×
INTELLIGENT WORK FORUMS
FOR ENGINEERING PROFESSIONALS

Contact US

Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here

Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.
13

Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

(OP)
It is sometimes embarassing to not know how to do some of the bread n' butter  civil jobs that the average member of the population thinks we should do.  I'm doing a little exploration into some of these things, which I hope will pan out into some side-jobs.  I'm looking for items that your average contractor will deal with regularly, so there will be sure to be demand for these services.

Structural timber (houseplan) review and sealing seems to be a very self-contained activity which would be ideal for side work.  I've been reviewing the structural wood class I had in college.  I also plan to order some of the books from the American Wood Council, which I understand is the primary design manual for the residential timber industry.

On-lot septic seems to be another of these, but the design materials are a little more difficult to locate.  It seems that this is learned more by rote and OJT than in a design manual.  There are some regulations in the state code, and a state DEP seweage enforcement officer manual, but I haven't had a look at it yet.

Any other ideas?

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

2
I am always against anyone working “on the side”.

Firstly you have to be sure that you don’t take clients away from your current employer. You have a fiduciary duty to your employer NOT to do anything against his interests. Who is to say that the client that you get for a residential job would not be a potential client for a new factory. Would you refer him to the employer or be tempted to use this to go out on your own totally and become his competitor.

Secondly you need insurance, tools like computers and software etc. Can you afford to have the necessary supports in place for a few side jobs? The cost of simply being open for business is significant. (I work out of my house and am about $15,000 in the hole before I take in the first cent in a year. That’s right it takes me $15,000 in net income before I start to have anything for me.)

Thirdly you have an obligation to NOT use your current employer’s resources. This means taking calls during office hours (that is using the time that you have sold to the employer for outside business) or to use the employers computers, internet, library, software, large plotters etc.

What would you do when a side client demands something done right now? Call in sick? It will happen sooner or later you will have a need to meet with a client or building inspector or contractor on an urgent issue on a side job and guess what? They only work when you are supposed to be at your main job.

If you want to be a sole practitioner then make the break, hang out your shingle and be a business person competing fairly and openly in the marketplace.

There are lots of niche markets available to a sole engineer especially if you want to work in the residential markets. House inspections, design and plans, expert witness for court cases all come to mind. However be careful because while a business will freely pay normal engineering charge out rates a homeowner will only see you for the hour you are on site and not want to pay you for travel, research time, report writing time etc.

Homeowners also don’t want to pay normal charge out rates for engineers, “What do you mean twice salary cost? All I’ll pay is salary cost because all I am getting is time!” (Also where I live the Builder’s Liens Act specifically excludes engineers from placing a lien on a property to collect fees. If you are not paid then there is a real difficulty forcing payment.)

Other niche markets are contractors for temporary works like shoring and formwork, expert witness for court cases or advice on engineering matters to lawyers and arbitration and mediation of construction disputes.

Just quit your day job first. Then you can be a business man and compete openly and fairly with your fellow engineers.

Rick Kitson MBA P.Eng

Construction Project Management
From conception to completion
www.kitsonengineering.com

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

(OP)
Let me re-rail this thing before it gets out of hand.  Firstly, I wouldn't compete w/ my employer.  I work for someone who is too big to worry about on-lot septic, and has absolutely no stake in the structural business.  

Before doing anything, I need target markets to go for and the ability to design for those markets, which is what this thread is all about.  After I have that, I'll worry about insurance and meetings and the like.

Essentially, I'm an island.  Nobody where I work knows how to do the small jobs.  Furthermore, I can't just call somebody up and say, "Hey Mr. PE, I'd like to be your competition, can you give me a few pointers?"

Septic and residential structural are just two of many areas where a guy w/ a PE seal could compete.  Think of this as brainstorming.

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

Proletariat

I am in the same club as you.  My employer is too big and specializes in a totally different area from the majority of my qualifications.  There is no possible way I could compete with my employer without having 500 Billion in Cash.

I have lined out insurance for whenever I might need it.

I am also looking at some of the bread and butter boiler plate work that you are looking at.  

I also can do flood plain evaluations for insurance purposes following our state's guidlines.  This kind of work from experience with a small Environmental firm can become very cookie cutter because the houses need to be re-evaluated everytime they are re-sold.

It seems like only the very small engineering firms do much of the bread and butter work, and they even drop it when they pick up a large project or two.  Picking up the bread and butter projects would help both the customers and take pressure off the small guys from their main customers when they are swamped.

