and sart over.

Since the market for CAD software and especially jewelry specific CAD
software is so very small, the companies developing them use the fees
to increase their revenue and pay for continuing development and day
to day costs. It’s a common practice in these small software markets.
Not that it still doesn’t still hurt for those of us who have to pay
them. I’m surprised Monarch wasn’t a bit more clear on it with you on
it when laying out the pricing.

There seems to be 2 main ways CAD companies go about it:

One is to charge, or attempt to charge an annual maintenance fee, in
which case you will receive any minor upgrades with bug fixes and the
like as well as any major upgrades as they come out every year or
two. You also get tech support with this, although not personalized
training. In this case, the fee is generally 15 - 25% of the purchase
price per year. It’s up to you to decide if the fee is worth it to
you, you always have the option of not paying it. You won’t receive
the services listed above and you’ll probably have to pay a premium
if you want to opt back in at a later date, but you could skip a
couple of years if you chose to.

The other way is to have no annual fee, but charge for major
upgrades when they come out. The upgrade fee tends to be higher,
around 30% or more, and you tend not to get any support from the
company. Obviously, you don’t have to pay for an upgrade if you
don’t think it’s worth it and wait for the next one.

Some companies actually do both, with a lower annual fee and then
pay for the upgrades sort of deal.


Hi Guys,

Um? I don’t know where to start with this Monarch program.

Your saying this place charges you $1700 a year to fix problems (or
bugs) it has with its own software?

How many other companies charge you for their own mistakes??

If i could take a jewellers perspective on this, say you sell a ring
to a client and he/she wears it for a year and it needs to be
repaired in some way (say a solder join is pulling apart) so you
implement an annual 30% service charge on the ring to cover any
faults or mistakes you have made on this ring, does this sound fair
to the client?

I personally use Jewelcad and Rhino’s basic package and I am self
taught in these two programs (granted it was about a year before i
could really use these programs well). All the Rhino based Builders
out there like (Gemvision, Rhino gold and techgems) work very well
but you are very restricted you can only seem to build what they want
you to build.

I personally would recommend Rhino for precision, and if you need a
renderer for nice pictures or animations for the client Flamingo or
Raytracer. Or Jewelcad for speed this has its own renderer.

All the updates for these programs are free and there is hidden
fees. And these two programs have been around for a long time.

Or just enjoy the ride you are being taken on :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Brad Bird

It’s a pity you don’t seem to have the purchace agreement. Perhaps
they will forward you a copy?

Meanwhile another tack is to ask for a break-down of the 1700 costs,
or study their invoices, and respectfully decline to pay for

You might be able to tell whether the patches issued were for
bug-fixes by looking at the application version numbers. Some
companies use a rule such as: bug-fix patches are free and the
version number will be an increment of the decimal numbers, not the
major version number. eg. version 3.1 is a bug-fix patch of v3.0

Chargeable upgrade patches change the main version number. eg. v4.0
is a chargeable upgrade over version 3.xx


Thanx for the explanation. I guess I was comparing to my quickbooks
or photoshop. They work and I only purchase the upgarade when I deem
it neccessary. Their 30% of the original cost to keep the original
working glitch free still seems like extortion…

Reading this post makes me really glad I went with Rhino. It’s
affordable to begin with, even if you include traveling to take a
class. They email fixes and upgrades for free, have a great support
group, tech support always available, and you have the system which
offers the most precision.

It would be cheaper for you to start all over again with Rhino now,
than to continue on this course.

Yes I agree that you’re being gaffed.

formz is priced at $1729 for the deluxe renderzone package go to you buy it its yours forever no renewable licence
accepts over 30 different file types you can load it onto as many
computers as you want it does EVERYTHING you can make the jewelry fly
around the screen or do a tap dance, literally, if you want it to
with this program check it out -


This is not an unusual business model for non consumer type
software. It is most often in high end software CAD, FEA, scientific
applications and commercial databases. It is unusual to see it for a
package that is at the lower cost end of the spectrum like your CAD
package. But it is a perfectly reasonable business model if you have
a small user base and a ongoing development requirements. You have to
pay for those programmers hours somehow and if you are not selling
thousands of packages a software maintenance agreement is a typical
way to have an income stream. The problem with Monarch’s
implementation of this is there are competing packages in the
jewelry CAD market that don’t do this for equal or less money for the
initial purchase. But think about this, if it truly is better than
the other software in this market you surely can afford to pay the
maintenance agreement to keep this tool up to date. This is their
premiss. The question is whether or not Monarch is that good.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts



Just thought I would throw my 2 cents in, even if it is pretty late.
I have been a software developer for almost 30 years, so I can
guarantee that the following advice is worth every penny!

The CAD software you are using is a vertical market product, which
means that everything about it is very expensive. It costs the same,
or often more, to develop vertical market software as mass market
software, but there are only a limited number of customers from whom
to realize a profit. If the company is actively developing new
features, then the costs to the vendor continue unabated, even though
most of the people who may buy their software have already done so.
Thus, maintenance fees to the rescue!

As a customer, you have bought a CAD program that works. It almost
certainly has a few bugs, but you are extremely unlikely to
encounter one, since you do not mention having a lot of trouble with
that sort of thing already. If you choose not to pay next year’s
maintenance fee, the program will continue working as it always has,
but you will simply not receive any more program updates. Unlike a
car that will stop running if you don’t change the oil once in a
while, the software will continue to operate indefinitely without any
maintenance at all.

To decide whether to pay the maintenance fee, you need to ask
yourself, “Am I happy with the program the way it is? Do I want new
features? Does the program already do everything I need? Have I
noticed buggy behavior from the program in the past?”

If the answers are “Yes, no, yes, and no,” in that order, you can
safely decline to pay the maintenance fee, and you can continue to
legally use the program as long as it serves your needs.

Best regards,
Gems Evermore

Hi Scott,

Not that they'll change anything, but I might be encouraged to
jump ship to a different product and start over. 

Understandable that you find it unfair to be expected to pay a
heretofore undisclosed yearly maintenance fee for bug fixes on top
of a hefty initial price tag…especially when many established
competitors in the jewelry CAD/CAM field are very responsive to
their customers needs and often offer free bug fixes as well as
small incremental improvements based on the customer’s feedback. By
doing so, they’ve smartly acknowledged that the customer is
contributing to the development of the program by reporting errors
and and making suggestions for improvements. So to the favor, the
developers provide free updates. This business model may seem more
equitable in the customers mind. Free bug fixes and small
instill a sense that the developer is standing behind their product
by delivering what was initially promised at the price that was
advertised. Then when a new version of the program with major
changes that include new features is offered, the customer is less
inclined to bristle at the thought of an upgrade fee, because it’s
seen as a choice to buy a product that has more value than what was
originally offered. The old version of the program may not have the
latest bells and whistles and new features, but in the end, it’s
stable and delivers as initially promised.

If as part of your initial purchase, you own a copy of the
underlying VX software, you might consider learning to work straight
in VX.

Jesse Kaufman