Any time you shop for CAD services, there are a lot of unknowns. If it’s your first time working with this company, you need to ensure you can trust them to deliver the work at the right time and for the right price. Before writing a check, you have to do some homework.
We’re here to help. In this guide, we’ll explain what makes a CAD service company worth choosing. We’ll include qualities to look for and questions to ask in order to get the right CAD service company in your corner. Follow along and you’ll get the best results in the end.
Pricing is a tricky subject when it comes to choosing a CAD service. Some outfits aim to be the least expensive CAD service on the market, but that typically means a drop in quality and reliability.
In general, the more expensive the service, the higher the quality. Some rare exceptions exist, but you’ll have to pick and choose what you care about. If you need parts designed quickly and quality matters, then you should be prepared to pay a little extra.
Still, there are companies that downright overcharge for their services. It’s always best to get a quote from a few different CAD service companies and compare them. Specifically look at the expected quality, turnaround time, and final price.
The talent can make or break your project. If the CAD outsource company has a handful of good engineers, and the rest of their staff is just good for busywork, then you can get in trouble. What happens if one of their “good” engineers quits, takes a vacation, or gets tied up with another project?
Instead, you should only choose companies that have plenty of high-quality talent to choose from. This will ensure that you get the best results and fastest turnaround times possible.
Ideally, the company will have dozens of people on their staff. This will prevent any delays that happen as other projects get picked up. With plenty of great workers on the same team, you’ll always have the engineering power to get your project done.
Experience and a Proven Track Record
We can’t stress this enough: the company you choose should have plenty of experience and a proven track record. The company should have a few decades of success behind them.
Why does this matter? Anyone can open a company and claim to be a high-quality CAD outfit. Only time will tell if that claim is true.
With a long track record and plenty of success, two things are happening: first, you’re getting proof that this company is great. Second, the team and managers are getting more experience. A draftsman with one year of experience is dramatically different than a draftsman with 20 years of experience.
The more experienced person is typically better qualified for your project.
Before getting a quote, look at the company’s “About Us” page to learn more about their history. If the company is only a few years old, you might want to consider other shops first.
Support and Availability
It might seem odd, but it’s imperative that you pick a shop that has plenty of availability and support. As your project continues, there might be new constraints or a new direction that you have to take. If you hired a shop that never responds to emails and dodges your calls, they won’t be able to get the new direction.
As a result, you’ll waste time and money trying to get ahold of your CAD service company. If you can’t reach them until it’s too late, your project’s timeline could be shattered.
Instead, look for companies that offer 24/7 support. This isn’t common when it comes to CAD service companies, but it’s very valuable.
It typically means running three shifts each day. The result? You can always reach someone.
Ability to Speak Fluent English
Today’s world is very interconnected. As a result, you can offshore your engineering efforts. Doing so typically saves money, but you can run into a lot of headaches.
We have first-hand experience with this, and we don’t recommend it. The issue is that a lot of offshore teams don’t speak fluent English. This isn’t a problem in most cases, but when you need to discuss a project and talk through technical descriptions, it really matters.
If the CAD service team can’t understand what you’re asking for, they can’t ever deliver excellent results.
You should start by having a phone call with the company you’re asking for a quote from. If they don’t have any trouble understanding you, then you can check this off your list.
Attention to Detail
The difference between a good and a great company is the workers’ attention to detail. If small details fall through the cracks, then the success of your project could suffer.
If one part is designed for a 1/4-20 bolt, and the designer only added clearance for a 3/8-16, you’ll be in trouble. If no one on the CAD team notices this small discrepancy, then you won’t know about it until your part gets fabricated.
At that point, it’s too late.
You need a team that notices the little things. This typically comes with experience, and often it comes with a more expensive quote. The best option is to find a company that offers great attention to detail without overcharging for it.
Let’s talk about the big focus for most people: turnaround time. How long does it take the CAD team to design your parts and get them ready for manufacturing?
A lot of times, the CAD service company is working on certain parts of your project while your in-house engineers focus on other parts.
The goal is to have everything ready at the same time. If the outsourced CAD team can’t keep up and hit the same target date, then you’ll be waiting and wasting money.
Certain projects don’t have any wiggle room in the timeline. If the CAD outfit commits to a date and can’t deliver in time, your whole project can fall apart. Let’s say you need the CAD service team to deliver 20 P&IDs and electrical diagrams before you can install a new machine. Until they deliver all 20, your installation crew will be sitting around and waiting.
Instead, find a CAD team that actually delivers when they say they will. Another way to vet this is to go through customer testimonials, case studies, and talking to previous customers. Ensure the CAD team can keep up before giving them any money.
Ethical Business Practices
We hate to say it, but there are a lot of shady business practices that happen in the world of CAD service companies. As a CAD service company ourselves, we do everything in our power to shine a light on this and keep our company completely ethical.
Unethical CAD businesses will overcharge, overpromise, underdeliver, and ignore your calls and emails. You’ll be left wondering what’s going on. Ultimately, you’ll be the one punished for the project that is over budget and misses the timeline.
We can’t stress this enough. You should only deal with companies that work above board and deliver on their promises.
You can typically find out how honest a company is with a few phone calls. See if you can talk to the manager of engineering or even the owner of the company. Have a quick call and explain what you’re looking for. If they’re honest about their capabilities and they give you a realistic timeline, then you’re safe to move forward with them.
A Team That Stands Apart
In the CAD world, there are a lot of companies that offer “adequate”. They don’t really stand apart.
Our bet is that your project deserves a team that will overdeliver and give you more than you were expecting. This is our goal at CAD/CAM Services. We want to give you the best results during each project.
How do we do that? With our team that stands apart. Our quality, attention to detail, turnaround times, and availability is far from “adequate”. We always strive to beat the other CAD service companies that give our industry a bad name.
We tend to have 30 or more draftsmen and engineers working each shift, and we fully-staff three shifts every day. That’s 24/7 coverage for you. Whenever you reach out with a question, a highly trained designer will pick up the phone and help.
We work around the clock, so you don’t have to. That’s just one way that we can commit to CAD Perfect drawings, every time.
Picking the perfect CAD service company isn’t easy. You’ll have to go through some screening questions and vet a few companies before requesting a quote.
At CAD/CAM Services, we make the process easier. You can get a free quote from us quickly. Ask us anything, and we’ll be honest about our capabilities and the quality you can expect. Reach out today to learn why so many people are return customers, and learn about the CAD/CAM Services difference.
This article was last Updated on January 18, 2023