For this latter reason, I thought about approaching some of the small local firms to see if I could possibly work with them rather than totally against them being the engineer's engineer rather than a customer's engineer.

There has to be some niche where everyone would benifit.

You could always become a power Ebay seller in the meantime.

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

3

Quote (RDK):


I am always against anyone working “on the side”.

Funny thing - I was going to give the same advice, but I thought that I might sound too negative.

The idea of doing engineering work "on the side" always leaves me dumbstruck.

Now, I don't mean to be rude - but the fact is, your competition knows exactly what they're doing, and they've probably been doing it for many years.  You have to ask yourself honestly, "Who would want to hire me as an inexperienced part-timer?"

To train yourself how to do something, from a book from a class you took, doesn't really make much sense in the business world.  People want experts.  And, experience either has, or will eventually teach most people  - that when something matters, you pay a premium, and expect your "professional" to deliver.

The better route would be to take a job for (minimum) about 5 years in the skill which you wish to hire out, and then think about doing it full time.




**************
Check out CATBlog!

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

The other 2 posts came in while I was typing.

Nevertheless - are you SURE that you don't have any competition?  Are you SURE that nobody else is doing what you want to do?

It would be a really nasty thing to land a job, and then earn a reputation as being - well...  incompetent. (deserved or not)  It only takes a couple of mistakes, and you could end up spawning a comptetition pool.  Not good for a part timer.




**************
Check out CATBlog!

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

Proletariat,

How about?
1) Residential structural - beams for remodels, floor systems for "wanting to take a wall out", help on foundations for high backfill
2) Home inspections - get some training for the non-civil aspects (HVAC, elec., etc.)

If you are working it as a 2nd job, your overhead will be lower and some of the people who couldn't afford you and therefore would just wing it will now have access to some engineering advice. Bill yourself as the helpful engineer.

Good luck!

ZCP
www.phoenix-engineer.com

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.


You might not be competing with your employer but what about the issues of having to respond to issues on the side while at work?

You could get a call from a building inspector with questions about a design? They work the same hours that you do so taking the call would be stealing the time from your employer.

When are you going to inspect your design? Best time to inspect is when the contractor is on site. But that’s during business hours or are you going to steal that time as well?

If you want to be an entrepreneur and a business man then take the plunge. It’s much better on this side even if income can be uneven. If you want the security of a steady job with a large firm then stay there.

As far as I am concerned there are no half measures in this area.

Rick Kitson MBA P.Eng

Construction Project Management
From conception to completion
www.kitsonengineering.com

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

Quote (RDK):


As far as I am concerned there are no half measures in this area.

Right.




**************
Check out CATBlog!

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

RDK,

I have noticed you are very passionate about this issue. What is the Kitson Engineering story and how did you get started?

ZCP
www.phoenix-engineer.com

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

In business terms it's called 'keeping the entry barriers high' - standard technique to minimise competition by making it difficult to enter the marketplace.

Good Luck
johnwm
________________________________________________________
To get the best from these forums read FAQ731-376 before posting

Steam Engine enthusiasts: www.essexsteam.co.uk

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

Quote (johnwm):


In business terms it's called 'keeping the entry barriers high' - standard technique to minimise competition by making it difficult to enter the marketplace

Giving somebody good sound advice about not doing something half-assed is considered "keeping the entry barriers high"?

Please tell me, then - what barn was I born in?

You do, of course, realize that RDK's advice is not being given to someone with whom he will be competing?  Had that been the case, maybe it would sound a bit suspicious.  But even at that - competition, in the minds of most well adjusted people, is a good - no, GREAT thing.  It lets us know that we either need to get better at what we do, (always improve) or it shows us who we can work for, if we can't cut it!

Not very nice to stop by for a quick "hit and run."  I've disagreed with RDK on a number of things, but I can NEVER disagree with someone for encouraging someone to do the best they can, or not do it at all.

Your rhetoric leads me to believe that you've never owned your own business, and might be a little misplaced in this forum.  If I'm wrong, please share your experience...




**************
Check out CATBlog!

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

Zcp

I worked for government for 15 years and during that time was laid off twice. After the second layoff I started working for a private firm that had taken over the facility where I was working.

They reorganized after one year and I got my third layoff. I started the company to be in control of my destiny and am the only full time permanent employee.

