There are going to be times in most manufacturing or design businesses when you’ll need to outsource to CAD designers and engineers. Hiring freelancers is a great way to manage costs at peak times in the business cycle.
There is a range of benefits to hiring CAD and engineering freelancers, including:
- Having a global talent pool to draw on
- Not overburdening your HR department with temp hires
- Plugging short term issues in workflow
- Offering opportunities for greater flexibility
For a full round-up of the benefits of outsourcing engineering and CAD processes, you can check out our full article on the topic. Once you’re convinced, read on, and we’ll explain the process to follow to hire a freelance CAD designer for your business.
Tips for Outsourcing to CAD Designers and Engineers
1. Know Your Needs
You may have an idea of what task you need to outsource, and that’s the very first step. Next, you need to determine what precisely you’re looking to get out of your project. You need to put together a list that will include:
- Key deliverables: What are you looking to get as the result of your project? Whether it be a prototype and new mould for your factory or a 3D rendering from architectural design services, make sure you are clear in what you are expecting.
- Budget: Understand how much you have available to invest in the process. If design and manufacturing is the backbone of your business, you might have a good idea about this. If this is your first time outsourcing CAD or engineering work, then check out some freelance and recruitment pages to get a brief idea of the going rate for the work you need.
- Deadline: Make sure you budget into your timelines for any tweaks or amendments that you might need to request and any in-house sign-off procedures the work will need to go through.
- Technical specifications: It might seem obvious to you that you’d need the work in a particular file format; not so for a freelancer. Make sure you detail everything you need, like file formats, metric or imperial measurements, etc, and ensure your CAD or engineering freelancer is aware of any regulatory requirements you need to meet
2. Understand Your Freelancer
Once you know what your company needs, it’s time to figure out the right type of person to get it done for you. What is evident on your shop floor or in your office shouldn’t be taken for granted with a freelancer, so take these things into consideration
- Skill requirements: Since you’ve figured out what needs doing already, knowing what skills are needed should be reasonably simple. If you already have engineering design services in your company, then check with them what skills, qualifications, and competencies you are going to need from your outsourced engineer or designer. No experts currently on the payroll? This isn’t a big problem; you can always look at listings on freelancing websites that are similar to yours and see what everyone else is looking for.
- Schedule needs: There are many extremely talented freelancers that live half a world away from you. Although this in itself shouldn’t be off-putting, you need to understand how available you need them to be and what your availability to them will be. Even a freelancer based in the same country as you might work through freelancing sites so that they are able to work an unconventional schedule. It is best that you know how much contact you are going to want with the person you outsource your CAD work or engineering to, so you can choose the right candidate.
- Language ability: Although it may seem sensible to need someone who speaks English as their first language, a highly skilled freelancer with excellent English skills shouldn’t be discounted. However, if you’re working on something very specific to your national or regional market, or there are very nuanced regulations required, you might want to screen the language skills of the people that you are choosing to work with.
3. Know Where to Start Looking
Not all freelancing platforms are created equal. Your business may use different platforms for different needs—Upwork for an ongoing relationship or Fiverr for a quick, off-the-shelf project, for example.
For outsourcing engineering and CAD design services, Cad Crowd has a system that works with the needs of clients. For example, all of the freelance designers and engineers on the site are covered under a non-disclosure agreement, so you can be assured that the work you commission won’t end up in the hands of a competitor. Qualifications of the freelancers are pre-screened as well, which can save you time when talking with your candidates about their suitability for the role.
Another thing to investigate when choosing the site you want to use is the payment method. There are going to be costs involved no matter which method the site you choose uses, but check out the options. If your project has a large budget, a difference of half a percent in transaction fees could be the difference between hitting financial targets for the quarter.
Online is definitely the way to find the most diverse talent pool. Word of mouth or local advertising might pay dividends, but when you’re hunting for specialized skills, the chances of them being in your town and your company not already knowing about them are pretty slim.
4. Get Writing the Job Description
After figuring out what you want to achieve, the type of person you’re looking to make it happen, and where you intend to find them, the next step is to reach out to the potential engineers and CAD designers to outsource to and get advertising.
It may be useful to have plans that have been laid out already ready-to-send over to the potential hire, but it may be a bit dense to copy and paste into a job listing. Keep things clear and to the point; you can fill the details in when the right person applies.
The general things you should include in your job posting should be:
- A snappy and descriptive job title. Get to the point and be clear on exactly what you need. Too general and you might waste yours and your freelancers’ time with inappropriate applications.
