Looking to start your own engineering firm? List of Steps to Take

October 18, 2022

Starting your own engineering firm is a daunting task. But with the right planning and execution, it can be an immensely rewarding experience. If you're a skilled and driven engineer with an entrepreneurial spirit, you could be ideally suited to starting your own engineering firm.

Starting an engineering firm is not something that should be taken lightly. Starting any company will be complex, but engineering comes with added obstacles to trading, such as insurance and securing the right qualifications. 

With engineering professionals always in high demand, there will always be a need for new and niche engineering companies to meet this demand. Engineering can also be a highly lucrative industry, so the earning potential as the director of an engineering company is very promising.

As the owner of your own engineering company, you will have the opportunity to grow your company in any direction that interests you. If you’re interested in starting your own engineering company or consultancy, here are the steps you need to take to get your new business off the ground.

Types of engineering companies

There are many different types of engineering companies to think about. You could be an engineering consultancy, providing services to clients on a project-by-project basis. 

You might want to start an engineering product company, designing and manufacturing your own products to sell. Or you could be a contractor, working with other engineering firms on specific projects or tasks. 

There are many different business models for engineering companies, so it’s important to decide which one is right for you before you get started.

Steps to setting up an engineering company

Steps to setting up an engineering company

1. Research the engineering industry

The first step is to gain a thorough understanding of the engineering industry. You'll need to know the ins and outs of the businesses that already exist, as well as the needs of potential clients. This research will help you determine what services you can realistically offer and how to best position your company in the market.

Research should form the foundation of your business so that you know precisely how to position and market your business. It will also help you to identify potentially lucrative gaps in the market that could allow you to grow your company faster. Knowledge is power when it comes to starting a business, so make sure you’re in the know before you start your journey.

2. Create a business plan

After you've done your research, it's time to start putting together your business plan. This document will outline your objectives, strategies, and financial projections. Your business plan should be as detailed and comprehensive as possible

A business plan will be essential in helping you secure funding and get your business off the ground. It will also help you to see if your company is financially viable and make you aware of potential opportunities alongside threats to your business. 

Your business plan should include financial projections to ensure that your business is commercially viable. You should also stress test your finances to make sure you can afford to keep running your business even if things aren’t as optimistic as you first thought.

A business plan is not only helpful for seeking investment in your company, but it can also help to keep you focused on your goals. It’s common for business owners to lose sight of their goals, so having a solid business plan will help you to remain focused on your objectives. 

If you're not sure where to start, there are plenty of resources available to help you write a business plan. You could also work with a business advisor to make sure that your business plan is sound.

3. Choose a legal structure

The next step is to choose a legal structure for your business. This will determine how you're taxed and the level of liability you'll face. There are several different options to choose from, so it's important to do your research and select the one that's best for your company. 

Most engineering companies are limited companies, as this will offer the best protection for your personal assets. It creates a separation between yourself and your company. Setting up a limited liability company is not difficult, but it does come with some additional responsibilities that you will need to be aware of. You will have to appoint an accountant to file your annual accounts and you will also need to manage your own personal tax accounts. 

4. Register your business

Once you've chosen a legal structure, you'll need to register your business with HMRC. You will need an accountant to register a limited company. This can be done online, and you'll need to provide some basic information about your business, such as your company name, address, and details of the directors.

You will have to file business accounts every year, and you will need an accountant to help with this. Working with an accountant that is familiar with the engineering sector will help you to lean on their expertise, but it isn’t essential. Accounts will be the same no matter the sector, so you can also choose a general accountant. The important thing is that they are reliable and trustworthy.

5. Purchase the right insurance

As an engineering firm, you'll need to purchase insurance to protect your business from risks. This will likely include professional indemnity insurance, which will protect you from claims arising from any mistakes or errors you make. 

You may also need public liability insurance to protect yourself against claims made by the public. Employee insurance will also help to protect your employees in the workplace. And business contents insurance will protect your equipment from theft and damage.

You should speak to an insurance broker to find the right policy for your business. Having the wrong insurance in place could leave you at risk, so it’s worthwhile to do your research and secure a higher level of coverage than you might need.

6. Lease or buy office space

Once you've got your business registered and insured, it's time to start thinking about office space. You'll need a place to meet with clients and house all of your equipment. If you're just starting out, you might want to consider leasing office space, as this will be more affordable than buying a property outright.

As a start-up, you could also cut costs by making the most of co-working spaces. This would allow you to hire a desk or small office in a shared office space, so you won’t be spending a lot of money on rental payments. 

Co-working spaces can be found in city centre locations, so you’ll enjoy a prestigious address to impress new clients, without paying for the upfront costs of leasing your own space. Many co-working spaces will have facilities like meeting rooms so you’ll still be able to entertain clients without concern.

7. Hire employees

As your business grows, you'll likely need to hire employees to help with the workload. When hiring engineers, it's important to find individuals who are skilled and experienced in the field. You can post job ads online or work with a recruitment agency to find the right candidates for your company.

Working with a specialist recruitment agency will allow you to connect with the right workers for your needs. If you choose to manage the recruitment process yourself and choose generic channels, you can expect to spend a lot more time filtering out the applicants.

Your team will be the lifeblood of your company, so it’s important to take your time with this step. Hiring the right people to represent your business will allow you to project the right image and offer the right skills to your potential clients.

8. Promote your business

The final step is to promote your engineering firm so you can find new clients and grow your business.  There are many different marketing channels you can use, such as online advertising, PR, and content marketing. You will also need a strong website with good visibility to enable potential clients to easily learn more about you and your services.

You'll need to experiment to find the ones that work best for your company. Networking will also be an essential part of promoting your business. Attend industry events and meetups to get your company's name out there.

As your portfolio of work grows, you’ll be able to rely on word-of-mouth recommendations. This will enable you to gather reviews, which will, in turn, grow your profile. A good marketing plan will help you to remain focused on the goal and ensure you are focusing your attention on the activities that are most likely to generate new business. 

Closing thoughts

By following these steps, you can get your engineering firm up and running in no time. Remember to do your research, create a comprehensive business plan, and promote your company so you can attract new clients. With hard work and dedication, you can build a successful engineering firm.

Nolan Recruitment is a Specialist Engineering Recruitment Agency. One of the UK's best Engineering & Technical Recruiter

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