I have lost a lot of business to people who have a full time job and undercut me on a price basis.

I also have picked up some business in fixing some of their problems that they have created simply because they could not be there when required by the client.

The bulk of my work is in construction management and the private firm that I worked for is one of my biggest clients. They and their associated companies plus one of their clients and a large consulting firm together account for over 80% of my revenue over the last 12 years. I have worked projects in 6 of the 10 Canadian provinces and in Europe. I am also currently in discussions with an organization for some work in Asia.

Between major jobs I do a lot of little stuff to keep busy and to cover the overhead. The little stuff is exactly the work that we are talking about here, residential work, small designs, inspections etc. I get most of it directly but also get a fair number of referrals from contacts in the large firms where the work is too small for them to be interested in.

I don’t mind having other competition. I do mind someone who is doing it simply for pocket change without all the expenses that I have because they are supported by their employer (computers, cell phones, reference material etc.) or are directly stealing the time from their employer to compete with me.

If I was doing this on the side I could use my home phone. I don’t know about where you live but here a personal phone is about half the cost of a business phone. Needless to say I have both a personal line and a business line in my house. Anyone with only a home phone has a cost advantage over me and is essentially cheating the phone company to get this advantage.

We are supposed to be an ethical profession although sometimes it is hard to see that fact.

Rick Kitson MBA P.Eng

Construction Project Management
From conception to completion
www.kitsonengineering.com

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

If you have a conflict with your employer , tell them what you are doing. Tell them they dont pay you enough to make ends meet. You will soon find out how valuable you are to them. Explain if you take time out for your business you will make it up. How many hours of unpaid work have you given them. You will find out if they trust you.

Alternative do as I did switch to working on a contract basis where you are paid on an hourly basis. Then you provide services not on an employee basis but as a sub contractor.

Time is a dreadful way of renumeration. I saved a company $1/2million with few hours work. So how does that compute? Companies like time emasurement as its easy to measure. Contribution is what is valuable so either you are worth something or you are not.

If you make your position open to your  employer and you are laid off then I wouldnt go into business as there is at least one senior engineer who doesnt think you are valuable enough.

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

Stanier - I can't tell you how wrong you are, on multiple accounts.

If anyone here is having any thoughts of folowing your advice, I'd beg them to consider twice.  Because the alternative to "finding out if they trust you", is to paint a target on your back.  Your advice is wonderful, if you fancy yourself something of a maverick.

Almost anytime someone assigns self-worth against the backdrop of corporate interests, they are almost destined for trouble.  Cheers to you if it worked in your case - but it's not realistic in about 99% of the cases.

I wish I could give negative stars for the advice you just gave....




**************
Check out CATBlog!

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

Solid7,

I agree with your very good point. You have to be very good to go out on your own. It is better you find out early rather than later what soemone thinks of you. Customer feedback is necessary in business.

I advise people that want to go out on their own that they should have sufficient funds to last a year without work.

If you work on a contract basis you do not have to divulge your intentions. You are an independent contractor. If you are an employee you have an ethical obligation to reveal your intentions and take the consequences. If you sneak aroundwith a side business and get found out, then get sacked and try to make a go of it your past has to be lived with.

Many companies like to reduce staff numbers but keep skills available. Allowing someone to go out on their own can be a case in point. You first client may be your last employer.

The big "but" is would they use you? Do you have the resources to meet their needs? Would they want you to work for a competitor? Best you find out as you cant guess it.

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

Well, here is how I see it. RDK, I applaud your passion, but this forum is titled "starting and running an engineering business". It seems like every time someone comes on here with ideas or questions about that subject, you jump in as the moral police and steer them into a "don't steal from your employer" soapbox. While your advice is excellent, it just seems better served in the ethics forums than it does in this one.

Don't get me wrong, RDK, eng-tips would not be the same without your immediate responses and stoking of the thought process....I guess I am just saying I think you should lighten up on the entreprenuers coming to this particular forum.

**Please note that tone of voice is impossible to convey in simple text, so understand that I say this to you with the utmost respect because I actually agree with you on many of your points. I just don't want to blunt the entreprenuer spirit that I feel this forum is here to foster.

ZCP
www.phoenix-engineer.com

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

I’m not trying to blunt the entrepreneur spirit. I welcome the addition of other small firms. If there were a lot more of us out there then it would become more of an accepted practice for teams to come together to bid on larger works and the owners would no longer be able to treat a project specific team as some sort of pariah to be avoided.

