Are you a skilled CAD (computer-aided design) designer or a draftsman looking to start your own business but do not know how to start CAD business? In this post you will find everything in detail about starting CAD business, different types of CAD business ideas and growing your business.
When it comes to CAD business there are two business models that you can start according to your skills, needs and resources: A full service CAD design firm such as an LLC or a Partnership Firm or as a Freelance CAD designer. A freelance CAD designer makes $12 to 30 per hour or more based on the skills and experience.
What is CAD (Computer-Aided Design)?
CAD (computer-aided design) is a process of creating 2D designs or 3D models of machinery, architectural buildings or automotive parts using specialized computer software such as AutoCAD or Solidworks. These computer software automates the entire design process assisting companies in technical documentation by replacing the need of manual drafting.
Computer-aided design market has been growing steadily over the past couple of years with annual totals increasing from about seven billion U.S. dollars in 2016 to around 7.5 in 2018. Forecasts suggest that the market will experience increased growth in the coming years, expanding to well over 11 billion dollars in annual revenue by 2023. The largest CAD software makers on the market are Autodesk and Dassault systems.
When it comes to Mechanical design, advanced engineering technology, parametric modeling, computer aided design and drafting, 2d CAD, 3d CAD, 3D Modeling, engineering drawing, architectural design, technical drawings, computer aided manufacturing, Dimensioning, rapid prototyping, AutoCAD is the undisputed market leader in Computer aided design software market.
Looking at the revenues above, CAD business seems promising and with the increasing design complexity of machinery, industrial products, architectural designs and infrastructure projects, the demand for qualified and experienced CAD professionals is set to grow.
How to Start CAD Business or a CAD design firm?
If you are planning to start your own CAD business, you should have exceptional CAD skills and substantial experience to handle the business related activities and processes. However, to demonstrate your professionalism to potential clients, consider obtaining certification through an organization such as the American Design Drafting Association. To qualify for Certified Design Drafter status, for example, you must have completed post-secondary training, gained three to five years’ experience and passed the association’s examination.
If you are an AutoCAD professional, there are a lot of ways you can start a business with your knowledge and make good profit from it. Here are a few ways to start, and most of these business ideas would help you generate passive income.
What you need to start a Successful CAD Drafting Business?
- Get Professional CAD Training & Certification
Before you can start CAD business, it is important to get professional CAD training, certification and some practical experience by working at a professional manufacturing design or architectural firm. There are several institutes in the U.S. that offer CAD certifications such as:
- Obtain CAD Tools & Software
In order to start CAD business you will need suitable computer hardware (workstation) and CAD software such as Autodesk. Ensure that your computer has a large high-resolution screen to make it easy to view detailed designs. Your workstation should have all necessary graphics card, processors, Drivers and RAMs to run the CAD software and carry out design calculations and layouts without interruptions. You will also need a large size printer for printing CAD designs and drawings. There are several budget printers for CAD available on the market that you can buy. A good broadband Internet connection is essential, so you can transmit large graphics files to clients.
- Here are the minimum CAD System Requirements.
- Here are the minimum System requirements for running AutoCAD.
- Set Up Your CAD Business
Once you have gained all the necessary CAD certifications and experience and acquired all the required tools & Software it is time to setup your business. You should register your CAD business/company and form an LLC. Here’s a complete guide to setup a company in the U.S. or form an LLC. The next step would be to open a bank account. There are several banks for small business in the U.S.
Initially, you can start CAD business from a spare room or garage in your house as it does not require much space. If you want to keep work and home separate, you can rent space in a building or co-working space or in a small business incubation center in your area. Office location is not important in CAD business as email, Internet and videoconferencing would be enough for you to deal with clients.
Since, you will be new in the business you can take help from The Small Business Administration’s website and get all the necessary details about obtaining permits, licenses, TAX Ids and also about marketing your business.
- Differentiate your CAD Business by offering value
CAD business has lot of growth potential but it is equally competitive due to low cost CAD services offering from developing countries and it might be difficult for you to match their prices. But remember clients demand quality CAD services and you should offer quality to strengthen your position in the business and avoid competition over prices. For example, you could develop a specialist service in CAD for the civil engineering, interior design or process engineering sectors. If you have architectural or engineering qualifications, take on projects that require detailed design knowledge in addition to drafting skills.
Useful Video showing 5 ways to make money with CAD Business (Credit: Youtube.com)
- Market Your CAD CAM Business like a pro
Anyone can start CAD business who has skills and experience in the design field but for growth you have to market your business like a pro. Start offering your services to both organizations that only require occasional CAD support and firms that can provide you with a regular source of work. You can also get in touch with the architectural and civil engineering companies, interior design firms, construction firms and the product development departments of large manufacturing companies as they can your potential sources of regular work. Small Business owners such as carpenters, small machining shops, fabrication shops, independent architects and interior designers may provide you with more occasional work. You can also register your profile on freelancing websites such Upwork to work on freelancing CAD jobs for the clients across the world.
