The first two lists included here relate to the start of a Consulting Engineering Practice.


This is one of the most important and frequently overlooked steps in the process of starting your own engineering practice. When I started my practice, I didn’t even know what a business plan was. That is probably why I “stumbled” along by the seat of my pants and succeeded by luck and perseverance.

Why is a business plan important?

  • It is the “structure” of your practice which precisely defines your company and identifies your goals.
  • It will organize your thoughts and will give you a “game plan.”
  • It will help you make a “go/no go/or wait” decision.
  • It will help you in forecasting funding needs and securing “financing.”

It is critically important that you have patience and take the time to properly research and thoughtfully write a clear and concise document. It will be necessary to update this business “guide” annually.

During your first year in business, you will find it helpful to compare projections to actual cash flows on a monthly basis, to adjust expectations accordingly, or to modify actions to compensate.


John D. Gaskell, Retired P.E. (Jack)

Jack’s Comment – The “Pre-Start-Up Check List” will reveal the many necessary and time consuming details of starting your own Engineering Practice that can be done in advance.

Consulting Engineering – “PRE-START-UP CHECKLIST”

  • Verify “Ownership Agreement.”
  • Verify “Cash” Availability.
  • Apply for a “Loan” and/or a “Line of Credit” (if needed).
  • Prepare a realistic “Time Table” for all activities.
  • Update insurance quotes.
  • Prepare your “Company Brochure.”
  • Prepare your “Business Announcement.”
  • Select your “Letterhead & Business Cards.”
  • Plan your website.
  • Update your “Client List.”
  • Make a list of “Library Materials” needed (catalogs, etc.).
  • Prepare your “Standard Documents.”
  • Prepare your “Operations Manual.”
  • Prepare CAD & BIM Files and standards.
  • Finalize “Rental Space” selection.

It is important that you realize that the tasks in the “Pre-Start-Up Checklist” will likely take 2 to 6 months in your spare time, if done carefully and thoroughly.

Jack’s Comment – The “Final Start-Up Checklist” will uncover which things should only be done after you have Cast Off (You have decided, given notice and are ready to go public and actually start your own Engineering Practice.)

Consulting Engineering – “FINAL START-UP CHECKLIST”

  • Rent/Lease office space
  • Deal with legal matters
  • Obtain General Insurance
  • Obtain Professional Liability Insurance
  • Meet with your accountant
  • Order check writing system or accounting software
  • Complete Office Fit-Out
  • Purchase & Installation of Office Phone System
  • Buy/Rent Office Furniture
  • Buy/Rent Office Equipment
  • Buy Computer Programs (including CAD & BIM)
  • Buy Office Supplies
  • Print “Company Brochure”
  • Print “Business Announcement”
  • Print “Letterhead & Business Cards”
  • Hire a website designer

For additional details and advice regarding consulting engineering, read the new book The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING by John D. Gaskell, Retired Professional Engineer.