Business Ideas For Chemical Engineers: Now that you’ve finished your degree in chemical engineering, it’s time to think about what you’re going to do next. It may seem as though your career opportunities are limited to landing an entry-level job or finding a new engineer job, but there are other options available to you if you have the imagination and the drive to pursue them.
Business Ideas For Chemical Engineers
Here are eight business ideas for chemical engineers that will allow you to use the education and experience you’ve gained from your degree, and the intelligence and creativity inherent in your brain, on something even more exciting than just another day of work.
1) Personalized Soap
There are a number of options for turning your chemical engineering degree into a business. For example, you can use chemistry to create personal care products like soap. The process of making soap is actually quite simple, and since it can be designed to fit any skin type, it’s a very personalized gift that anyone would appreciate—even as an office Secret Santa present.
Soap also has other benefits: It’s easy to make with common household ingredients, plus it doesn’t need preservatives or complicated packaging. In other words, it costs virtually nothing (relative to personal care products). Lastly, there are few regulatory hurdles involved in manufacturing and selling—meaning you can get started quickly!
2) Compost Heap
Composting—specifically, home composting—is a great business idea for chemical engineers. Most municipalities do not provide residents with convenient compost pickup services, meaning there’s plenty of opportunity to step in and sell your service. Whether you run your service locally or as a delivery-based business, there are tons of benefits: chemical engineers are well-equipped to manage health and safety concerns around composting; it’s easy to integrate into your existing chemical engineering practice.
You can specialize in custom products or green solutions tailored to individual clients. Get creative! If you have any background in sustainability (either professionally or personally), it might be worth considering building on that expertise when starting your business—after all, we could all use more good waste management options.
What is aquaponics? Aquaponics combines fish raising with hydroponics. Fish waste provides food and nutrients to plants in a closed loop system. A properly designed aquaponic system can be as productive as soil farming while requiring less maintenance and labor. The biggest challenge in designing an aquaponic system is maintaining a proper nutrient balance between your plants and fish.
Overfeeding or underfeeding either side will result in poor growth rates and stunted crops. To properly design an aquaponic system, you need to do extensive research on your specific setup before making any financial commitments, but it’s a great business idea for chemical engineers who want to try their hand at starting their own company.
Starting a Web-based Business: Many chemical engineers find themselves more comfortable with problems that are solved by computers than by test tubes. Starting a web-based business lets you leverage your technical knowledge into building software products that solve big problems using technology.
There are plenty of online services available to help turn your ideas into functioning websites and products, like WordPress theme builders, blogging platforms like Tumblr and Squarespace, eCommerce marketplaces like Shopify and Weebly.
Online crowd funding services like Kickstarter or Indiegogo—the list goes on! Using these tools doesn’t mean giving up control over what you build; they allow makers of all skill levels start businesses without having to manage every aspect of development and operations themselves.
4) Mushroom Farm
If you love mushrooms, and don’t mind having to work outside in a humid climate, mushroom farming may be a good business idea. Selling mushrooms is quite easy if you have enough room, time and capital. Take a look at Mushroom farming if you want to start one. Here are some ideas that might interest you:* Growing Agaricus Blazei: First make sure that your local laws allow such kind of fungus growing.
Make a controlled environment; install lighting, filter system, spray system etc… Then collect spores from mature agaricus blazei fruit bodies. Once received inoculate sterilized grain like wheat or millet with spores using glass syringe.* Growing Boletes: Collect suitable logs where boletes grow naturally.
5) Coffee Roastery
Coffee roasting is a growing trend, with more people wanting a special cup of coffee to drink at home. There are already a number of successful start-ups in that business. All you have to do is roast the beans, ship them off and run ads online that tell people where they can buy these specialty beans. If you’re extra creative, create your own blends and sell bags of those as well!
There are great resources online to help you get started. You’ll find everything from advice on how to roast quality beans to where to source green beans if you don’t want to purchase them yourself. Check out what other shops are doing so you can stand out in a very crowded market space. The possibilities are endless!
6) Lawn Care Business
Lawn care is something that can be easily set up on a small scale, making it ideal for chemical engineers. You’ll probably want to either buy or lease a lawn mower, a blower, and other equipment. Determine where you want to work and go from there. Many homeowners with large properties prefer to use professionals, while people with smaller yards often don’t mind doing it themselves.
If you go down the route of offering your services to homeowners you may have plenty of time on your hands between clients—plenty of time for blogging! And if you get really good at caring for lawns and gardens, there are plenty of other opportunities waiting (for example, as an employee at one of these companies).
Another benefit to running a lawn care business is that you can take credit cards for payment so all it takes is a sign and a smartphone to start raking in some cash. With more than two million businesses involved in lawncare in America, there’s definitely potential here.
7) Duct Cleaning Service
Duct cleaning is a big business, but it’s also something that most people don’t really know about. While you might think of cleaning services as a consumer industry, there are big opportunities in professional duct cleaning too—not to mention some great profit margins if you can price your services competitively.
If you happen to work in an office building and have access to inside vents, however, vent cleaning may be a more attractive option because it allows you to target your customers and their schedule rather than going door-to-door or working with unpredictable heating companies.
If running an air duct cleaning service isn’t quite your thing but you want to enter into this market, see if there are any other related business ideas that might interest you instead. For example, checking out laundry facilities and offering dryer-vent cleanings may be another good way to build a service business in support of commercial buildings.
8) Bookkeeping Service
If you’re comfortable with numbers, being a bookkeeper might be a great way to earn a little extra money on the side. Although it’s not technically entrepreneurship, bookkeeping does require enough startup costs and investment to make it worthwhile (in terms of time, at least).
If you decide to start up your own bookkeeping service, figure out if you want to keep it as more of a hobby business or if you plan on taking on clients full-time. If it’s going to be part-time work that doesn’t interfere with your actual job, it could be an effective way to bring in a few hundred extra dollars each month—or even more if you build up your client base and invest in marketing materials.
It can also provide some helpful diversification if you have all your eggs in one basket. Just remember: All those expenses add up! You’ll need to charge quite a bit just to break even on overhead costs. But again, if you like working with numbers, being a bookkeeper can be something you can do in addition to other types of freelance writing jobs. Think about becoming a virtual assistant instead?
Also Read: Business Ideas For Civil Engineers
Today, chemical engineers can get jobs in both research and development or production environments. Whatever field you choose, make sure that it’s one that matches your personality and interests. If you are an engineer who enjoys a fast-paced environment, find an employer with a short product lifecycle—which is common in manufacturing environments—so you can quickly learn from each project and move on to your next challenge.
However, if you enjoy working as part of a larger team, consider joining a research or development team where long-term goals are developed over time. In either case, you’ll need to stay abreast of new technologies so that you can always offer competitive solutions. Nowadays, many employers also value additional certifications like Six Sigma or Lean Six Sigma above even years of experience.
If you are interested in earning some extra certifications while at school or at work, investigate opportunities available through your local engineering society or chapter of American Society for Quality (ASQ). While none should be required to succeed professionally, they’re excellent investments because they look great on a resume and will serve as useful resources throughout your career.
And remember: Engineering isn’t just about science; business skills like critical thinking and communication help ensure success no matter what environment you choose. Good luck!