If someone is talking about starting a business I will support them with whatever advice and information that I can provide. I have done that in many threads and giver out some detailed and specific information on costs of doing business and pitfalls to be avoided.

I have said in this thread and many similar ones that if you want to be a business owner/operator then be one. If you want to be an employee then be one of those.

Just don’t try to have your feet in both camps.

If you are not willing to plunge in and bet the house and RRSP/IRA then you most likely do not have what it takes to be a business owner.

To operate a business on the side, stealing time form your employer, cheating the phone company by doing business on a home phone, not fully serving the clients because you have a day job obligation that prevents you from responding in a timely manner is not a fair way to compete with your fellow professional engineers.

As far as separating our ethics from the operation of a business this is not possible. Our ethics are what define us and to operate a business or to undertake any endeavor must be in compliance with ethical concerns. I will continue to bring the ethical issues up in any and all threads where there is an ethical angle to the issue.



Rick Kitson MBA P.Eng

Construction Project Management
From conception to completion
www.kitsonengineering.com

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

Thank you for your note of welcome

Quote (solid7):

Your rhetoric leads me to believe that you've never owned your own business, and might be a little misplaced in this forum.  If I'm wrong, please share your experience...
I've followed this forum with interest for over 3 years, and I've run my own business for around 20 years. I believe that it's incumbent on us, when giving advice or making comments in a business-oriented forum, to help people to recognize that business knowledge as well as engineering knowledge is a prerequisite of a successful business. I wasn't commenting on whether I felt previous posts were right or wrong, merely pointing out a standard business practice.
If you feel that I was attacking you personally, then I apologise, as I had no such intentions. I am always disappointed with ad hominem attacks in these forums, wherever they come from.

Good Luck
johnwm
________________________________________________________
To get the best from these forums read FAQ731-376 before posting

Steam Engine enthusiasts: www.essexsteam.co.uk

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

Quote (johnwm):


If you feel that I was attacking you personally, then I apologise, as I had no such intentions.

I didn't feel that you were attacking, so much as *speaking for* others, who *include* myself - and I wholeheartedly disagree with your comment. (did then, and do now)

Now that you've explained that you've been in business for 20 years, (I respect you for that) it becomes clear - at least to me - that there has been a paradigm shift amongst some of us, that is not yet apparent to others of us.

I'm a bit younger than many of you - but I thrive on competition, and my remarks, in no way, are meant to limit competition.  I am fully confident in my abilities, and improving myself, and trying to do better work than my compeition is the spice of life for me.




**************
Check out CATBlog!

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

Doing a side job in addition to your regular employment would be considered a temporary phase until the side jobs grow to a proportion that justifies terminating your regular job.

In addition, I've had plenty of employers who have taken advantage of me. So have my other engineering friends. Why shouldn't the tables be turned once in a while? From what I've seen ethics are optional for most businesses and only when it suits them.

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

Quote (MrMojito):


Doing a side job in addition to your regular employment would be considered a temporary phase until the side jobs grow to a proportion that justifies terminating your regular job.

That might be true if you are in college, working at McDonald's, and doing an internship.

It is my belief that the key to this whole thread, is that engineering isn't the kind of work that lends itself well to "part time" plus a regular job.  There are many variations of the old saying, "a man cannot serve 2 masters."  That's really the main point.

I am always keenly aware that I can be wrong about any subject.  But here are the questions that I'd like to pose to anyone who is:

A) discussing the idea of "part-time" engineering
B) arguing passionately in favor of it
C) really believing that it works

How exactly do you "grow" a "side" business?  How do you devote enough attention to 2 jobs to see that you can hold one, and grow the other, during hours that coincide with each other?

When is the crossover point, at which you decide to go full-time?  When is it wise to drop the "regular" job, and concentrate full-time on the other?  How will you gain new customers in the meantime?  How many opportunities will you miss along the way?  What kind of reputation will you have as a businessman if you are known as a "part-timer?"

I have yet to see anyone really develop this topic in an intellectual manner.  There is a lot of "what if" and "but I could", but if I were a debate moderator, I wouldn't be convinced that it works....

Of course, this isn't really a debate, but let's be fair to someone who is getting themselves into something.  They asked a question in good faith, and as patrons of the forum, and business owners, we owe it to them to give an honest answer, even if it isn't what they might want to hear.

