Do you Have What It Takes to Become a Civil Engineering Consultant?

Do you Have What It Takes to Become a Civil Engineering Consultant?

When thinking about become a civil engineering consultant, it is easy to get lost in the appeal of becoming the engineer with all the solutions to the problems of high net worth clients and one that is highly revered in engineering circles. Of course there is the attraction of the money.  However, becoming a civil engineering consultant is a lot more complicated than the picture painted.

Firstly, apart from the immense experience required to become a civil engineering consultant, you need to have all the characteristics of an entrepreneur and an astute businessman. You need to know your strengths and exactly how they can be harnessed to deliver on a wide range of difficult engineering projects.

You can only enjoy success as a consultant if you have a good business sense to go with your unique knowledge and skill set. You must also have the right approach for dealing with your target audience. Success in your career as a civil engineering consultant goes beyond monetary value. You will enjoy the satisfaction that comes with knowing that you are always capable of delivering value on projects deemed difficult by other professionals in the industry.

Before you begin your search on how to become an engineering consultant, you need to understand that being a consultant is not for everyone. To succeed, you need more than just proficiency in the civil engineering field.   Here is a quick checklist showing what you need to become a successful consultant:

  • Professional competence
  • Interpersonal skills to communicate effectively with high net worth clients
  • Capability to make sound business decisions
  • Excellent communicator and man manager
  • Proficiency in marketing and selling your specialty

If you don’t tick the above boxes, your civil engineering consultancy may have failed before it have even gotten off the ground.

Top Questions to Ask Before Starting a Civil Engineering Consultancy Practice

Do You Enjoy Marketing?

Even as a highly experienced engineer, you will need to spread word about your practice and expertise. Established engineering consultancy firms can hire professional marketing groups but it may be too costly for you in the early days.

Can You Work to a Deadline?

Engineering projects are tasking at all levels but as a consultant, you clients expect you to have a solution ready at the agreed deadline. It could require immense sacrifice to keep up with deadlines, one that you may not be equipped to undergo.

Can You Manage Other Professionals?

As a consultant, you will be required to work with other engineering professionals. You need to have the skills to bring the group together while delivering convincing solutions in a way that they can easily appreciate. You will also need the skills to soothe irate professionals or clients over the course of a project.

Can You Handle Your Finances?

If you do not decide how to run your finances in the early days, your consultancy days may not last long. If you allow your finances to degenerate, you could end up accepting civil engineering projects you can’t complete, damaging your credibility.

What is Your Fall Back Option?

If you start your own engineering consultancy practice, you must be ready to face lean periods with no projects. Will your family be in support? How will you cope during this period?

If you do not have the right answers to the points and questions raised here, it may be best to stay in paid civil engineering employment a little longer.

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