The cost of hiring a CAD designer

Hiring a CAD designer, drafter, or manager can be a tricky thing to do for a variety of reasons. For one, not all projects require the same amount of CAD work. Some require a ton if you’re handling model development, renderings, or porting other software such as CAM or CAE. Sometimes things are slow and there are not many projects going on, further diminishing the amount of CAD work necessary.

In order to run a good business, managers try to hire enough CAD professionals or services to be just under what's necessary for peak capacity (when you have a lot of work to do). In general, this is great practice because it ensures that you aren’t spending more than you already do on software licensing, training, and of course salaries for your CAD designers, drafters, and managers, among other things.

According to Glassdoor, these are the salaries (national averages) for common drafting jobs:

CAD Drafter: $42,680

CAD Designer: $53,531

CAD Manager: $71,758


Drafting costs can begin to stack up really quick, especially if you aren’t consistently receiving enough jobs to keep the CAD team busy.

More work more problems

What happens when you’ve suddenly received a lot of work? All of a sudden everyone is working on the CAD development! Here come the redlines….


drafting redlines


Your entire staff is at full steam. Engineers and managers who typically might not do CAD or need stray outside of some 3D modeling start getting involved in the design, drafting and development. There will be redlining, back-checking, and extra quality control to be done. You still need to ensure quality, GD&T, design intent, etc. And, everyone is still getting paid!

For someone trying to run a successful engineering firm, machine shop, or studio, CAD management is certainly a difficult thing to navigate. This is where Loblolly comes in. We’re really good at helping you in situations where you need a little extra CAD help -- all without having to pay another salary!

Loblolly - Drafting services for less

Just use us when you need us at an unlimited rate. If you know you have jobs coming up, start putting in some design requests to your queue and one of our expert designers will have CAD models/files returned to you by your plan’s specified turnaround time. Usually no more than 5-7 days and all for far less than it would cost to hire a full-time CAD professional. Save on software and save on recruiting for jobs, try our services contract-free