CAD Manager's Q&A: Making It on Your Own27 Apr, 2006 By: Robert Green
Is there really a market for independent CAD contractors out there? Do I have a good chance of making it on my own?
Robert Green replies: I believe the market for independent CAD contractors is better than ever, and I’ve been watching the market for purposes of my own business for 15 years.
Right now economic conditions are generally good for most design- and engineering-based business sectors, but particularly civil engineering and infrastructure sectors. The time to make the leap to independent status is when the market is up and people want to hire you. So if you’re in a field and/or location that is experiencing strong demand, the time to test the waters will never be better.
But what happens when things turn downward, you may ask? The response to that question is to be well-established and have a great reputation in place so that when times get tight -- and they always do -- you’ll be the last person to be let go.
Remember that when times are good, you have more demand chasing the supply of CAD talent. When things turn down, industry wants to hire part-time help rather than full-time, and employers want to get the best part-timers they can. Being the best works in your favor during good times and bad.
Going out on your own is something you have to decide for yourself. I’m not trying to paint an overly rosy scenario or push anyone into a rash decision, but if you’re considering the move to self-employment, I do believe now is one of the best times in recent memory to make it.