CAD Freelance or CAD Outsource – What’s the Difference? 

Recently we’ve noticed an uptick in the number of CAD “freelance” agencies, which seem to have replaced the older, established CAD Outsource services.  Some of this, we think, is because the term “outsource” came to be associated with off-shore, cheap labor, that often produced less than perfect results.

But, is freelancer really any better?  And what’s the difference anyway?

According to the Miriam-Webster Dictionary:

  • Outsource – to send away (some of a company’s work) to be done by people outside the company
  • Freelance – a person who pursues a profession without a long-term commitment to any one employer (italics are ours)

CAD Outsourcing

Outsource services, as defined by CAD / CAM Services to our CAD clients, means that you send your work to us, where it is done by a professional who works solely for our company.  Often, for repeat customers, this means an on-going relationship with the same CAD professional, from one project to the next.  This continuity provides the benefits of an in-house engineer, designer or draftsperson, without the overhead cost of a full-time employee.   Even when changing project requirements may mean that you work with a different outsource employee, there is still the bottom-line accountability to us.    And we have an invested interest in keeping both employees and clients happy.

CAD Freelancing

Hiring a freelancer from a freelance CAD agency, on the other hand, may mean that you have little control over the person to whom your work is assigned, and as defined above, the freelance agent has no long-term commitment to any one employer.  That lack of commitment includes no commitment to the agency as well as the customer, so, in effect, you may be offering up your important CAD project to the lowest freelance bidder the agency can find.  This is not the way we want to do business.

While the term outsourcing has gotten a bad rap in some circles because it’s associated with job losses that occur when large corporations “export” jobs to countries with low labor costs, small CAD outsource businesses, such as ours, provide cost-effective, professional CAD outsourcing.   While the world of internet freelancing may offer new opportunities, a bricks and mortar outsource firm located in the U.S. often ensures a more reliable, permanent source of outsourcing technicians.

Key to Success

Remember that the key to successful CAD outsourcing has as much to do with your efforts as it does with choosing the right firm.  Here are 6 things you need to do to get the best results when you outsource your CAD work to us, or any other outsource service.

  1. Identify the scope of the project (conversion of one drawing or complete design of a 3D simulation; scanning thousands of drawings or doing one raster to vector conversion; ongoing design projects requiring multiple talents, etc.)
  2. Be clear about the results you want to achieve.
  3. Use a formal statement of work for big projects you plan to outsource. For smaller tasks, clearly outline what is expected.
  4. Rely on written communications, even emails or chats (make sure you save them), rather than memory to be sure work is done as you expected.
  5. Review our earlier blog posts, What to Look for in a CAD Outsourcing Company and CAD Services – Four Questions to Ask About Outsourcing.

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