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AT-Automation Technology GmbH
AT -Automation Technology is a systems house for industrial image processing. AT offers thermographic ndt systems as well as high-speed 3D sensors.

09:38 Nov-04-2009
Starting a business

I am in need of some advice. I am starting a NDT business with a primary focus on thermography. Am I taking the right approach by focusing on thermography, or should I be looking to some other discipline? If I was to combine two disciplines, what two would you recommend, and what kind of financial investment am I looking at?

13:29 Nov-04-2009

Nigel Armstrong

Engineering, - Specialist services
United Kingdom,
Joined Oct 2000
Re: Starting a business In Reply to adam at 09:38 Nov-04-2009 (Opening).


Research your market. Who are your potential customers, what service do they want, what do they expect to pay, what quality demands do they place, how do you ensure sufficient custom to make the business viable. how are their current needs serviced? who are your competitors?

It would be a shame to buy expensive kit which lies idle. Good luck in your endeavours.

15:52 Nov-04-2009

Godfrey Hands

PRI Nadcap,
United Kingdom,
Joined Nov 1998
Re: Starting a business In Reply to adam at 09:38 Nov-04-2009 (Opening).

Let me firstly echo Nigel's reply.
Thermography tends to be quite expensive equipment to buy, so you need to ensure that you have a robust business plan.
Even better if you already have some contacts who are looking for an alternative source of Thermography.
Perhaps you could also look at existing small businesses offering thermography as a speciality where the owners are considering retirement. Here you have a running business with equipment and customers.

Like any relatively "new" NDT technology, acceptance of the method is difficult for customers who have no experience of it.

Regarding a second technology, it depends on the market that you are aiming at with your thermography. If your market is also heavliy into Ultrasonics for instance, then this could be a good way to follow up, because you can then offer the same client both services.
There are so many potential industrial sectors for thermography, but perhaps you need to concentrate initially on one sector where you have some experience before trying to sell it to other sectors.
Wishing you all the best in your proposed new venture

15:52 Nov-04-2009

Russ Fessenden

NDT Inspector, Manager
Joined Jun 2000
Re: Starting a business In Reply to adam at 09:38 Nov-04-2009 (Opening).

Before you spend maoney on anything else invest in writing a business plan there are several canned programs available that will step you through the questions you need to ask yourself. I have used "Business Plan Pro" in the past. It asks you to think about what your potential market is, How big is the market, the investment needed to capitalize the business and a hundred other things you need to understand and plan for so you don't waste a lot of money.

22:01 Nov-04-2009
Re: Starting a business In Reply to Godfrey Hands at 15:52 Nov-04-2009 .

Thanks for the reply. I have been researching the market in my area and for a population of around a 100k, there is only one company servicing this area. I would be looking at getting into commercial and industrial applications of testing, and in this area, there are numerous mills and mines. The going rate I am told is around $850-$1050 per day and I think I would be looking at around a 20k investment for the thermography equipment, but I still don't know if I would be best looking at something to compliment that....such as ultrasound?

23:15 Nov-04-2009


NDT Inspector
Joined Aug 2009
Re: Starting a business In Reply to adam at 22:01 Nov-04-2009 .

all depends on your market, maybe the other company is very strong on UT or maybe the mills dont need it so much.

doing other courses means buying more equipment to be able to use your new skill.

another one could be fibre optics; doesn't need much training but equipment can be costly and you should know what you are looking for.

maybe research different MFL techniques to see if they can be used in your area as that is probably sourced in from far (expensive again though).

07:00 Nov-05-2009


Sales, -
Lucid Software Limited,
Joined Nov 2005
Re: Starting a business In Reply to adam at 09:38 Nov-04-2009 (Opening).

Dear Adam

I note you are getting good advice on the techniques and markets. I would also recommend that you put together a complete business plan before you venture out. I understand that you are based in the US. There are standard templates which are preferred by the SBA and banks. There are a number of sites that offer these templates. Please download the one that suits you and attempt to complete as much of it as you can. The financial summary is critical for you to understand how much revenue you will make vis a vis your costs and then to be able to review after every 3 month/6 month period.

Specifically, you need to watch for cash flows and able to have some working capital for expenses while you get your invoices paid by your customers.

Best wishes


09:45 Nov-05-2009
Re: Starting a business In Reply to Madhusudan at 07:00 Nov-05-2009 .

Thanks for all of the replies. As far as the business plan is concerned, I have been working on one, and, as of yet, there seems to be good reason to think that there is room to grow such a business in the area that I live; which is British Columbia by the way. The primary industries that I would be focusing on are mills, mines, power lines, and possibly pipe lines. I was initially going to focus solely on thermography, but decided that would leave me too reliant on one NDT type. I have been in contact with a school in my area that provides accreditation for thermography and from the schools advice, it seems I would need around a 20k investment to get a good camera.

Given what you guys have experienced, what are your thoughts on thermography, and given the industries that I am going after, what NDT methods do you recommend? One of you guys recommended MFL as a possibility, which I had never heard of, but it sounds very promising.