Quote (MrMojito):


From what I've seen ethics are optional for most businesses and only when it suits them.

That's a wonderful attitude.  You have no right to accuse ANYONE, if you are willing to do the same things - it's circular reasoning, and certainly counterproductive.

Many of us who are in business see it as a way to do things as we would like to see them done. (not as has been done to us)  I am only speaking for myself, when I say that my professional reputation means so much more to me than "getting even."  Hopefully, I'll be stunningly successful, and I'll have a chance to be a model businessman and citizen - someone that other people would like to work for, and see as a good mentor.  

I guess it's pointless to discuss the merits of ethics with those that have none, though.




**************
Check out CATBlog!

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

One more point on the subject - I've seen many more entrepeneurs who have started engineering businesses, only to END UP with a "side" business - than I have seen, who successully transition from "side" job to full time self employment.

The moral? - You've got to be good to be a full-timer.  How much better, then, to be a part-timer?




**************
Check out CATBlog!

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

Could you explain which part of my original post you take such exception to?

Quote (solid7):

I didn't feel that you were attacking, so much as *speaking for* others, who *include* myself - and I wholeheartedly disagree with your comment. (did then, and do now)
My comment wasn't intended as a statement of personal opinion for or against free enterprise, or for or against restrictive practices, and certainly wasn't trying to speak for you. It is and was a simple statement of fact. Raising entry barriers is a method of reducing potential competition. It seems fruitless to engage on a questioning of my background and experience rather than recognising business reality.

I still consider your comment about me being out of place in this forum as an unwarranted ad hominem attack

Good Luck
johnwm
________________________________________________________
To get the best from these forums read FAQ731-376 before posting

Steam Engine enthusiasts: www.essexsteam.co.uk

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

Quote (johnwm):


I still consider your comment about me being out of place in this forum as an unwarranted ad hominem attack

I told you that I disagree with you statement, because you dropped it like a little gift, didn't define context, and seemingly expected that everyone would understand.  Who were you talking about?  Who is it that you think is raising the entry barriers?  And in what area do you speak of?

Your "statement" leaves me asking more questions than it answers!

I also told you - If you have experience, I respect that - but your statement, as I viewed it, lacked tact, given the order in which it appeared, and the lack of explanation.  You stated it so authoritatively, that it seemed that you were expecting it be accepted by all.

I was hoping that I could draw you back for an explanation... (hence my statement - "if I'm wrong" - a bit of a troll I admit)




**************
Check out CATBlog!

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

Many people who do engineering on the side also aren't interested in growing a large business, but rather to have an opportunity to work on other stimulating projects, as time allows, and as a way to supplement their income.  I know that is my case.  I do not have the time to devote to starting another full time business, I do not have sufficient start-up capital to abdandon my current job and still support my family, but I would like to broaden my horizons, expand my network, learn new things (you learn from every project you work on), and if I can add a small amount of money to my balance sheet in the process then that is great.

Just my two cents.

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

Optional Ethics?

Ethics are what you do for yourself not for or in response to the actions of others.

If someone treats you in an unethical manner then that is one issue, it does not grant you permission to retaliate in an unethical manner or to treat someone else in an unethical manner.

Rick Kitson MBA P.Eng

Construction Project Management
From conception to completion
www.kitsonengineering.com

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

Solid7

The moral? - You've got to be good to be a full-timer.  How much better, then, to be a part-timer?

I gave you a star for this one

Amen

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

Proleteriat
I suggest that you offer your services to surveyors that need engineering work done. This is a good way to get started since they already have the clients. You could do drainage studies, hydro reports, flood studies, simple subdivision design, etc. Let me know what you decide to do. I do think that you would be better off being full time but the reality is that you have to start somewhere. If you are careful you can be ehtical about this....but do get insurance.

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

Ah! "Insurance" The White Man's Burden . Ref Goonshow 1950's BBC Radio. Goonshow recordings available from all BBC and ABC shops.

For those who dont know this radio programme look for Harry Secombe, Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Eric Sykes and Michael Bentine biographies. Its a British thing that may have got across the Atlantic.

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

proloteriate
Your getting lots of advice so let me throw in my 2 cents worth.
If you weren't makeing enought or needed more money and took a second job working the night desk at a motel, selling used cars or flipping hamburgers would it necessarly be any of your employeers business?

