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Important Aspects of Using CAD Services

Apr 25, 2008
When it comes to engineering and architectural drafting, it can be difficult to find a quality full-time CAD drafter. Of course, even if you do locate such a person you will be required to pay accordingly, and they do not come cheap. This can be problematic for a company that may need to save costs and expenses.

Hiring a CAD drafter comes with a variety of expenses such as health insurance, vacation pay, social security payments and other benefits. Yes, you could hire an independent contractor but there may be liability issues associated with such a venture. Why this may seem like a difficult position to be in there is an option: contract out to CAD Services.

~~ The Services ~~

CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) services will handle the same work and duties that hiring in house would achieve. The main difference, of course, would be that contracting out to outsource services would come with significantly less cost. Often, when a company is strapped financially or is a low liquid capital start up there comes a need to cut expenses and contracting out can serve that purpose.

But the truth is that even a large company should outsource at least part of their CAD work. The company should maintain only sufficient full-time CAD drafters to handle the minimum expected workload. The ups and downs above this should be outsourced. This will maximize savings, as will be apparent from the below paragraphs.

~~ Costs ~~

CAD services are predominantly pay-per-use rather than flat-fee. If you don't use them on Tuesday, you don't pay them for Tuesday. Not so if you have a full-time CAD drafter!

To further cost you less, many CAD service providers also vary their charges according to the size of the drawing sheet. The smaller your sheet, the less the price per sheet. Some go even further and reduce the price per sheet for less dense detail.

But wait a minute there's scope for even more price reduction! If you start sending out assignments out to a CAD service as a steady stream, you get classified as a "golden customer": most CAD shops will gladly throw in a volume discount after a month or two. All you have to do is ask!

~~ CAD Platforms and Vendor Choice ~~

There are several CAD platforms that engineers and architects use, and no CAD service is master of them all. The platform you use, if not widely employed, can limit your choice of CAD services to certain vendors only.

The most widely used platform is AutoCAD. Some others are MicroStation, Pro-Engineer, Archicad, SolidWorks, VectorWorks and Catia. To find CAD service vendors specialized in your platform, put "CAD services" and the name of your platform in a search engine and pull up the results.

~~ Quality Issues ~~

Now, some may wonder if quality will be maintained by a service that is involved with contracting out. Well, let's put your worries at ease: many CAD services produce quality that can surpass that of the outsourcing company! All it takes is a little due diligence to find them.

Ask for samples, check out references and give a trial assignment before you decide to shoot for a long-term arrangement. If that sounds like dating to decide on marriage, you're right on the money!
About the Author
Looking for engineering or architectural CAD services? The Magnum Group has the people and the expertise to deliver excellent drawings dead on time.
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