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CAD Services: How to Pick sand Choose

Jul 18, 2008
If you're an architect or engineer thinking of outsourcing your CAD drawings, you would no doubt have been confronted with a question at some point in time. And that question is: How do I find a good provider of CAD services?

And probably, MOST PROBABLY, what would have come to mind is, "Go to the search engines and type in 'CAD Services'".

Yes, going to the search engines when you're looking for something is a smart idea, but you'd be surprised to know that nowadays it isn't the strategy of choice. It has a shortcoming, and that is

** Search engines rank a site based on how good the website is, not on how good the website's company is. **

After all, for the most part, websites are like ads. Now you tell me: if an ad looks good, does it mean the company being advertised is good? Of course not.

What you need are the opinions of others. Others who have actually used CAD services. That way you'll see the good, the bad and the ugly.

Say about 10 years ago, being able to find the opinions of others would be a pipe-dream. But today it's a reality. You CAN do it, and you can do it easily.

How? By going to user forums. If you're into engineering, go to engineering forums. If you're into architecture, go to architectural forums. Ask about CAD services and get the naked truth.

To see the URLs of some good engineering forums and architectural forums, just follow the link given at the end of this article.

Once you get to a forum, what you have to do is register (that only takes 2 minutes and zero expense), then ask the question: "Can anyone recommend a good CAD service, based on first-hand experience?" You might also want to ask for a service dealing with your particular platform (AutoCAD, MicroStation, SolidWorks, whatever).

Gather about 10 CAD service provider names using this method. Then carefully evaluate these 10 companies, by messaging them and evaluating the responses you get. Rank the providers and keep only the top three.(We'll explain more on how to evaluate them in a subsequent installment of this training).

Divvy up your CAD drafting work amongst these three CAD service providers. Of course if you don't have volume drafting requirements, maybe you could use them in rotation. But ALWAYS have more than one provider on hand.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this training, which will start to explain how to evaluate the names you got from the forums.
About the Author
To see the list of engineering and architecture forum URLs, come to our CAD services blog, part of The Magnum Group's extensive website at http://themagnumgroup.net/
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