Freelance CAD drafting advise

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 constructive advice. Thanks, ~JNJ~
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go door to door at small engineering or architectural offices & ask them if they sub out drafting & see if they will give you a shot when they get busy.
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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 follow.
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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.
Good luck!
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Hi JNJ, 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. HTH
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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
Mark

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