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Books on running a professional engineering consultancy.
7

Books on running a professional engineering consultancy.

Books on running a professional engineering consultancy.

(OP)
There seems to be limited literature on running an engineering consultancy that touches on topics such as tendering strategy, professional fees and construction supervision. I only know the following:
(1) How to Select and Work Effectively with Consulting Engineers - Getting the Best Project (ASCE, 2011; and
(2) Engineer to Entrepreneur - Success Strategies to Manage Your Career and Start Your Own Firm (Guardia, 2016).

Book (1) is focused on public sector clients while Book (2)is quite prescriptive, though it makes for a good read. Furthermore, these books are both based on American practice.

Are there any recommendations for books on running a successful engineering consultancy? Highly appreciated!

RE: Books on running a professional engineering consultancy.

4
Those who can, do.
Those who can't, teach.
Those who can't teach, write books.

RE: Books on running a professional engineering consultancy.

@Eugene_Lim

I have not read any of these, but some of the PSMJ stuff is good. I did their PM bootcamp years ago which as semi-useful.

https://www.psmj.com/books

RE: Books on running a professional engineering consultancy.

Good luck finding such a specific book.

Dave Ramsey's Entreleadership is the most useful business book I've read so far. It's extremely practical. Ramsey is known for his personal finance advice, obviously, but I think this book is his best.

RE: Books on running a professional engineering consultancy.

(OP)
Thank you all for your responses.

@JedClampett - I get your point. I agree to a certain extent. However, in other fields, there are top people who write books. I think there maybe other reasons e.g. market, sales, etc.

@glass99 - Thank for introducing PSMJ!

@271828 - Looks good. I will get a copy.

RE: Books on running a professional engineering consultancy.

You want to find a copy of, "Practice Management for Design Professionals: A Practical Guide to Avoiding Liability and Enhancing Profitability" by John Bachner. Check Amazon or Abebooks for used copies, usually they run about $25. It's the most comprehensive book on running a design firm professionally I've found. It is a bit dated, but fundamentally it is very sound. Good luck.

RE: Books on running a professional engineering consultancy.

Haven't read Bachner's book, but my experience with a consultancy is there never was much in print which I could use that dwelt on the legal aspects, especially how to avoid being sued. Maybe searching references that lawyers use might help.

RE: Books on running a professional engineering consultancy.

Bachner TOC
1. Professions, Professionals, Professionalism
2. Professional Engagement
3. Executing a Professional Commission
4. Professionals and the Law
5. Contracts for Professional Services
6. Professional Liability Insurance
7. Professional Risk Management
8. Dispute Resolution
9. Basic Economics of Professional Practice
10. Professional Human Resources Management
11. Professional Services Marketing and Business Planning
12. Professional Business Development
13. Communicating as a Professional

RE: Books on running a professional engineering consultancy.

@Umbricus Agothopus: thanks for posting the Bachner TOC- that does look very classic.

I found a partial extract of the book online, and it reads like people were talking when I started my career in the 90's. There was a lot of hand wringing and complaining about how the ASCE fee schedule was made illegal in 1976 and liability etc.

RE: Books on running a professional engineering consultancy.

There is a hazard in trying to establish a practice from reading books instead of gaining experience in the employ of others, working in the same market.

I've encountered ambitious souls intent on consulting who despite great higher education or great credentials,
1) did not understand the application of practical parts of equipment specifications. One can design stupendous systems using components that are not available or would represent custom equipment, or might not meet local code requirements. A big liability.

2) did not understand the business culture of the market they are entering. What seems like identical work may vary much just based on professional obligations specified by different jurisdictions.

Examples encountered include an engineer with decades of experience in aircraft design, trying to start a building system design consultancy; another engineer with advanced degrees that had no idea about catalogued equipment and UL listing requirements; and several times engineers from other jurisdictions that made wrong assumptions as to what was expected within the area as construction work packages, assuming content was somehow added by governing authority that in this area is normally provided by the consultant. Bad results all the way and muddies the water for legitimate engineers.

A book might be great to tune up an existing practice, but not much more.

RE: Books on running a professional engineering consultancy.

Quote (Electic)

Examples encountered include an engineer with decades of experience in aircraft design, trying to start a building system design consultancy

It's difficult to believe that someone with an aircraft design background would design buildings right out of the gate.

In the eternal struggle between people who do and people who manage, I think it's good for the people who do to know something about management.

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