Small Business Brief


Be Your Own Boss: How to Set Up an Engineering Consultancy

The U.S. engineering services industry is massive.

As of 2020, it’s estimated to be worth over $237 billion. There are over 150,000 businesses, employing over 1 million people.

Are you looking to add to the number of engineering businesses? You can do so by starting an engineering consultancy. This also gives you the opportunity to be your own boss and take control of your professional destiny.

However, starting a successful consultancy is easier said than done. Many have tried and failed.

What gives?

In this article, we’re sharing the keys to starting an engineering company that’ll thrive.

It Starts with You – The Engineer

An engineering firm is only as good as the engineer(s) behind it. Clients aren’t going to merely look at the name of your company and hire you. They’ll want to know the engineering behind the firm.

This is why it’s super important to focus on building your career before venturing into self-employment. It’s advisable to gain at least several years of experience and keeping up with all continuing education requirements.

If you haven’t earned your professional engineer (PE) license, do so before thinking of starting an engineering company. While at it, strive to build a good professional reputation.

Draw a Business Plan

Every business should start with a business plan. Engineering consultancies are no different.

A business plan fleshes out all the key details about your upcoming business. These include:

  • Executive summary (Name and address of the business)
  • Vision and mission
  • Engineering services on offer
  • Sales and marketing strategy
  • The management team and personnel
  • Capital requirements
  • Financial forecasts.

With a detailed business plan, you’re ready to proceed with your plan to start an engineering business. If you aren’t familiar with writing business plans, don’t try to hack it on your own. Get a business consultant who specializes in writing business plans for engineering firms.

Meet Regulatory Requirements

In most states (42), engineering firms are required to obtain a license or certificate of authorization from their state’s board of engineering. These states don’t want quacks setting up engineering companies and offering services they aren’t qualified to offer.

If your state has this requirement, you have to obtain the license and any other permits in order to set up the business.

Be sure to research any additional state-specific hurdles you might need to overcome before getting the green light to open your consultancy.

Set Up Your Consulting Office

An engineering consultancy isn’t one of those businesses you can run from home or entirely online. Clients will often want to see you physically before they can give you business.

As such, focus on setting up an elaborate office, complete with a receptionist and other front-office personnel.

Marketing Your Engineering Services

There are probably tens of engineering consultancies in your area, which means competition for clients is strong. To stand out from the crowd, you need to promote your new company and market your services.

In your business plan, you identified a sales and marketing strategy. Now is the time to implement it.

Start an Engineering Consultancy That Can Succeed

Engineers play an important role in our society. The demand for their services will always be there. You can capitalize on this to start a successful engineering consultancy. When you do, be sure to follow our tips.

Keep reading our blog for more small business tips and insights.