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For those CAD professionals who choose to work as freelancers, building productive relationships with a stable roster of clients can be an important part of success. Sometimes, though, little miscommunications or differences in expectations can make building or maintaining this kind of relationship a bit difficult.

There are a few issues that are not uncommon in the CAD industry, and which future CAD professionals might encounter in a freelancing career. Learning the kinds of misunderstandings to look out for, and how to spot them, could help you handle them better, and let you turn potential challenges into a productive experience for both you and your client.

Here is a quick guide explaining how to spot common client problems sometimes seen in the CAD industry.

The Measurements They Provide Are Incorrect or Inconsistent

Students and professionals who work with computer-aided design software know how important it is to use precise measurements when creating a model. For the most part, getting these numbers won’t be difficult—a client will just supply them. Occasionally, though, it can happen that the dimensions provided by a client will be off somehow. Common examples of ways that provided dimensions might off include measurements being mislabelled (for example, the number for height swapped with the number for depth), or imperial and metric units being used interchangeably.

A good way to discover this is to do a quick review of any preliminary information provided by a client prior to beginning work on a project. Pay close attention to whether all units are the same, and if some dimensions jump out as being unlikely, take note. Once you’re sure you have found inconsistencies, clients will likely be glad to hear from you and to provide you with corrected data.

They Aren’t Quick to Communicate With You When Needed

Graduates of technical design programs likely know that CAD projects can change a fair bit throughout the process of modeling them. Often, the changes that are necessary to fix up a CAD model won’t be anything significant—maybe just making a few small adjustments to dimensions, for example. Since the client is paying you, though, they’ll likely need to approve any of these kinds of adjustments. Unfortunately, some clients may be very busy, and might not respond to you right away.

The sensible solution when working with a client who doesn’t communicate efficiently is to be patient. If the delay lasts longer than a couple of days, consider sending a polite reminder. If the delay extends long enough that it makes it difficult for you to complete the work on time, you may want to let them know that the due date might need to be pushed back.

They Often Change Deadlines for Your Technical Design Projects

Business is a fast-paced game, full of change and adaptation in the face of new realities. It’s normal for clients to originally ask for delivery of a project by a particular date, and then to eventually ask for a later or earlier delivery date instead. Much of the time, this likely won’t be much of a problem. If you pick up many clients after your CAD online courses, though, or the original schedule was already fairly tight, this could add additional stress.

You can discuss deadline changes that don't work for your schedule

You can discuss deadline changes that don’t work for your schedule

As a rule, it’s a great idea to do everything you can to try and meet the new deadline when possible. Clients realize that this can require sacrifice on your part, and are likely to appreciate that you went the extra mile for them. If you cannot meet the new deadline, it’s appropriate to politely explain that this is the case, and discuss next steps with the client.

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