The success of your engineering firm depends, to a great extent, on your ability to consistently complete projects on time. If you develop a reputation for completing projects on time, you will get many clients and your engineering firm will be successful. Conversely, if you develop a reputation for not completing projects on time, clients will shy away from awarding you engineering projects. Therefore, your engineering firm will start failing. So it is very important to ensure that you consistently complete the engineering projects you get to work on in a timely manner. Some of the strategies to help you in completing the engineering projects on time include:
- Deploying enough people to work on the projects: it is obvious that if you deploy enough people to work on the projects, you increase the probability of being able to complete the projects on time. It will cost you more, but it will be worthwhile if you look at the bigger picture.
- Investing in good quality equipment: good quality equipment will tend to enhance your engineering firm’s efficiency, thus helping you to complete the engineering projects on time.
- Hiring well qualified staff to assist you in the projects: you should aim to have people who can get things right consistently, so as to ensure that you won’t find yourself having to redo things (and hence end up delaying project completion).
- Getting your staff to work overtime (where necessary): the most important thing is to ensure that the staff are well compensated for working overtime. Then they will be motivated to put in even more hours, to help you complete the projects on time. You can even set up a portal similar to Walmartone.com through which the employees can transparently keep track of the hours worked and the earnings accumulated. So you allocate an account to each employee, similar to the Walmartone account, which the employee can log into, whenever he wants to see how much overtime he has worked, and what he has earned within that duration of time.
- Liaising with suppliers to get materials delivered in a timely manner: you really need to establish good relations with the material suppliers, to ensure that all the materials you need for the engineering projects are delivered on time. You need to communicate well with the material suppliers, ensure that the suppliers are paid on time, and give the suppliers ‘tips’ whenever they make timely deliveries. That way, the suppliers can be motivated to consistently ensure that the materials you need to complete the engineering projects are delivered on time.
Having managed to set up an engineering firm, one of the challenges you will be facing is that of maximizing the firm’s revenues. If an engineering firm doesn’t generate reasonably high revenues, it won’t be sustainable. An engineering firm has to generate enough revenues to cover its operating expenses, and leave some profit for the owners. Therefore the question on how to maximize your engineering firm’s revenues is bound to be an important one. All said and done, there are 3 main ways in which you can maximize your engineering firm’s revenues, namely:
- By taking up more projects: this is where you focus on volumes, in your bid to maximize your engineering firm’s revenues. So you bid for as many projects as your engineering firm can handle. The amounts you stand to earn per project may be modest. But if the number of projects is huge enough, the total earnings should be quite good.
- By taking up bigger projects: bigger projects are likely to pay more than smaller projects. Therefore if you take up just a few big projects, you may be able to maximize your engineering firm’s revenues. You may actually end up earning more this way than you’d have earned, if you took up many small (and hence low paying) projects. The key to success here is to network with the people who are likely to help you win the major projects, which tend to pay very well.
- By charging more for projects: sometimes, you may realize that your engineering firm simply doesn’t have capacity to take up any more projects. Yet you want to maximize the revenues. In such cases, the best option for you would be to charge more per project. For if you are taking up as many projects as you can, yet you are not maximizing your revenues, it means that you are probably not charging what you ought to be charging per project. Sometimes, your charges per project may be so low that you’d simply be better off folding up the engineering firm and finding a job at, say, UPS. That way, you’d at least be assured of visiting www.upsers.com (that is, after undergoing the UPSers registration process), and finding an assured paycheck. That would surely be better than running a loss-making engineering firm.
Having set up an engineering consultancy firm, your biggest aspiration will be to win major engineering contracts. It is only by winning (and working on) major engineering contracts that your new consultancy firm can generate enough funds to sustain itself. But then, you have to keep it in mind that there will be lots of other engineering consultancy firms, competing for the same contracts. Given those facts, then, the question that arises as to what exactly you need to do, in order to win the major engineering contracts. To address that concern, I will suggest some three simple things you can do, to increase your chances of winning major engineering contracts:
- Bid for the engineering contracts in the right way: this is a question of ensuring that, firstly, you bid for the projects in good time. You also need to ensure that you follow the right procedures in entering the bids, and in following up on the outcomes.
- Charge reasonable fees for the major engineering contracts: you have to appreciate that when all is said and done, the project owners will be keen on getting their work done at reasonable costs. If you charge reasonably low consultancy fees, you will have an advantage of other engineering firms that charge too much. Look at it this way: if you didn’t have an engineering firm, wouldn’t you (possibly) be working as a shop attendant or a clerk somewhere? Wouldn’t you be receiving modest paychecks through, say, the Securitas Epay portal – and that only after going through the paperlesspay talx login screen? Once you have that sort of perspective, you may be inclined to charge reasonable fees for your engineering projects. You’d do so knowing that if you charge unreasonable fees, your firm will be uncompetitive. And once your firm runs out of business, you may find yourself having to work in other firms, for much lower pay rates.
- Network with the people who award the major engineering contracts: this is not a question of canvassing for the engineering projects (which is at times frowned upon). Rather, it is a question of trying to make friends with the people who award the major engineering contracts. That way, they are likely to look at your bids with favor (as compared to the bids entered by people they don’t know).
