How Architects and Non-Architects Alike Can Profit by Owning and Selling House Plans Online
Whilst some might see selling house plans online as merely a sideline business, it's actually an appealing investment prospect for both architects and non-architects.
Yet the fact that the house plan must be designed by an architect does not preclude a non-architect from buying ownership and copyrights of a house plan.
Online house plans are not cheap. The majority of them sell for over $1000 per set. Ownership of a popular house plan could easily yield a five figure income online ($10,000+ per year).
For many people, the large price tag of one plan would be much more appealing than getting involved with selling a low dollar, low margin product online that requires a tremendous volume of sales. You have to sell a lot of iPhone chargers or Pez dispensers at your website or through Amazon or eBay in order to yield the profit of selling just one house plan.
Some Architects Go Bananas Over Online House Plans
There is a great Reddit thread where an architect asks other architects about how to go about supplementing his income by selling plans online, and other architects act like he is a complete sell-out who is selling his soul to the dark-side.
They compare it to a doctor putting a prescription form online for anyone to click and prescribe themselves painkillers, etc.
Others act like designing a house is comparable to complex surgery and this act is a total dereliction of duty as an architect.
They are mortified that the customer’s location is not considered when selling the plans (climate, the lay of the land, etc.).
Some voices contribute more sensible insights, acknowledging that digital technology is transforming architecture. They appreciate, too, that not each suburban house necessitates a bespoke design of the calibre of A.M. Pelli.
A Popular House Plan is Very Valuable
As an alternative, you could establish a rudimentary Shopify or Woocommerce website to market your plans directly. However, remember that vying for attention in the search engines against larger, established websites might be challenging. You may consider tactics such as SEO optimisation and focused advertising to boost your site's ranking.
Either way, while some sell for $300 or less, the vast majority sell for much higher numbers. Even giving up a large 30-50% commission to the Home Plan website, it is not difficult to envision selling 20-30 plans per yer and generating $10,000 or more of profit.
Finally, even if you sell your plans online at House Plan websites and at your own niche website, you can group them into a specific niche like modern farmhouses, for instance, then sell photos and plans as a book at Amazon. This is meant to be a teaser where interested parties are directed to your website to purchase the full set of plans.
The Benefit of House Plan Customisation Options
For architects, customisation opens up additional revenue opportunities. By providing bespoke modifications to cater to individual preferences, architects can enhance the value of their basic plans and adjust their rates accordingly.
For a non-architect that owned the rights to a house plan, this could result in potentially additional income by referring all customization requests to a licensed architect.
If it becomes apparent that everyone is requesting similar changes such as converting a loft into a bedroom or adding a bathroom, it might make sense to have an architect draft a change while maintaining your rights to the plan, then list the new plan in the online marketplace.
The Critical Role of High-quality Images in Marketing House Plans
You don’t have to build a house with the plan to get great imagery that will help sell it. Graphic designers can take a building plan and turn it into a realistic image.
Quite a few online sellers lose potential sales owing to subpar images or renderings. Rather than using outdated or unrealistic images, it's worthwhile to invest in professional 3D renderings that convincingly depict the final outcome of the building plan.
Enticing images that showcase a variety of textures, environments and hues can capture attention. In the digital age, it's relatively straightforward and affordable to find a graphic designer on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr to produce quality renderings.