When you have an invention idea and want to bring it to life, you may hope to find and hire a mechanical design engineer to help you. But your project is not a long-term project, or you are an individual, so you don’t want to hire a full-time engineer. In this case, hiring a freelance engineer is a good choice.
Where to find a freelance engineer
There are many freelance websites. In this article, we introduce some resources relating mechanical engineering.
Fiverr is a good platform to hire a freelancer, including mechanical design engineers, graphic designers, writers, etc. And at the same time, you can also provide services as a seller with the same account. That means you can hire somebody or be hired by somebody.
On Fiverr, sellers are divided into 4 levels: Top Rated Seller, Level Two, Level One, New Seller. If you use Fiverr for a long time, you will find a Lever One seller may be better than a Top Rated Seller. So the seller’s level on Fiverr is not very important.
When you search sellers, you will find if you reload the website, there may be different sellers on the screen. So the seller on the top may not be the best for you.
When you plan to hire a freelance engineer on Fiverr, try to communicate with the selected seller before putting an order. There are many sellers without the necessary skills. And once you put an order and find the seller cannot meet your requirement, it is not easy to resolve this issue on Fiverr. So you need to communicate your project in detail to ensure the seller is who you need.
Upwork is one of the largest freelancer platforms. There are a lot of designers, writers, translators, engineers, and so on. On Upwork, you can hire a freelance engineer at a fixed rate or pay by hour. It also has a desktop APP to track the seller’s working time if you want to pay the seller by hour.
It is a large online community of designers, engineers, manufacturers and others. Many creators upload and share CAD files and tutorials. You can find many mechanical design engineers on the platform. They have a tool-GrabCAD Workbench, which can be used to manage your engineering projects. GrabCAD Workbench is a free cloud-based collaboration solution. With this tool, many engineers can work on the same files at the same time without conflict.
Linkedin is a social networking platform. But it is also a good source for finding freelancers. You can find many freelance engineers for your business.
It is possible to find mechanical engineers on other websites too, for example, Freelancer.com, guru.com, cadcrowd.com, peopleperhour.com, flexjobs.com, and so on. I am not familiar with these platforms, and could not make some suggestions. If you are interested, please try to visit these websites to get more information.
How to interview a self-employed engineer
When you try to hire a freelance contractor, don’t make rushed decisions even though your project is urgent. Too many freelancers claim that they are very good in their respective fields. But maybe some of them are only a middle man. If you hire the wrong freelancer, it may delay a lot of time.
A win-win relationship is the best. What you need is a good result at a reasonable price. And that is the same with a responsible freelancer. So before hiring, communicating is important. To lessen the risks, you should consider the following:
1. How long has he/she been freelancing?
A freelancing job is different from a full-time job. If you don’t know how to work with a freelance engineer, it is a good way to hire a freelancer with several years’ experience. Usually they have their own processes to help you. Of course, we don’t encourage ignoring new freelancers, as many new freelance engineers are very good too. So this is not the most important. In fact, we suggest you to consider new self-employed engineers if you have a tight budget.
2. How many reviews has she/he got?
If the freelance engineer has worked on a freelancer website for a long time, usually clients should have left some feedbacks. Try to see how many reviews she/he has got. But please note, if the freelancer has too many 5 stars reviews (5 star is the top level rating here), you should think: is it possible to do so many jobs in that time? And if a freelancer has some 1~3 star ratings, it is not a problem, because that may be caused by the client, the website or some other factors too. And when you try to find a self -employed engineer on a freelancer platform, 3.5 star is ok. (Of course, this is not suitable for a new freelancer.)
3. Try to read the content of feedbacks and the portfolios
When you choose a freelancer, you cannot only see how many 5 stars he/she has. You should read the content of feedbacks. It is a good way to see how other clients say about the freelance engineer. And if the freelancer has portfolios, you can get some information too.
4. What tools does the self-employed engineer use?
An experience self-employed engineer should know what tools will be helpful for your project. And he/she can make some suggestions accordingly. But as a middle man, she/he may not know that.
For example, Auto CAD, Solidworks, UG, Creo, Autodesk Inventor, Catia, and some other programs are popular in the mechanical engineering field; But C4D, Maya, Lightwave, Rhino, Blender focus on video games, movies, etc. If your project is a mechanical product, but the freelancer uses the wrong programs, maybe he/she is not ok for you.
The above can help you narrow down who is best to work with for your needs. I have worked as a buyer and a seller for a long time. According to my experience, the most important factor is communicating-Can you provide enough information? Can the freelance understand your project? So before hiring somebody, try to communicate with him/her. Before hiring an engineer, try to prepare enough information about your project.
After you find your freelancer, you can get some information about payment here.
If you want to become a freelancer,this book may help you.