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Companies other than consulting

Companies other than consulting

Companies other than consulting

I am wondering if anyone on here has started or been involved in the startup of a company that is not in the consulting business?  I am wondering about companies such as manufacturers, construction, recruiting and placement, etc...  All of these companies rely on engineers as much as anything (or should, anyways), but it is not something I have seen discussed.

RE: Companies other than consulting

I consult, when appropriate, but it's by no means the main course of my business.  I do not employ any other engineers as I tend to wear every hat (designer, accountant, web, etc.).  I do some construction, as necessary, but I prefer to have the bulk of my products manufactured out of house for speed and simplicity.  It depends upon how much you want your business to grow.

Dan - Owner

RE: Companies other than consulting

Maybe I should broaden my question: Is anyone on here responsible for running a company that isn't in the consulting business?  

The reason I am curious is that I've read that around 20% of all CEO's in the US have an engineering background.  I suppose though that by the time an engineer has progressed to that point, they have left any actual engineering far behind, and thus aren't on these boards.


RE: Companies other than consulting

The Business Practices section of the boards is dominated almost exclusively by discussion about the consulting business.  There are those of us not in the consulting business who nevertheless have "business" related questions, but it is difficult to find a good place to discuss them online.  I was hoping to see if this is a good place to do this.


RE: Companies other than consulting

Well I am not in consulting. I think that answers all of your questions so far.

RE: Companies other than consulting

ajak1, what business are you in?  Have you found that your education and previous experience in engineering has helped you in relation to the other hats you have to wear (as put by macgyvers2000), or have you had to learn those other skills on your own?

RE: Companies other than consulting

I own a small design company, as well as design we do rapid prototyping and outsource engineering, for example reverse engineering and producing automotive heritage parts.

Yes previous experience is a major part, but most things you learn as you go along, I think the company motto should be once bitten twice shy.

About the only thing I know for sure is I used to work for someone who I though didn't know what he was doing most of the time, now I know I do.

RE: Companies other than consulting

i have owned a pawn shop and a construction company.

RE: Companies other than consulting

I own a manufacturing company.  Started out working out of my house quoting widgets and subbing out all manufacturing work.  Then I bought out a vendor, so now I have all the joy of employees, a facility, property taxes, etc.  

My engineering background is what helped me figure out better ways to make widgets, and design new ones as needed.  Now, however, I try to look at my company itself as the "product", and work on ways to improve its functionality, robustness, and efficiency.  Looking at it that way, good engineering and good business are not dissimilar. As ajack says, you can pick up the detailed non-engineering knowledge needed as you go along.  If you made it through differential equations and higher engineering math, basic accounting shouldn't be too hard.

You may be right in that most non-consultant company owners have left most of their engineering, and these types of boards, behind.  It's a rare and nice day for me when I can spend 4 hours or so on design work.  As a manufacturer, I don't get paid for my time spent on a clever design, but if I designed it well enough I can potentially get paid over and over again as I manufacture it, which is nice.  Of course, I have to figure out whether there is a market for my widget, and I have to be cleverer and more cost efficient than my competion, without being so clever that he takes my design and has it manufactured at his factory in China and starts undercutting my pricing.

On the flip side, are there any engineers out there that own consulting companies, but no longer do any actual engineering?  Or do all consulting firms become partnerships as they grow, sharing the executive burdens among several partners while allowing them to spend a significant portion of their time doing billable engineering?  I could see pros and cons either way, depending on what you want.


RE: Companies other than consulting

Engineering is a pretty good base education for almost anything.  Oddly enough, over the past 25 years I've had 3 doctors, including my current family doctor, who went to engineering school, then medical school.

I am a licensed General Contractor and a licensed Roofing Contractor, as well as a licensed Professional Engineer....I have started and run both construction and engineering businesses, separately.  I prefer the engineering, so that's the only one I have now and will likely not venture otherwise.

Post your questions here.  The peer review process of the forum works well without regard to one's present status.  You'll be surprised at the diversity of answers and advice you'll get.

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