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How to start an electrical engineering business

Are you looking to launch your own electrical engineering business? From the skills required to managing your finances, we’ll talk you through how to start an electrical engineering business.

Electrical engineers keep society running smoothly. They’re highly sought after in a world that depends on well-designed electrical systems. Their knowledge is integral to the success of any business working with technology.

Tradespeople can expect to work across both the public and private sectors – everything from grid power generation to building design. This consistent demand is advantageous for those interested in setting up a business in the field.

However, there’s a lot to consider when making the jump to become a self-employed electrical engineer. This guide covers everything you need to know, including qualifications, finances, and important start-up advice.

What skills are required to start an electrical engineering business?

Setting up your own electrical engineering business requires a range of skills that extends beyond technical proficiency.

While you will need to have a thorough understanding of electrical engineering principles, running your own business requires its own diverse skillset.

Regardless of specialism, you’ll need the following skills when starting any type of electrical engineering business:

  • Technical expertise
  • Project management and customer service
  • Numeracy skills
  • Dexterity
  • Ability to analyse and interpret data
  • Familiarity with computer-aided design packages
  • Planning and organisation
  • Communication skills
  • Risk management

What qualifications do you need to start an electrical engineering business?

The right credentials are essential when setting up a business in any technical field. They demonstrate to potential clients that you have the knowledge and experience to deliver the right solution.

While a formal education in electrical engineering or a related field is typically a prerequisite, practical experience is equally important. However, there are a range of professional certifications that can lend credibility to your business.

Membership within these professional bodies can help grow your network of contacts and identify business opportunities:

  • International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
  • Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)
  • Entrepreneurial qualifications, including business management courses, will also aid in setting up your own electrical engineering business.

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What kind of business can an electrical engineer start?

Electrical engineering is a huge industry and is often divided by specialism.

  • Telecommunications
  • Instrumentation
  • Signal processing

These are just some of the common sub-sectors, though there are many more to consider. You may already have familiarity with electronic goods, so component design and development might be an ideal place to start.

The best business for an electrical engineer will ultimately depend on the strengths and experiences already gained in the field. Use this as your starting point and carry out market research to identify opportunities and other small-business ideas for electrical engineers.

How to grow your electrical business

Growing your electrical engineering business

Marketing will be key to getting your electrical engineering business off the ground. Carry out market research in your local area and identify potential gaps others may have missed. You could even note down competitors who may be offering a similar service.

Use this information to shape your strategy. It will develop your brand and help the business to stand out in an already crowded market.

There are a number of ways to spread the word, but social media is arguably the most effective in today’s digital market. You can share content, including blogs and case studies, and connect with potential customers.

Checkatrade membership is another great tool to use to make your services known to millions of site users.

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Managing your finances

Ensure the rates you charge are competitive but not too low that you end up losing money with each contract. While it’s important to invest in your business, spending too much too soon can be a risky strategy.

Business loans are one way to cover cash flow in the early stages. However, be aware that you’ll need to factor in repayments alongside all the usual paperwork that comes with being self-employed.

Be sure to read our guide on small business finance options to find out more.

business goals and objectives

Electrical engineering business FAQs

Can an electrical engineer start their own business?

Yes. Having a robust understanding of electrical systems means you possess knowledge that is widely recognised, valued and in great demand.

Society now depends on technology, so the opportunities to develop and grow a business are clear.

Be aware you may need to register with the Electrotechnical Certification Scheme before you do anything else. This verifies all electrotechnical personnel through assessments against set industry standards.

Can you start an electrical engineering business without a degree?

Yes. Apprenticeships and work experience offer a route into the industry without the need for a formal degree. Some engineers are self-taught or learned their trade ‘on the job’.

However, setting up any new company will likely require some form of business acumen to be successful. This could be in the form of a degree or a business course.

How hard is it to start an electrical engineering business?

Starting an electrical engineering business is challenging. Success in this field relies on strong technical knowledge, as well as some sound business understanding.

You need to be intelligent, practical, and willing to go the extra mile. Those who do put in the hard work are paid well in return and often stay in the industry for many years.

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