I have been contacting offices and offering part-time drafting services and contracted work opportunities. What is generally the rule of thumb regarding benefits? Besides that and hourly rate, what are other considerations when offering part-time and contracted work services (mainly construction documentation and some rendering)?
Any advice/help is appreciated.
Jeff - there are no benefits (I assume you are talking about health insurance, etc) if you are an independent contractor, not an employee. If you are a part time employee, you probably don't qualify for benefits either - you would have to read their employee handbook.
If going the independent contractor route, you should expect to pay state and federal taxes including social security and self employment tax, overhead, insurance, etc out of the hourly wage you are proposing. Generally independent contractors take out 30% for taxes. You will have to fill out a W-9 and recieve a 1099 from each firm at the end of each year.
The benefit to the firms is that they don't have to pay unemployment insurance, benefits, etc so while your rate would be higher than an employee's hourly rate, it could end up costing them less money. You are taking on all of the risk yourself. Thats my 2 cents...
Normally, if you are a independent contractor there is no benefits, you may ask for mileage if you are going to be doing any site observation.
When working independently, start by seeing if you can get ANY work. If you do get work, incease your prices as your schedule fills and as people depend on you more. Remember that you can always increase your prices in the future, but if you start with a high price you might not get the initial opportunity. The important thing is to get your foot through the door, make contacts, and getting your opportunity to be valued. Give them a reason to hire you and hopefully you will become valued and you can successfully move your rates upward as you become more valued by those who hire you.
I'm not sure that there is any demand for independent CAD drafters. Design drafters usually need close to real time interaction with others involved in the process ... not much that you can take home to work on. I hope it works for you.