How to Start a Freelancing CAD design Business?
Before you can start as a CAD design freelancer, you have to get professional CAD training and certifications. Also, you should have enough CAD design experience to deliver freelance CAD projects. Finally, you need to get all the required CAD software and tools to work on the projects. Below are the steps to start a freelancing CAD drafting business:
- Identify your CAD designing strengths and areas in which you have solid design experience and unmatched skills such as Construction, Architectural or Mechanical design.
- Register on reliable Freelancing websites such as Freelancer.com. upWork.com and Peopleperhour.com and create your profile as a CAD designer. Mention your CAD design skills clearly in your profile to help clients understand what kinds of designs you can deliver and add upload/attach any professional CAD certifications or awards you had won.
- Complete your profile by filling out all the required professional and financial details to receive money from the clients after successfully completing the job.
- Search for CAD design jobs on the above mentioned websites and apply to the jobs that match your skills.
- Once you land a job from a client, deliver exceptional services to make your client(s) happy and ask for reviews.
- Build a reputation on freelancing sites by getting 5 star reviews from clients to get repeat jobs and new CAD design jobs.
- Start your own Freelancing CAD design website and promote it online to get CAD design leads. You can showcase your past CAD jobs, portfolio and mention your contact information on your website to help clients connect with you.
Best Opportunities and Ideas for starting a CAD Business
Start CAD Training Center
If you are experienced in CAD and have certifications, then you can help out other students learn CAD by starting a coaching center. You should offer both beginner training in AutoCAD and other design software as well as advanced because students may want to learn advanced skills after completing basic CAD training. Based on your CAD experience, you must offer advanced level CAD training to earn higher fee.
Do not constrain yourself to just your CAD training center, you can offer your services to other schools and training centers as well, just ensure that you only work for hours that you can handle properly. You can advertise your skills on school bulletin boards, or you can use students’ Facebook groups, or you can even create your own Facebook page just for advertising your business. Here are some the best low budget advertising ideas for small business.
Get in touch with businesses that require CAD draftsmen, designers & skilled technicians
Your customers can be like a real estate agent that need somebody to do house plans for them, or maybe a carpenter who is building custom kitchens and need somebody to do drawings. You can even get in touch with the construction component manufacturers and offer to draw their construction components on AutoCAD or Solidworks. They can place the blocks on their website so as to promote them or offer them to their customers.
Start CAD Drafting Business
Computer-Aided Design (CAD) drafting is the first step in today’s modern engineering design, fabrication, architectural drafting and construction trades. Before CAD technology made it possible to automate the designing and technical documentation process, blueprints were handcrafted in a design process that was more time-consuming and much less accurate than it is today.
Considering the growing need in the marketing for CAD services, it is possible to launch a successful CAD drafting service business, but to penetrate the marketplace you’ll need to offer advanced level of services that today’s builders, architectural engineering firms and contractors can’t perform themselves. If you are able to offer high-end CAD drafting services like no other firm on the market then you can easily start a profitable CAD business for yourself.
Offer CAD services as an Industrial Designer
You can offer CAD services as an Industrial designer to the industries that manufacture automotive parts, toys, building information, design technology and industrial plants. They combine art, business, and engineering to make products that people use every day as well as used in heavy engineering industries. Industrial designers take into account many aspects of product concept design such as function, aesthetics, production costs, and usability of products. This type of CAD business can be run comfortably by a CAD specialist from home or a small office.
FAQs related to CAD Business
How much do Freelance Cad Designers Make in a Year?
According to Ziprecruiter, the average annual pay for a Freelance CAD Designer in the United States is $54,396 a year. The average rate per hour freelance CAD drafting rates could be from $12 to $30 and it could go upto $100 per hour for highly experienced CAD drafters with advanced skills in drafting design.
How to get CAD projects?
There are many ways for getting CAD projects to grow your CAD CAM Business as a freelance CAD consultant. You can get in touch with industrial manufacturing companies and offer them CAD drafting services or work with architecture design firms that seek out CAD services for their infrastructure projects. You can even work as a freelance CAD service provider on websites such as Upwork or cadcrowd.com and make good money by working for clients from all over the world.
Starting CAD business is simple if you know the industry and have prior working experience in computer aided drafting and design. But in order to grow your business, you will have to work smart and get in touch clients that require CAD services on a regular basis. You must focus on offering advanced and quality drafting design services to beat the competition in the CAD services market.
We hope you will get lot of help from this post when launching a CAD business for yourself and get the best ideas for CAD business.
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