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  • 1.  Recommendations for opening an office or starting a business

    Posted 09-16-2019 10:09 AM
    ​Every once and awhile you hear of a new office opening up for a company or a completely new company starting. Does anyone have experience in opening a new office for a company or completely starting a new company? If so, do you have any points for individuals that are doing the same thing that they should keep in mind based upon your experiences?

    Kenneth Mika, PE M.ASCE

  • 2.  RE: Recommendations for opening an office or starting a business

    Posted 09-17-2019 09:10 PM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 09-17-2019 09:09 PM
    Hey Kenneth,

    I started an engineering business in January and opened a small office space in Ybor City. Since the business involved only me (no employees yet), I quickly found that renting office space was eating into my bottom line really fast. I ditched the office space and began working from my spare bedroom in my house (also in Ybor City) and I rented a virtual office.

    Virtual offices are office rents you pay for occasional meetings in the conference rooms and to receive mail at an office building for a fraction of the cost of typical office rent. They are perfect for small startups that are looking to keep operating expense low while building your enterprise.

    I'm going on nine months in business very strongly and the main thing I have to thank for that is low overhead. Like John D. Rockefeller said, "it's not about how much you make, but about how much you save!"

    If you have any other questions in your journey on starting your own business, feel free to reach me anytime.


    Dave Ureña, P.E.
    Banneker, LLC
    3104 N. Armenia Ave
    Suite 2
    Tampa, FL 33607

  • 3.  RE: Recommendations for opening an office or starting a business

    Posted 09-18-2019 07:47 AM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 09-18-2019 07:48 AM
    Hello Kenneth,

    I just interviewed a civil engineer who started his own firm 10 years ago and he gives advice for doing so in the episode:

    Starting A Civil Engineering Firm
    Engineering Management Institute remove preview
    Starting A Civil Engineering Firm
    Podcast: Play in new window | Download | Embed In episode 126 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I will be talking with Dax Hoff, PE who is the founder and owner of Dax Consulting. Dax outlines the process of starting a civil engineering firm and also covers some of the aspects of building an engineering business including finding new business and hiring the right people.
    View this on Engineering Management Institute >


    Anthony Fasano P.E., M.ASCE
    Engineering Management Institute
    Ridgewood NJ

  • 4.  RE: Recommendations for opening an office or starting a business

    Posted 09-18-2019 07:48 AM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 09-18-2019 07:48 AM
    Hi Kenneth,
    The best advice I received when I started my own business came from an architect friend of mine and I think it may apply to the engineering practice as well. He told me, "the number one thing you need are clients, the rest you'll figure out along the way." @David Urena had good advice to keep expenses low. I thought I would need all kinds of software, a new computer, an office etc but like David mentioned, I too quickly found out I needed none of that. In my current role we routinely hire distance based employees that need meeting space and office space. I see a lot of parallels for them as I did when I started my consulting firm.  I found it very hard in the beginning, as I spent time trying to be a marketer and salesperson. The main difference in starting a company vs starting a branch may be the amount of start up capital afforded. It's much easier when you have shared resources from the "mothership".

    ​Congrats to those branching out. A healthy number of friends have achieved success in starting their own firms and I wish you all the best!

    Jesse Kamm PhD, PMP, A.M.ASCE
    Senior Vice President of Construction Management

  • 5.  RE: Recommendations for opening an office or starting a business

    Posted 09-18-2019 08:58 PM

    I suggest you take a look at the book "Engineer to Entrepreneur: Success Strategies to Manage Your Career and Start Your Own Firm" by Rick De La Guardia and published by ASCE.

    Carlos Zuluaga Ph.D., EI, A.M.ASCE
    Ph.D. Student, Civil Engineering