There are several things you need to do, if you wish to succeed in your engineering career. Those are the things we will be focusing on in today’s article. This information is likely to be useful to people who are starting out in the engineering field, and who are at a loss as to what they need to do in order to be successful. Without further ado, if you want to succeed in your engineering career, you need to do:
- Take your work seriously: you need to treat every project that comes your way with the seriousness it deserves. It is very easy to grow complacent with time – to a point where you start taking projects lightly. That is exactly the kind of thing you need to avoid, if you wish to succeed in your engineering career. You need to understand that your decisions and your actions as an engineer are likely to affect the safety and convenience of many people (those being the people who are to use whatever you are working on).
- Relate well with your colleagues: if you have poor relations with your colleagues at work, your reputation will be dented. This will have a negative impact on the success of your engineering career.
- Network extensively: if you take the trouble to network extensively, you will be assured of work in the future. That would translate into greater probability for you to succeed in your engineering career. You therefore need to take the trouble to get acquainted with other people in the engineering field you work in. You need to try to be friends with as many people in the profession as possible.
- Continually update your skills: engineering fields tend to be very dynamic. If you don’t take the trouble to continually update your skills, you may end up becoming an ‘obsolete engineer’ in just a few years’ time. And this would probably have a negative impact on your finances and on your life generally. For if your engineering skills become obsolete, it means that you won’t be able to find work. You could then eventually end up in such a bad position financially that you can’t pay your Premier Bank card credit card bills – or any other utility bills. You’d then be well on your way to bankruptcy: all because you neglected to keep your engineering skills up to date. The way to avoid ending up in that predicament is by taking the trouble to continually update your skills.
What are the career options for a graduate engineer? This is a question that comes up frequently, in the course of career counseling sessions for engineering students. It is an easy question to answer: thanks to the fact that there are so many (real) opportunities available to graduate engineers. In this regard, engineering is different from certain other fields, whose graduates tend to have very few and far-fetched career opportunities. A course like engineering (any type of engineering) is unique in a certain way. You realize that an engineering course provides not just an abstract education, but also vocational/technical training. So by the end of it all, one is able to do certain practical things. One is able to execute actual engineering projects… When all is said and done, some of the career options open to a graduate engineer include:
- Setting up an engineering consultancy firm: this is one of the most lucrative career options for a graduate engineer, if it is done well. The challenge here is in getting the capital to launch the engineering consultancy firm, and in getting projects/contracts for the new engineering consultancy firm. Both challenges can be overcome, with the right level of effort. For instance, to get capital to start the engineering firm, one can opt to work in another engineering firm first (see point 2 below), or to work for a government department first (see point 3 below). Then you save whatever you earn, in order to raise the funds you need to set up your own engineering company. One can even opt to work for a non-engineering company, just to raise the necessary capital. You may, for instance, apply for a job at CVS. Then you’d go through the training on the CVSlearnet portal, and subsequently work at CVS for a couple of years or so. In that duration, you should be able to get the capital you need to establish an engineering firm.
- Getting employment in a private engineering firm: this can be a means to an end – like where you get employment at a private engineering firm with the objective of earning money to set up your own engineering firm. Or it can be the end in itself: where you opt to be working at other people’s engineering firms for your entire career. Sometimes, you come to figure out that you stand to earn more money working at other people’s engineering firms: more than what you’d earn from your own struggling engineering firm.
- Getting employment in a government department: various government departments hire engineers from time to time, and this too is an opportunity you can take advantage of.
- Going into the academia: this is where you opt to become an instructor at a college or polytechnic — because ultimately there has to be someone to train the future engineers. As an academic, you are assured of a paycheck at the end of the month, and you therefore don’t have to go chasing after ‘projects/contracts’ (like those who go into private practice). You therefore find peace of mind in the academia, even if the earnings are not as lucrative as in private practice.
Many upcoming engineers have dreams of having their own engineering firms someday. It is therefore not surprising that many of them are always keen on knowing what is required, to set up such firms. Whenever I talk to upcoming engineers, one of them is bound to ask me about the process of setting up an engineering firm. Usually, they want to know what exactly one needs to have, to set up an engineering firm. So, in today’s article, I decided to focus on the four things you need to have, when setting up such a firm.
Firstly, when setting up an engineering firm, you need to have real expertise. It therefore helps if you have a good engineering degree. It also helps if you have some real-life experience. You have to understand that as an engineering firm owner, people will be inviting you to serve as a consultant in their projects. You therefore need to have real expertise.
Secondly, when setting up an engineering firm, you need to have the necessary equipment. You can opt to buy the equipment. Or you can opt to be hiring the equipment when you need it. But you definitely need certain bits of equipment, to get an engineering firm going.
Thirdly, when starting an engineering firm, you need to have suitable premises to house it. Again, you can opt to buy the premises. Or you can opt to rent the premises. Either way, you need to have suitable premises. In most cases, an engineering firm is not the sort of enterprise you can run from a home office, especially if you care about credibility.
Fourthly, when setting up an engineering firm, you need to have a reasonable amount of capital. It is through the capital that you will be able to hire support staff, to help you running the firm. Further, it is through the use of capital that you will be able to acquire the equipment and premises you need in order to get the engineering firm going.