I have been workining with CAD for over 18 years know. I've had my share of
being laid off and also having to change disciplines to survive. I know work
for a small company that urges me to take of side work and even use their
equipment. I am doing Construction Cost Estimating and some drawing for a
Tile and Stone contractor. I'm on salary now something i'm not quit use too.
I have Mechanical, Instrument & Electrical, Civil/Structural, Mapping and
Architectural experience as a designer/draftsman using Microstation,
Autocad, Solidworks, PDS, etc.
What is the best way to start a freelance cad service? I have a good idea
how to start, but don't want to get in over my head. I would appreciate any
GO to your local Board of Education and see if they might need their
old school building transferred to CAD. Many Schools are doing KET
computer upgrades and can save money by paying someone other than the
engineer to draw them.
Once your foot is in the door, stay in contact. More jobs should
I have been a freelance CAD 'contractor' for the same length of time, and
ALL my work has been through agencies - I have never had to cold-call or
anything like that!
Just register with a technical recruitment agency, and they will supply you
to their clients. Some contracts I have had have been for a few weeks,
others have lasted years. It keeps you up-to-date with CAD, office
practices, and engineering developments - it is varied and it has built-in
networking/schmoosing. You make a name for yourself and then clients want
to back (so ask the agent for you by name), your CV looks impressive and you
become more of an asset than 'just doing CAD' - you can offer much more for
companies open and willing enough to adapt to stay ahead.
Register with employment agencies as per advice later in this thread.
Please don't be offended; you are obviously a smart & CAD-skilled person
but so many errors in applications/ letters/ etc. can give a negative 'first
impression' which is not what you'd want for a prospective client!
So, running a spell checker would be advisable- its amazing how few people
seem to think it necessary.
I can only tell you what worked for me. I first started with a website
www.exellite.co.uk which is ok, but because I have a selection of about 3
regular customers I still haven't updated and advertised it since my
business started 5 years ago. When looking for clients, I started by surfing
the net for Building and Land surveyors (your choice of companies will
probably be different). I then sent e-mails to all these companies (the
reason why I sent e-mails and not letters is you will be surprised at the
amount of replies I got, almost all the companies I e-mailed got back to me,
I think that number would have been vastly reduced if I used snail mail), I
offered a free day in which I would spend a set amount of hours working on a
project they have already done (this is important, its good for them to
compare with their version), then along with the finished drawings let them
know how much it would have cost them, speed is almost as important as
accuracy, if you have 18 years experience then I assume you are pretty quick
anyway. If they are impressed then you could have gained a regular client
without even leaving your house :-) If you are good at cad and the 3d aspect
of cad, then when your business is up and running learn something like 3d
max, it's not that much of a stretch for us autocad users and you will earn
you a shit load of cash if you get good at it.
Hope this helps
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