If you do get part time work do't let it interfear with your primary job, no phone calls, no time off etc.  Whoever your working for will have to understand that your not availabel at times.  If they need you for a day take vacation or time off  without pay. If your were flipping hamburgers you wouldn't do that on your regular job time, treat the engineering work the same way.
Keep the job to yourself.  Let people find out you have a mistress before they find out you have another job.

You will use some of the knowledge you gained from your presnet employer.  But then you brought some of your books and infomation to them and you brought a hard earned education. I doubt if they payed for your education. The body of knowledge that is yours is a result of your experience you'll take it with you to your next job and the next.  When you leave your present job the HR people aren't going to put on darkglasses and flash a red light in your eyes to make you forget all you learned. It's a two way street, they gain you learn.

Be prepaired to pay the price, if they find out and are jerks you may be on the beach.

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

BJC

I dont think money is as important as independence in this issue. the poster of this message appears to want to move to an independent operation and use his employer base as a springboard. If wanted money we wouldnt be engineers would we, independent or not?????

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

"If you weren't makeing enought or needed more money and took a second job working the night desk at a motel, selling used cars or flipping hamburgers would it necessarly be any of your employeers business?"  BJC

Well, it might be, depending on what the work is.  If you take a position as City Council member of a city that your firm does work for, you have potential conflict of interest issues.  My employment contratc specifically states I need to notify my firm of outside employment, to head off potential conflicts of interest, and to prevent me from competing with my firm.

"If they need you for a day take vacation or time off  without pay."  BJC

This too can be a problem.  If you're working on the side, and on short notice need a day off, that screws up the schedule for the day job.  Been thru this with a former employee-had meetings planned, and they call in they need a day off.  You need to be responsible about this.  A day off without pay still costs the day job in overhead.  Your salary is only about 75% of your cost to your company.  

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

(OP)
Two posts to this thread were on topic.  Mr. (or Mrs.) Uncivilized and ZCP; thank you for your advice.  I don't know who's questions the rest of you were answering.

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

No problem. It is Mr. by the way.

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

there was a large case here in alberta recently written up in the PEGG

An engineer would stamp anything, I mean anything for $100.
when looking at builders and house plans we saw his stamp everywhere.
every time you asked who would stamp or calc his name came up. the builders though it ws fine, but everybody else was driven out of the market.
it caught up with him a in a major failure failure of
a system he had no design or calcs, and it failed. Fines and lost his license, his firm , name dragged through the mud. trouble is , nobody will touch that market here now because of the ridiculous expectations he created of professionals by the builders and the industry.
ie they still want to pay $100

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

Quote (proletariat):


I don't know who's questions the rest of you were answering.

I'm sorry that you can't endure sound business advice.  If it's "bread and butter" that you want to earn, then you're certainly entitled.  I'm sure that you'll have no problem making exactly that - and some of us should have known better than to infringe upon your modest quest.  It's just that most of us are used to making real money, and may have mistakenly thought that you would only be interested in pursuing a truly fruitful venture. (hence the unsolicited advice from people who are ACTUALLY already in business for themselves)  You have my most sincere apologies.

Please follow up, and share your experiences, preferrably at 3 month intervals.  That way, this topic may never have to come up again.




**************
Check out CATBlog!

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

RDK,

I am thinking about starting my own company.  I would ideally like to be in the position where I can dedicate a large portion of my time to giving irrelevant advice on internet blogs.  I noticed that you have a lot of advice, and a lot of time.  Could you please give me some suggestions?

Thanks.

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

2
AZkiddy

RDK has a successful business and he spends time here advising people, usefully. You on the other hand, don't appear to do either, at all.

Cheers

Greg Locock

Please see FAQ731-376 for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips.

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

Azengineer

Be organized so that you have time to devote to your hobbies, like participating in internet discussion sites.

Never be a smart a$$ and deliberately  pi$$ people off because sooner or later it will come back at you.


Rick Kitson MBA P.Eng

Construction Project Management
From conception to completion
www.kitsonengineering.com

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

It never has before...  Actually, being a smart A$$ has probably gotten me more business than I would have otherwise seen.

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.


Greg - who is AZkiddy?

Deleted post, maybe?




**************
Check out CATBlog!

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

If you really want to work on the side, I suggest contacting your local university and see if they have any adjunct faculty positions.  I did this for awhile and it worked out as great PR for my company and they were very willing to let me have time off as long as I made it up.  Plus, nothing makes you learn something better than having to teach it.

