CAD Drafting -- Succeeding in a Shrinking Market
CAD (Computer-Aided Design) drafting is a fundamental component of modern engineering, fabrication and construction trades. Before the emergence of CAD technology in the latter half of the 20th century, blueprints were handcrafted in a design process that was more time-consuming and much less accurate than it is today.
But as technology progressed, builders and contractors have become less dependent on third-party CAD drafting providers. With affordable, easy-to-use CAD drafting solutions readily available, many contractors handle much of their CAD requirements using in-house personnel.
It's still possible to launch a successful CAD drafting service startup, but to penetrate the marketplace you'll need to offer a level and scope of services that today's builders and contractors can't perform for themselves.
Value Propositions for CAD Drafting Startups
Your first order of business as a CAD drafting entrepreneur is to answer the question that is the elephant in the room: Why should contractors, builders and even engineering firms hire a CAD drafting provider?
And to answer that question, you'll need to decide on a value proposition -- the unique feature(s) you provide. Here are some of your options:
- Depth of Expertise. Many in-house CAD drafters aren't specialists. They are personnel who have received a minimal amount of training in CAD techniques. By staffing CAD professionals and participating in trade groups like ADDA (American Design Drafting Association/American Digital Design Association), you can demonstrate a depth of expertise that is required in complex construction and design.
- Cost-Savings of Outsourcing. Modern CAD drafting services place a strong emphasis on educating their clients about the cost benefits of outsourcing. Rather than staffing a full-time CAD drafter at an annual cost of $45k+ per year, it's usually more affordable for firms to outsource CAD to third-party professionals.
- Scope of Services. Most CAD drafting providers offer a broader range of services than their clients can generate internally. By outfitting your startup with advanced CAD technology and a team of cross-trained professionals, you can expand your capabilities and your customer base.
How to Write a Simple CAD Drafting Service Business Plan
Haven't created a business plan for your CAD drafting service yet? You could be in big trouble.
In many cases, the best approach is to keep your business plan simple. Ultimately, your business plan is intended to be a resource for you, the business owner.
If your time is limiting, outline the essentials of your CAD drafting service's business plan now and make a commitment to come back to it later.
Take a Look at the Competition
Prior to opening a CAD drafting service within your community, it's worthwhile to find out how many competitors you have. Use the link below to generate a list of competitors nearby. After clicking on the link, type in your city, state and zip code to get a list of CAD drafting services near you.
If there's too much competition, it may be wise to consider starting the business in a less competitive marketplace.
Finding a Non-Competitive Business Mentor
After you've evaluated your local competitors, it's essential that you speak with somebody who is already in the business. It's very unlikely that the local competition will talk to you. Why would they want to educate a future competitor?
But, a person who owns a CAD drafting service outside of your community can be a great learning resource for you, after they realize you reside far away from them and won't be stealing their local customers. In fact, they are often very willing to share startup advice with you. It can take a while to find an entrepreneur who is willing to talk, but it's well worth the effort.
Where can an aspiring entrepreneur like you find a CAD drafting service entrepreneur outside of your area who is willing to talk?
We can help. Follow the link below, try a few city/state combos or zipcodes, and then start calling!
Why You Should Buy (Instead of Start) a CAD Drafting Service
It's no secret that entrepreneurs have a strong impulse to build companies from the ground up.
Yet a healthier and safer strategy may be to purchase an existing CAD drafting service.
Existing CAD drafting services are proven operations with dependable revenue streams. And that's not to mention the fact that a purchase let's you avoid the trial-and-error mistakes that are common in startups.
Don't Forget About Franchising As an Option
The odds of being a successful business owner increase when you choose to franchise and leverage their successful brand and track record.
Prior to making the decision to open a CAD drafting service, a smart move is to investigate whether buying a franchise could simplify your entering the business.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding starting a business may be of interest to you.
If you came here to learn about selling to CAD drafting services, you're in the wrong place. These resources are more appropriate for you:
If you are interested in starting a different kind of business, please browse our directory of guides below.