Simply defined, civil engineering and architecture involve the process of planning and constructing structures and infrastructures. This artistic and technical discipline covers a wide variety of sectors, practices, and services.
These industries offer numerous business opportunities for civil engineers and architects with business acumen. However, capital could be a deciding factor for individuals who are not ready to make major investments into their venture.
Those who are looking for entrepreneurial openings in these sectors will find it fortunate that there are startup businesses they can pursue without funneling a large portion of their funds. This article will introduce some of the best low-cost business ideas for civil engineers and architects.
Industry Outlook for Civil Engineers and Architects
Before tackling the opportunities available in these sectors, it is important to discuss their potentials for entrepreneurs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (n.d.), civil engineers and their expertise will be needed to address “growing obsolescence” of infrastructures in the United States. Their skills are expected to be in demand for various projects such as repairs, rebuilds, and upgrades of existing structures.
The need for new and more advanced infrastructures is also projected to boost the demand for these professionals. New water systems and renewable energy projects are some of the potential initiatives in which their services are needed.
Similarly, the BLS (n.d.) also expects an increase in the demand for architectural services. These professionals would be needed for planning the renovation and construction of homes, schools, and healthcare facilities.
Trends in These Industries
Above, it was established that professional services for civil engineering and architecture projects will continue to be in demand. To get an idea of how to enter the business world through these industries, it is important to know what clients are looking for.
Consumers are increasingly seeking multipurpose, ecologically friendly, and energy-efficient houses. Smart houses, which integrate energy-efficient technology with beautiful design, are becoming more popular as a result of this trend. This industry is expected to develop at a rapid pace over the next ten years.
A smart city is one that has been designed and built to make it simpler for its residents to access a variety of services, such as education, healthcare, and transportation. Smart urban planning has been thoroughly researched across the world, but only a few industrialized nations have accepted it and created a comprehensive system for their residents. This, however, is projected to continue over the next decade.
Business Ideas in the Civil Engineering and Architecture Sectors
Independent Consultation Services
These professionals are called such because they have proven their skills and expertise in their respective fields. There are companies with in-house civil engineers and architects, while other organizations outsource from firms. The thing about these options is that they can be costly. Professionals earn through salary or other compensation systems if they are employed or a part of a firm.
This is where independent consultation services come in. These services are preferred by many organizations because it offers professional services at lower costs. Nevertheless, consultants have the opportunity to earn more because they earn through commissions.
This is a viable business idea because all they need to capitalize on is their existing knowledge, programs, tools, equipment, and expertise.
Smart property buyers get professional inspection services to minimize the risk of purchasing a structure that is worth less than its price. Engineers and architects are experts in looking at excellent workmanship, durable materials, and overall build quality.
Offering inspection services independently is a great startup idea because, again, it only requires expertise and available tools and programs. This also applies to other ideas such as rendering, planning, and design services.
Online Courses and Seminars
Those who have a penchant for teaching and sharing their knowledge should consider establishing a community in which they offer online courses and paid seminars for free. There are a lot of platforms that allow users to create and sell courses and seminars including Udemy, Skillshare, and Teachable.
They also have the option to launch a website where interested individuals can enroll. The main challenge in this, however, is marketing their brand. The good news is there are a lot a lot of ways to market their new business, particularly through social media and other digital marketing platforms.
Online Architectural Tours
Architecture is an art and various cultures throughout history have shown how unique theirs could be. Those who specialize in architectural culture and history should consider launching online tours like California State University’s virtual tour of art and architecture launched in partnership with Google (USC Architecture, 2020).
This requires expertise in web design, photography, teaching, and writing, alongside architectural knowledge. This project calls for a little bit of effort, as entrepreneurs might need to plan the tour, visit the sites they want to include, take photos or 360 captures, write descriptions, and put them all together on a website.
Lastly, individuals who know how blogging works and how it can be a source of income can create an architecture or civil engineering blog. Many people are not aware of what exactly these fields are and how they differ from other specializations such as industrial engineering and interior design.
Blogging opens opportunities to educate, practice their passion for writing and marketing, and earn money in the process. Architects, for example, can talk about architecture history, different art movements and their influence on architecture, and other similar topics. They can also write articles that provide tips that people could refer to when purchasing a home.
Aside from writing articles, the Internet has also paved the way toward video blogging. Professionals can make videos sharing their insights and providing informative content. The possibility is endless for this option.
The business concepts have been shown to work in other industries. Each of the company concepts has a distinct selling point (USP) that has contributed to its success. With the right application, civil engineers and architects can enter the business world through these ideas.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. (n.d.) Architects. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/architects.htm#tab-6
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. (n.d.). Civil Engineers. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/civil-engineers.htm#tab-6
- USC Architecture. (2020). Virtual Tours: Art and Architecture Around the World. Retrieved from https://arch.usc.edu/news/virtual-tours-art-and-architecture-around-the-world