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Owning and Operating a Small Engineering Company

William N. Weaver, P.E. and John C. Huang, Ph.D., P.E.

Course Outline

The course covers the idea of owning a small engineering company from the selection of a name and logo through the various requirements for employees, contracts and work output. The benefits and effort required by the new owner are laid out in various sections.
Information is presented on insurances and various state and government impacts on operations and permitting. Discussions of working relationships with clients and contract type selection plus development of billing rates is covered.  Some guidance is presented on establishing the type of company to be created along with the effects of company growth.

References are provided to lead the engineer to a deeper understanding of the insurance and contract possibilities available.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

When completed the following learning objectives should have been achieved:

General Course Information

The course contains a broad introduction to the creation and operation of a small engineering company. The impacts of the various activities required to operate and pitfalls associated with them are discussed.

Points covered include legal, sales and advertising, contracts, insurances and selection of the type of company to be created. Particular emphasis is given to the reasons for creating the company as well as the need to create a structure which can change and grow.

An introduction to billing rates and how they are generated and what must be included for the company to be profitable. The importance of controlled growth and adding employees is explored.

Intended Audience

The course is directed at engineers considering going out on their own and building their own future their way.

Benefits to Attendee

The intended audience will receive the following benefits from this course material.

Course Introduction

This course material is designed to introduce the engineer to the benefits and activities involved with owning and operating a small engineering company. A brief exposure is provided to the various sales, insurance, licenses, employee relations, billing rates and bid types for work required. Cautions about various pitfalls and the critical nature of planning ahead for company growth and change are included.

Course Content

The course content is in the following PDF files:

Owning and Operating a Small Engineering Company

Attachment A

You need to open or download above documents to study this course.

Course Summary

Completion of this material will provide the engineer with sufficient information to understand the scope of and how to begin the process of establishing his / her own company. Many of the details of owning and operating a company are presented which are normally not seen by employees. Pitfalls and problems are presented along with some ideas as to their solution or avoidance.


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.