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

Frankly, as a business owner, I'm not worried in the least about competing against engineers working on the side.  They simply can't produce the same quality product I can in the same time, and they can't give the same level of service during the day.

Generally, people who use engineers that work on the side are the same people that will call me up on a $5000 proposal and tell me that XYZ company will do it for $50 less.  I fire those clients all the time - for obvious reasons.

I'd like to give the original poster a cautionary note.  If you are engineer working in an area in which you are inexperienced (I got this impression as you said you were going to review this or that manual) and you make a mistake, either in the engineering or in the submittal process, you will probably be caught with your pants down, with unknown consequences to you either professionally or personally.

As an example, if Joe Blow calls me up and lets me know that he tried to use you, but the government agency would not accept your submittal and asked to review the submittal and correct it; and supposing I did find a series of errors, I would take all the appropriate actions.

Be real careful.

I won't comment on the moral issues which seem to embroil so many who post here...

Zoom

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

Quote:


Generally, people who use engineers that work on the side are the same people that will call me up on a $5000 proposal and tell me that XYZ company will do it for $50 less.  I fire those clients all the time - for obvious reasons.

And how exactly do you "fire a client"?  I've always understood that it's the client that has executive privilege.  Not to mention, at the point that they're haggling, it seems to me that they're still just "potential" clients.  Such a stance (as you have taken) should surely weed them out before they ever get a chance to burden you as a "regular" client.

Quote:


I'd like to give the original poster a cautionary note.  If you are engineer working in an area in which you are inexperienced (I got this impression as you said you were going to review this or that manual) and you make a mistake, either in the engineering or in the submittal process, you will probably be caught with your pants down, with unknown consequences to you either professionally or personally.

No doubt about that.  While it's true that there's always risk in business, in general, it takes a good bit of time to hone professional skills.  If you're wearing "many hats" for the first time, you really should do what you know how to do, and do it well.


---
Professional and reliable CAD design engineering services - Specializing in Catia V4, Catia V5, and CAD Translation.  Catia V5 resources - CATBlog

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

I'm curios abut RDK's comment that using your home phone is in some way cheating the phone company.

Do they provide some sort of enhanced service to business owners?

Sure, they have their marketing plans and if you set up a business account there are probably certain tax benifets that don't apply if you use a home home phone, but I'm not sure I recognize anything as cheating.

It seems like a trade, more of a business decision that anything else.

What would be the basis for considering it cheating?

I'm just curious.

RE: Bread and butter civil engineering tasks for work on the side.

Quote:


I'm curios abut RDK's comment that using your home phone is in some way cheating the phone company.

Could be just a Canadian thing...

There are literally hundreds of thousands of US home-based businesses, and they are doing absolutely nothing morally or ethically wrong by using a home number.  The phone companies certainly don't mind listing these businesses - and they have the records to prove that the home and business numbers match.

There may be certain business activities which require an upgrade to a business account.  But to say that using a home phone for business is "cheating" the phone company, is simply outlandish.  I have spoken with our phone company about this, and they have no problem with it, whatsoever.

Yes, though - business accounts do receive enhanced services, and in many places, are the only way to get certain things - like a static IP address for your internet connection, for example. (this is why I actually had the conversation with the phone company)  It has more to do with what services and facilities the phone company is willing to provide to a residential block, (as opposed to commercial) than what they're trying to keep you from doing on your personal line.  Simple business, just like your decision whether or not to opt for those services.


---
Professional and reliable CAD design engineering services - Specializing in Catia V4, Catia V5, and CAD Translation.  Catia V5 resources - CATBlog

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.


Resources

Low-Volume Rapid Injection Molding With 3D Printed Molds
Learn methods and guidelines for using stereolithography (SLA) 3D printed molds in the injection molding process to lower costs and lead time. Discover how this hybrid manufacturing process enables on-demand mold fabrication to quickly produce small batches of thermoplastic parts. Download Now
Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM)
Examine how the principles of DfAM upend many of the long-standing rules around manufacturability - allowing engineers and designers to place a part’s function at the center of their design considerations. Download Now
Taking Control of Engineering Documents
This ebook covers tips for creating and managing workflows, security best practices and protection of intellectual property, Cloud vs. on-premise software solutions, CAD file management, compliance, and more. Download Now

Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close