Civil engineering is a specialization that focuses on roads, bridges, geotechnical aspects of building development, and more. If you want to start a civil engineering business, you’ll need a thorough knowledge and technical understanding of the field.
A civil engineering company mainly has clients from the buildings and construction sector. Architects, construction companies, project developers, and even governmental organizations can approach a civil engineering company.
If you’re a civil engineer with years of experience in the field and want to start your very own civil engineering company, then you’ve come to the right place. If you don’t yet have the qualifications you need, then you’ll need at least a graduate-level degree and relevant working experience first. Without these, building an enduring and profitable business could be more complicated than you realize.
Here is everything you need to know about starting your civil engineering company:
1. Get Your Qualifications
To start a civil engineering company, you’ll need to have a degree in a relevant field. Ideally, your expertise should be in civil engineering. But if your expertise happens to be in another engineering area, then field experience can help you branch out. Usually, however, civil engineers go on to start civil engineering companies.
If you don’t yet have a graduate-level degree, then you’ll need one before you can continue. If you’re already busy with work, or can’t afford expensive schooling, consider an online or distance learning course. While a relevant degree is essential, technical skills and fieldwork are just as important.
To gain your title as a ‘Professional Engineer’, you may also need to pass specific qualifying examinations. This can change depending on your state, as well as the country.
2. Write a Comprehensive Business Plan
A business plan is a corporate dossier that contains every detail about your company. From a general overview to the state of your finances, from your achievements to your goals, your business plan should list everything. Writing a comprehensive business plan enables you with crucial information about your business.
It helps you gain clarity about the current state of your business and enables you with the information you need to make the right choices when it comes to business decisions. You’ll also need to do market research when you write your plan. This is to gain the data you need to write a comprehensive plan.
Through your market research, you’ll be able to understand where your company fits in the industry, who your competitors are, and what the clients want. A solid understanding of this knowledge can make or break your company.
3. Sort Out Your Paperwork
When you register your civil engineering company, you’ll need to specify what your business entity will be. If you’re working alone and intend to hire just a few people in your company, then you can choose to operate as a sole proprietor. Alternatively, you can choose to partner up with friends, family or colleagues, to start your business. The business legal entities available are:
- Sole Proprietorship
- Limited Liability Company
Choosing the right one for your business is essential, especially as taxes and personal liability may be involved. A sole proprietor is the same legal entity as the business. Partners share weakness, LLC’s, as the name suggests, offers limited liability to owners, while corporations are a separate legal entity.
You should also check your local governing body and the state government’s website to ensure that you have all the permits and licenses you need.
4. Learn How to Lead
Many new civil engineering business owners make a common mistake: they focus more on their technical skills and less on managerial skills. As a business owner, this could be a risky move. This is as you’ll need to lead your business, whether it’s a small business or a large one, as well as your team.
If you only focus on your technical skills, then your business operations may fall apart. At the same time, you can’t just manage your business either, unless you’ve hired someone else to lead your team in your place. This may be expensive and isn’t always possible for new business owners.
What this means is that you’ll need to find the balance between focusing on management and administration, as well as work delivery. The importance of technical skills can’t be understated either, seeing as consistently providing quality work is what will turn your business into a success.
5. Choose Your Team And Your Services
As a civil engineering company, there are a lot of engineering services that you can offer. Your company can help develop roads and bridges, create geotechnical reports, conduct surveys, focus on construction management, and more. You’ll need to have a thorough understanding, as well as awareness of all the engineering services you have to offer.
For a small business owner, it’s better to focus on just a few engineering services so that you can focus on the quality and timely delivery of projects. You’ll also need to hire a team. Your team can be as small as five people or up to hundreds. However, the quality of each team member and what they bring to the table can play a massive role in bringing business success.
6. Grow Your Professional Network
The more extensive your professional network, the more likely you are to secure new clients through referrals. Attend every networking event relevant to your field. Make it a point to be open and inviting with other attendees. Forge solid connections and aim to develop a trustworthy and reliable business reputation for yourself.
Local fairs, expos and even the internet can be a great place to build solid professional relationships. Your professional relationships also include your supply network – from vendors to transporters. These people have a prominent role in how efficient and successful your business will be, so picking the right partners is essential.
7. Get Your First Clients
Your civil engineering company’s early clients will probably come through referrals, as it’s the most common way to get started. But you also have other avenues available to you. You can actively bid for projects, ask any clients who have worked with you for referrals or even use social media.
Facebook and LinkedIn are two popular resources that can help you connect with potential clients. Any time you get a client, remember to stay in touch with them even after you’ve delivered the project. This helps you to develop business-client solid relationships and improves the chances of getting recurring work from clients.
There are also other factors to consider, such as funding and getting your equipment in order. A bank or a lender can help you get started with funding, or you can even look for small business government grants. Don’t be afraid of investing in your business, whether through a loan or high-quality equipment purchases. The more you put into your business, the more you’ll get back.
To start a civil engineering company, you’ll need to have the right qualifications and licenses. You’ll need to do your market research, register your business and hire a great team. Finally, you’ll also need to market your business and ensure that you have steady clients.
Aside from these, your company can also benefit from getting insurance for engineers. Insurance engineering firms helps ensure that your business is financially covered if you encounter potential business risks. If you want to learn more about insurance for engineers, then click here.