Compton Geotechnical Associates

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Engineering Business Plan

Market Analysis Summary

CGA will be concentrating on four main types of market segments. These include major construction companies, local and state governments, real estate companies, and water and utility companies. This is because these types of organizations have the greatest needs and/or the best capitalized of all our potential clients.

The geo-engineering industry has been growing at a very fast rate for the past twenty years. According to the Journal of Hydrology and Geo-engineering, the industry has averaged approximately 22% growth per year over the past five years.

An analysis of the market using the five forces of profitability indicates that the greatest threat at the moment is in new entrants to the market who will want to capitalize on this high growth. Currently rivalry among different geotechnical companies is relatively moderate as much of the potential rivalry is absorbed by this high growth rate. Many of the competitors are able to improve profitability simply by keeping up with industry expansion.

Our most serious competitors are Goldner Geotechnical and Earth Sciences Consultants. These companies effect us most because of their higher capitalization or geographical proximity.

Companies usually enter into contracts with geotechnical companies based on their reputation of professionalism and quality of services rendered in the past. This reputation is difficult to obtain by new firms unless its personnel bring it with them from previous companies, as we are. Price and scope are also important reasons for accepting contracts, especially if the company is small.

4.1 Market Segmentation

There are various land-use companies and organizations within the state of Maine that CGA will be concentrating on. These include:

  • Major construction companies.
  • Local and state governments.
  • Real estate companies.
  • Utility and water companies.
  • Other.

We are concentrating on these specific market segments for a variety of reasons. The construction industry now requires, by law, certain certifications of safe practices including retaining wall and foundation load bearing capacities, slope stabilities, and geo-instrumentation installation.

Local and state governments often require services such as earth science historical reviews, geomorphological studies and coastal processes studies for their constituents. Real estate companies are in need of bluff studies and fault mapping.

Finally utility companies require a wide variety of services that also include soil and water analysis, seismicity studies, aerial photo interpretation, etc. All these companies further require ongoing services that will provide CGA with long-term profitability.

The market analysis table and graph which follows shows the number of each type of organizations in the state of Maine. This will be our expected geographical focus. It must be noted however, that some of the segments, although they are quite small in the number of potential clients, have very high profitability levels.

Market Analysis
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Potential Customers Growth CAGR
Major construction companies 2% 12 12 12 12 12 0.00%
Local and state governments 3% 18 19 20 21 22 5.14%
Real estate companies 4% 40 42 44 46 48 4.66%
Utility companies 0% 6 6 6 6 6 0.00%
Other 5% 10 11 12 13 14 8.78%
Total 4.36% 86 90 94 98 102 4.36%

4.2 Service Business Analysis

The geoengineering industry has been growing at a very fast rate for the past twenty years. According to the Journal of Hydrology & Geoengineering, the industry has averaged approximately 22% growth per year over the past five years. Much of this growth has been due to increased environmental awareness and the subsequent local and federal legislation that has resulted from this trend.

The geotechnical consulting business consists of thousands of smaller consulting organizations and individual consultants for every one of the few dozen well-known companies. These companies range from major international name-brand firms to tens of thousands of individuals.

CGA believes that the greatest threat at the moment is in new entrants to to market who will want to capitalize on this high growth industry. The most likely entrants will be new, small consulting companies with fewer than ten employees. However, the one major disadvantage to new entrants is that all firms engaged in contracting to geoengineering firms face significant switching costs when bringing on a consulting partner. Furthermore, CGA understands that in this industry there is a significant learning curve that creates declining "unit" costs as a firm gains more cumulative experience in the field itself and with long-term clients specifically.

Rivalry among different geotechnical companies is relatively moderate as much of the potential rivalry is absorbed by the high growth rate. Many of the competitors are able to improve profitability simply by keeping up with industry growth.

The power of potential clients is very great in this industry because most clients are very concentrated in our geographical area. furthermore, because of the high cost of our services, clients tend to "shop around" for the best package of services and cost. Finally, some of our market segments, such as governments have "profitability" restraints that cause them to pressure geotechnical companies for superior terms.

4.2.1 Competition and Buying Patterns

Competition
Competition includes all potential geotechnical companies in our geographical operating area. The geoengineering industry is highly fragmented, with a large number of small companies that mainly cater to small firms and a few large companies that seek the largest contracts. Our most serious competitors are Goldner Geotechnical and Earth Sciences Consultants. Goldner is an established company that has been in operation for the past ten years, with a fine track record of quality work. It currently employees twelve consultants and has long-term contracts with the city of Damrascotta and the Skowhegan River Water District. This company is analogous to CGA in size, capabilities, services, and estimated profits.

Earth Sciences Consultants is one of the largest and best known geotechnical firms on the east coast and is expected to expand into a nationwide company within the next five years. It has hundreds of staff consultants and very deep pockets that can be used to counter any sort of competitive move.

Buying Patterns and Needs
Companies usually enter into contracts with geotechnical companies based on their reputation of professionalism and quality of services rendered in the past. This reputation is difficult to obtain by new firms unless, its personnel bring it with them from previous companies, as we are. Price and scope are also important reasons for accepting contracts, especially if the company is small.