Sunday, February 28, 2010

Billable Time

I don't seem to be on fire here with the CAD managers Survival Guide, but I have have something here that applies to all CAD Managers, billable time.

When I am speaking with other people in my position, billable time always seems to come up. Different firms have different expectations as to how much time a CAD Manager should be using for management of the CAD system and how much time they should spend working on projects the firm can bill for. The heart of the matter seems to be that firms are recognizing the value of having a CAD manager, they just don't want to pay for one. So if you agree to be the CAD manager but you must be billable 60%, 70%, or 80% of the time, how much management can you really do, and what difference does it make? There are many who CAD manage on their own time. Writing code or reviewing drawings and doing customization off the clock. This just feeds the perception that that CAD management must not be a full time job.

Every year, I get evaluated like a lot of you do. This is my time to justify my complete lack of billable time. I review the goals I set at the beginning of the year and do my best to quantify the financial impact of my actions. Example, I started purchasing 15" plotter paper because we plot so much half size. We waste less paper now saving the firm money. Since I can tell much much we plotted and spent the year before, calculating the savings was easy. I write a lisp that reduces an 8 click procedure to a 1 click procedure. I calculate how long 7 clicks takes times how often we do it in a day times the number of drafters and Figure in their average pay. 7 clicks can add up.

The point is I know how much money I want to make. I just need to make the company more. I just don't bill to a client. The company is my client. If I save more than I cost, the idea of billable time goes away. This is not easy. It's like being a sales person who works for commission. You better be aware of how much you cost and how much you are saving the firm at all times, and it gets harder every year.

But it sure can beat working on billable jobs if you love it.

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