How to start a project management consulting business

Written by jamie m. kisner
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How to start a project management consulting business
A project management business should be cost effective from the start. (start time image by Valentin Mosichev from

Starting a project management consulting business should include a professional designation to remain competitive. Entering a new field or starting a business often requires some type of certification. Most consultants that already work in the field have a certificate from the Project Management Institute (PMI) and it is important that you maintain the same level of expertise. The credential is recognised globally and makes it easier for project managers to obtain clients because of the legitimacy factor. As a project manager, you must provide solutions for a more efficient system of operating and constantly demonstrate your worth effectively.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Office location
  • Office equipment
  • Business plan
  • Licenses
  • Resume
  • Website
  • Business cards
  • Brochures
  • Portfolio
  • PMP certification (professionally recommended)
  • Incorporation Papers (optional)

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  1. 1

    Find a professional workplace. You will should have a professional office to serve clients and work from. Leasing, space-sharing with other professionals or buying are options. The location should have basic office equipment (i.e., phone, computers, printers, etc). It should be near companies that may need project management services, such as financial districts. You could help streamline a company's operations procedure within your office building to reduce that business owner's costs.

  2. 2

    Create a business name and incorporate to add greater financial protection of personal assets. The name should denote professionalism that people expect from a project manager. Think of keywords like strategic or resource for the business name. Complete a quick search online to determine, if the name you like is already taken. This will save you time and help avoid a potential legal issue later. File with your local area municipality, state and refer to the website to find direct links for licenses. Apply for licenses after officially securing the location.

  3. 3

    Start a business plan to evaluate the direction you plan to take the consulting company in project management. Define your niche market. For example, determine the average project budget amount you plan to oversee and the type of business. If you have a background in engineering, you could focus on consulting mid-size engineering firms. Use the Small Business Administration's website template to organise. The template is helpful to experienced and novice business plan writers. The Small Business Administration offers seminars and a tutorial online for those who need further assistance.

  4. 4

    Order materials to operate successfully. You will need business cards displaying your Project Management Professional credential, brochures, a website and office tools to operate. Purchase your domain name and select a hosting company. Typically, you can get them both together. The website should display testimonials and your picture to increase legitimacy.

  5. 5

    Review your resume to emphasise your project management credentials. The resume should include past project management experience. Create a portfolio of sample work to enhance your chances of presenting your business qualifications well. Invest in having it professional bound by an office store.

  6. 6

    Research clients from your local area and ask for referrals. Set your pricing based on your hourly rate, cost of travel and materials. Most project managers will need to travel to accommodate clients because hands-on evaluation and implementation are required as a project manager. Be prepared to work mobile and depend on referrals to sustain your consulting business.

Tips and warnings

  • Keep track of the Project Management Professional credential expiration date, it needs to be renewed every three years. Plan one year ahead to ensure that you will not experience any significant interruption to your consulting business.
  • Do some basic evaluation work for free or reduced rate to generate trust. Start with people within your office building. Make them more efficient by reducing waste.

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