- Make your requirements known. This way, people looking to apply will be certain that they have a good chance of success with you. Anything very specialized or technical should be included as well as the availability and qualifications that you’re expecting. This is also the time to include the deadlines you’re working towards.
- Specify the deliverables that you have planned. Your freelancer should be applying knowing what you expect of them without having to probe too deeply about what the end product is going to look like.
- Sometimes you must add your budget in its field on a site that connects you with freelance designers and CAD services. Other times, you will need to make sure to include it yourself. Being upfront about this will mean the right skill level will apply; freelancers know when they’re priced out of a piece of work
This could take a little while to get right, but the time you spend getting your job description clear and specific will save you much more time when it comes to screening candidates. You won’t spend time fielding lots of questions before you can get down to the details you want to discuss.
5. Meet Your Candidates
A great thing about online freelancing sites is that your potential collaborators are waiting for your post and will react quickly to a job listing. This being said, a more technical job posting might be best left up for a couple of days to try and reach as many of the right candidates as possible.
Once you have a pool of applicants, you can start the screening process. The best applications are ones that have thoroughly read your job description and address the points you raise. If you have asked for a specific skill and the applicant draws attention to a piece of work they’ve done in the field, you can be confident that they pay attention to detail.
Just like with a permanent hire in your company, conduct interviews with a shortlist of candidates. You can do this through chat facilities that are normally provided through freelancing sites, phone calls, video chats, and sometimes you might even ask for a site visit. The way you conduct the interview will depend on what you’re looking for from your CAD designer or engineer.
Some other tips that will come in handy when screening your potential designers are:
- Getting samples of work similar to what you are looking for
- Asking them what they think will make the job run smoothly
- Check certifications and qualifications if this is pertinent to the role
If you’ve outlined your ideal freelancer clearly, then this stage of the process shouldn’t bring about any complications—you already know what you’re looking for.
6. Decide on Payment Schedules
You may already have a clear idea of how payment is going to work for your project but make sure it is clear and suitable for your candidates. Talking money doesn’t come easy to everyone. Being really transparent at this stage will avoid awkwardness in the future.
Be open to changing your payment plans where possible. For example, your freelancer might want you to pay at predetermined milestones so they have an income coming in, and it might work out very well for you to keep tabs on the project and make sure that they are on track. Small tweaks to a milestone submission can be easier than fixing a problem down the line.
Amendments are par for the course with any piece of work, as well as working them into your timelines. Make sure you set how many amendments you can expect from the freelance 3D modeling service or designer for the price that you’re paying them.
7. Make Agreements
Every site you can use to outsource engineers and CAD designers will have a slightly different procedure to seal the deal when you’ve got your freelancer on board. Understand what your obligations are and ensure the funding is available through whatever payment method you’ve set up.
You may find it tempting to go outside of the site you’ve found your freelancer on. Doing this loses you the protections the site puts in place. At Cad Crowd, we can help you by:
- Protecting your intellectual property
- Dealing with Non-Disclosure Agreements
- Screening freelancers to ensure qualifications are up to scratch
- Guaranteeing design accuracy with a 30-day refund
Although no one wants to encounter problems with their outsourced engineering design services or CAD design process, having such protections in place can be useful if the worst does happen.
Once you have covered all of the bases with the perfect freelancer that you wish to hire, you can get moving. Get files transferred, communication channels agreed, make sure everyone necessary is up to speed with the project on your side. If you follow these steps, the project should be very manageable.
Hiring a freelancer could do wonders for your company and give a long term aim a swift kick to get it across the line or free up your permanent staff to refocus their attention. It shouldn’t be a tough process to get one on board. Great freelancing sites will be happy to help you through the process if you need some guidance and expertise in how to get things going.
Planning is key to a successful outsourcing hire. Knowing exactly what you want and communicating it effectively to the people you are looking to bring on board is the key to a smooth process that isn’t going to need micromanaging. Communication is key both before and after you hire your freelancer, agree who will be available and when and how any problems can be sorted efficiently.
Cad Crowd’s Freelance CAD Designers and Engineers at Your Disposal
If you’d feel that Cad Crowd’s services answer your needs, don’t hesitate to find out how it works.
In addition to facilitating outsourcing to freelance CAD and engineering designers, we also host design contents which allow you to receive multiple design submissions for your project. Find out how you can launch a design contest.