Freelance CAD Jobs: What to Expect

Freelance CAD jobs are among the most fascinating, as well as the most technical of all types of freelance work. This industry has boomed in the employment market, and professional freelance CAD people are much in demand. Many freelance CAD designers in particular prefer the freedom of the freelance work to working in organizations, because they can do more creative work.

Types of Freelance CAD Jobs

Freelance CAD jobs include several basic types:

  • Design: Creative work, includes architecture, graphic design, all forms of engineering and a wide range of industrial applications, particularly in product design. These jobs are particularly important for those wishing to develop a portfolio in design, because they're very flexible in terms of types of work. You can build a great portfolio across a wide range of design subjects, which is very useful for getting more work and broadens your job options.
  •  Technical: This is the mainstream area of CAD applications. It includes plans and specification based CAD design in all aspects of architecture, hardware, industrial and consumer manufacturing, etc. This type of work is well suited to those who want to progress to major contracts, or who specialize in particular areas of CAD work.
  • Project: This type of freelance CAD job can often be a hybrid of design and technical work, and is a common form of advertised job or contract. These jobs are for experienced all-rounders, and are excellent in terms of getting good quality freelance CAD jobs. The advantage of project work is that the employer sources their CAD from one party, which is more cost effective.

The Work Environment

Freelance CAD jobs are usually contract work, unless you get an ongoing role as the outsource for this type of work through employers. You can see some good examples of the variety of different types of freelance CAD jobs on a US site called iFreelance, which caters exclusively for the growing freelance market. You'll also see that many of the freelance CAD people are specialists, by checking out their profiles. 

Freelance CAD Job Issues

These are the primary issues in freelance CAD jobs:

  • Client relationships: This is a client-based business. The freelance CAD jobs involve a range of client relationship situations. You'll find the customer isn't always right, and that tact and clear understanding are the keys to these relationships.
  • Communications: Those who don't understand CAD are usually soon lost in a conversation. As the CAD person on a project, you may also find you're acting as the technical adviser on a range of points related to the designs or plans. Clients require absolutely clear information regarding all aspects of the work, and as the expert, you'll be expected to explain any issues that arise.
  • Problem solving: Any job involves problem solving, but with CAD the client may not recognize the problems as being problems. That means you'll need to find, identify, and fix problems as well as explain them. 

Contracts and Money

Payment under contracts is an issue you must fully comprehend. Basic contracts include payment terms, and specify rates of payment. Do not assume all payments are automatic. Some contracts may specify payment "upon completion", which means after acceptance by the client. If you are in any way unsure, get a contract lawyer to check out any contract prior to signing.