Freelance Autocad – How To Find Work
In these tough times of economic unrest should we be thinking about a more permanent job solution?
A few years a go job prospects, certainly within the building services industry here in the UK were very different. There were plenty of opportunities for the freelance autocad technician to pick and choose where he/she wanted to work. However, the outlook now is a very bleak and uncertain one.
Several of my friends and colleagues have been made redundant and are not only considering, finding permanent employment and are discovering just how tough Freelance work can be.
In this article I will be discussing the advantages and disadvantages of becoming a freelance AutoCAD Technician. These factors however can be used within a broad spectrum of jobs and can be applied to many freelance positions.
The reasons stated here are my own opinion, based on several years of working as both a freelance AutoCAD Technician and being in permanent employment.
So what are the pro’s and con’s of freelance AutoCAD work?
Freedom of job choice – As you build up your knowledge and drafting skills you can diversify meaning you can work many different sectors, meaning you could work for a world class architectural studio one week and the next for a motor manufacturer the next. By broadening your portfolio of work, means you have access to a lot more jobs.
It has taken me a while to discover this, and it was only until I decided to set up my company that I realised the power of diversification. Now I am employed to work with inventors, manufacturers, architects, consultant’s, even hobbyists! Most sectors need some form of Computer Aided Design, and the more you can diversify the more earning potential you will have!
Networking – Even though you probably won’t see it like this, but freelancing you will inevitably build a large list of contacts. It is important to keep this list, and update it with everyone you meet through places of employment. By using these contacts you may be able to bring in extra work on top of your current term of employment. Many people within the engineering industry “moonlight” this is effectively working for themselves in the evening or weekends. Not all engineers can use CAD, so if you can get one or two contacts that have regular work, you can boost your income.
Another good use of your contact list – Job opportunities – if you can make an impression with a company, they will keep asking you back. So in periods of unemployment, contacting the CAD managers within your contact list can land you that job to tide you over. I would recommend using a “live” computer based contact list, by either using Microsoft outlook, or excel or Access to create a database of contacts.
Higher Pay – As with anything in life, higher risk equals higher reward. Therefore as there will be periods of no payment, you can demand a higher salary. However you do need to bear in mind that holidays will not be paid for so you will need to factor this into your hourly rate. You will also have to factor in sick days as you will not be paid during these periods. However this does mean you can demand a higher an hourly rate. Potential prospect of a permanent employment role – During the term of your employment as a contract or freelance AutoCAD technician, you will sometimes find that companies are so impressed with you that they will offer you a full term permanent contract. This will give you a bit more leverage in the contract negotiation phase, as you will be able to demand a slightly higher salary than normal, as they want you.
So how do you calculate your hourly rate?
To most freelance AutoCAD technicians this may not seem obvious. In order to calculate my hourly rate when I first started I went online a found lots of different resources. the one that I found the most useful and easy to read was this article explaining how to calculate your hourly rate.
Freedom of Holiday’s – Because you are working effectively for yourself, you can take your holiday whenever you wish. The downfall of this though, you won’t be paid for this time off!
Personal Development – By being employed in different places you will learn many new tricks, tips and ways of producing drawings.
Job Stability – As we have discussed, many people in these times of economic unrest have lost their jobs. Therefore freelance AutoCAD workers are the easiest and quickest staff to make redundant. This is the most concerning disadvantage for most people.
Menial Jobs – Most of the time, companies need freelance AutoCAD Technicians to get the more intense, menial jobs out of the door and issued. After all why would the CAD manager give the fun jobs to you when you could be gone next week, and it frees him up to do the fun jobs!
No employment benefits – Paid holiday, Health Care, Company Cars are all benefits you will not receive any benefits by being freelance. So if these are important to you freelance work may not be for you.
Public Holidays – Most people wait for public holidays, bank holidays and long weekends are always a welcome treat, however for the freelancer they are unpaid holidays! So you will need to take this into account when setting your hourly rate!
Tax & National Insurance – Unless you work for a recruitment agency you will need to make your own national insurance and tax payments. This isn’t too difficult although it is daunting at first, but again you will need to build this into your hourly rate. Within the UK the Revenues and Customs website is very helpful for any budding freelance AutoCAD technicians who need help in filling in a tax return.
The above article lays out just a few pro’s and con’s for the consideration of becoming a freelance cad technician, however I do urge you to seriously think carefully about it. The rewards can be good from flexible working to higher pay, and if you can specialise in say 3D modelling or MEP drawing then it can be very lucrative with lots of employment opportunities.
Next week we’ll look at how you can find employment as a freelance Autocad technician.