Freelance AutoCAD – WhereTo Find Work
Last week we looked at the advantages and disadvantages of freelance AutoCAD work. This week, we take this to the next level, and look at how and where you can find work.
This article assumes that you have already made the choice to take the plunge and become a Freelance AutoCAD technician.
This is a big step and should not be taken lightly, you need to remember, you will be working for yourself and sometimes by yourself. You will need to have the drive, determination, and discipline to work for yourself, and potentially at home. There are many different ways in which you can find or look for extra work as a freelance AutoCAD Technician; I am going to look at the ways which have worked the best for me.
Before you plunge straight into searching online and off, it can be a good idea to quickly brainstorm areas, companies or disciplines you may be able to work within.
I have compiled a quick list off of the top of my head; these are sectors which you could look for freelance AutoCAD work.
10 areas which require AutoCAD Services.
- Building Services
- Inventing / Product design
- Interior Design
- Railway Networks
- Automotive engineering
- Model engineering hobbyists
- Civil engineering
- Structural engineering
Above is just a quick list I threw together to give you an outline in the sectors which need some form of AutoCAD input. Now there are literally hundreds of sectors so I encourage you to add and expand the list above.
Now, if you think about the possibilities of each sector and you then can quickly realise just how big your potential market can be – you shouldn’t struggle for Freelance autoCAD work once you’ve explored this article.
1 – Direct mail, or mail shot.
I am going to concentrate on Building Services, as this is my most experienced sector, coming from a building services background!
When I started my business, the first sector I looked at for potential work was of course building services. I had spent the past 5 years of my life training with a multi-national consultant. So my most obvious area to look for contracts was building service consultancies.
I then brainstormed a list of the large multi-national consultancies and within a few minutes I had over 50 companies within the southwest of England.
The next obvious area to look at is local smaller practices; this was useful as now I had a list of nearly 80 companies. I could now send a letter, or email or a phone call to all of the companies on my contact list.
Send a standard letter asking them directly if they had any spare work, or were in need of a freelance autoCAD technician. If I knew their CAD Manager I would address it to them personally, if not Address, FAO Drawing Office Manager. Simply ask them politely if they would consider using your services in the future. Explain your background, and experience, almost write a CV in a letter. Freelance AutoCAD technicians can not only help step in when times are busy, but can also help for the more mundane tasks – its all income!
After all if you don’t ask, you won’t get! So you will need to be assertive.
I have decided to place this way at the top of my list, as it has proved to be a very good way of gaining exposure to the local market.
I regularly have enquiries from about 5% of my contact list, which while this may not sound like a lot, when you think, after researching several times over, and adding to my list I now has over 300 companies on my contact list. A lot of my earnings are directly linked to this method.
2 – Talk to Recruitment Agencies
You should try to keep in contact with recruitment consultants, and I would recommend being on at least 3 agencies books. I personally am on Anders Elite, ITS Recruitment and G2 Recruitment, I try to speak to them monthly, and they do provide me with a fair amount of opportunities. I would recommend you set a reasonable hourly rate and stick to that between all three agencies.
Love them or hate them but recruitment consultants are a very good route to gaining freelance AutoCAD work.
The reason I recommend you go with three agencies is that you then spread your chances of gaining employment, but also you can stay in touch personally with your agent at each branch, and create a good working relationship with them. The more friendly and personal you are with them, the more they will want to help you.
Below is a list of recruitment agencies for your reference.
- Anders Elite
- Apex Engineering Solutions Ltd
- Henry Recruitment
- ITS Recruitment
- Matchtech Recruitment
- NES UK
- XSCAD Recruitment
3 – Website
One of the big areas that I have spent a lot of my time on is a website. I would highly recommend you set up a simple website; this can then be a point of reference to enable people to contact you. You can also promote yourself through your website. Many people weather you meet them personally or you have contacted via the 2 methods above will want to know about you, and your company and one of the best ways to do this is through a website.
This is an opportunity to show your previous projects off, tell the world about your freelance AutoCAD business and allow visitors to contact you quickly.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of websites, books and videos on the internet which will talk you through website creation, and it’s something that I would like to do a piece on later on. I would recommend though that you at least make a simple page to act like an online CV.
I recommend buying a website reference book which should help you through building the website;
I have personally used Creating Web Sites Bible (Bible Wiley) I highly recommend this, as it talks you through every aspect of website creation.
4 – Job websites
One way I have found to be fairly successful has been using recruitment job websites places like monster, fish4 totaljobs and Jobsite.
One advantage to using these sites is the ability to upload your CV for free; recruitment consultants can then contact you with jobs which may interest you.
I however tend to use these sites as a place to find out which companies are recruiting, this is a sign they are over-stretched or expanding and therefore a good candidate to contact with your standard letter! – Freelance AutoCAD technicians are often cheaper than recruiting a contract member of staff – so give them a call on the off chance!
These sites are a very good way of finding short to medium term contract work, and most definitely deserve their place in finding freelance AutoCAD work.
5 – Freelance websites
This is the last avenue for finding small scale contracts, but your clients are after freelance autoCAD technicians so it is worth exploring. The two websites which I would recommended are Elance & Freelancer
How they work – You need to sign up to them, and fill in all the details they require. Now you can start to search for one off projects which employers (generally – inventors & small companies) have posted. There can be literally anything on there, I have had gained work from inventors looking for plans / design drawings to small interior companies with no means of producing AutoCAD drawings.
Generally you bid for projects, and if successful you will need to pay a commission to the freelance website.
I have found these to be an ok source of income, but it can be quite a cut-throat market, and I refuse to win work under my normal rates, so I haven’t been quite as successful on these websites, but they can provide a few decent projects a year.
This wraps up this article, I hope you have found it interesting, and here should be a few decent links in here to help you develop your freelance AutoCAD career.
Please contact me if you wish to suggest any further articles