Engineers don’t have to work at an already-established engineering firm. Once you have gotten experience working in your specialty, start your own engineering business from your home. Whether you’re a civil, structural, computer, electrical or mechanical engineer, you are able to start a new business, setting up a home office and developing a client list. If you can build up a client list and develop multiple engineering projects, you can earn more as a freelancer than if you report to work in someone else’s firm, according to The Institute.
Explore your regional area and identify other engineering firms that would be your competitors, according to Start Up Biz Hub. Make sure you aren’t going into a market that’s saturated with engineering firms offering the same services you intend to offer. As you do so, look at the services these competitor firms offer and identify specialty areas you can offer that they do not. Develop a competitive edge for a specialty product or service that is already offered by another company in your area. Talk to other engineering entrepreneurs to identify these areas, suggests The Institute.
Apply for state and city licensing, especially if you plan to start a structural engineering firm. Any startup, particularly one involving construction, carries risks. Because you would be liable for property damage and personal injury as an engineering firm owner, liability insurance would protect you and your company.
Visit other engineers whose expertise and abilities you respect and ask them to join you as a partner in your new firm. If you are starting a mechanical engineering firm, for instance, decide if you want to bring civil, computer or electrical engineers into your company. As your company grows, bring new engineers in as you need them.
Develop a marketing plan. If you need help with this, meet with a marketing specialist in your community, stressing the kinds of engineering services you are going to provide to clients. Talk to different marketing professionals and discuss bringing one of them into your firm or contracting for their advertising services. Don’t discount the power of word-of-mouth, according to Start Up Biz Hub.
Seek the help of professionals in other areas as you start your engineering business. This includes financial and legal advice. Getting the right answers to your questions as you start your new company saves you money in the long run, allowing you to use these funds on office and engineering supplies.
Talk to other independent engineers near you and ask them for advice. Look for engineers and firms not working in the area or areas you plan to specialize in. They will probably be willing to help, but wouldn't want you taking their clients.
If your new engineering firm shows signs of success, think about continuing to operate it from your home. You’ll save on overhead and utility costs, and you can bring office equipment and specialized engineering equipment into a spare room of your house.