Thanks to all of you that have been helping so far.


10:40 Nov-05-2009
rvi man
Re: Starting a business In Reply to adam at 09:45 Nov-05-2009 .

Lot of good advice there, but seriously question whether those markets you speak of don't already have this facility in house, most of them will. Unless equipment is very cheap in Canada I would also suggest that your capital expenditure budget is going to need to be significantly more than you mention in order to get the type of kit and lenses etc you would actually need to do the job professionally.

11:56 Nov-05-2009
emil shavakis
Re: Starting a business In Reply to rvi man at 10:40 Nov-05-2009 .

Adam - Equipment is one part. What about staff? What about training? Infrared has been made so easy that some believe anyone can do it. That is another topic. Let's assume you are good at it.

Are you also good with UT? How will you get good? What certs do you need? Whats it going to cost to get these certs?

The expense of getting your tickets is not trivial. How will you set yourself apart in the marketplace to get the jobs? What makes someone choose you? Not trying to be a downer - just food for thought?

Best wishes. Emil

17:04 Nov-05-2009

Juan Amado

Engineering, Inspection
Arco Industrial, S.A.,
Joined Nov 2001
Re: Starting a business In Reply to adam at 09:38 Nov-04-2009 (Opening).

I can offer two pieces of advice.

1. As with any endeavor, there are going to be difficulties (technical, financial, etc...), your frame of mind must be such that you are willing to take the necessary actions to overcome these problems.

2. The hard part of starting a business isn't starting it, it's keeping it going. This point is tied to the first one. Assuming you have some technical knowledge regarding your particular technique, the drive to follow through will be your biggest asset.

I started with RT in 1996, and today we do RT, UT, MT, PT, VT, and Ground Penetrating Radar. Everyday there's a new challenge, but we welcome those challenges and move forward. For me the whole experience is fun and rewarding.

I heard someone say “don't blame the lack of resources; the real problem is lack of resourcefulness” and I really believe that. There is plenty of support for the argument that your business is going to fail, as statistics show that 90% of all new businesses fail within the first five years, and 90% of the ones that survive, fail within the next five. I’m not advocating that you jump off a cliff blindfolded, but, you must go into this endeavor with the mindset that difficulties will be encountered in the way and they will be dealt with.

As with everything else in life, try to give your customers the best service that you can. Be on time, finish on time, present your reports in a professional way, explain everything before hand and after it’s done, be available, and be easy to work with. This is the best advice that I can give.

I hope everything goes well for you.

Best regards,
Juan Amado

19:06 Nov-06-2009

Len Andersen

New York City Department of Transportation,
Joined Nov 2009
Re: Starting a business In Reply to adam at 09:38 Nov-04-2009 (Opening).

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Starting business! Read and have started businesses. Gentleman from Canada I do not know details. What you present in general terms has my doing my job selecting such thinking. He has gismo and seems less experienced with a paper saying he can run gismo. Others have an engineering degree license, experience in gismo ( did it and reports without problem for years ), are certified beyond gismo (USA AWS CWI and there is Canadian equivalent) and level up there (level III catchs my attention in NDT). Hope this is helpful.

Len Andersen

914-237-7689 / 914-536-7101 / 212-839-6599

POB 1529 / NYC 10116 ( $1020 per year Caller Box GPO NYC )


PS – http://lenandersen.com/personal_info/resume.html

Leonard Morgensen Andersen

Construction Project Manager

New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT)

Division of Bridges

55 Water Street – 5 th Floor WS-05-3F

New York, New York 10041


212-839-6599 / FAX 4042 / Administrative Assistant 4012

18:30 Jan-25-2011
Re: Starting a business In Reply to Godfrey Hands at 15:52 Nov-04-2009 .

if i start with thermography what possible companies can i target as my clients ? what machines are needed for thermography ?

15:59 Jan-26-2011


Consultant, NDE Manager NDELevel III/3
NDT Consultant,
Joined Nov 1998
Re: Starting a business In Reply to adam at 09:38 Nov-04-2009 (Opening).

You should really check out where your potential customers are getting their NDT needs serviced now.
There are already quite a number of NDT Service companies in BC. It will be very difficult for a new guy on the block to be able to compete unless you have something unique to offer or unless you are located in an area where other NDT companies have no local presence and have significant travel costs.

Good advice is being given in this forum. Be sure to consider all of it and move forward with your eyes wide open

16:29 Jan-26-2011

R. Olson

R & D, Aerospace
The Best Aviation Company In The World,
Joined Feb 2005
Re: Starting a business In Reply to adam at 09:38 Nov-04-2009 (Opening).


06:19 Jan-27-2011
Re: Starting a business In Reply to adam at 09:38 Nov-04-2009 (Opening).


All i can say is good luck! I started a NDT company offering multi disaplanery methods and it's very hard work, stressful & and in some cases you might just want to give up. Find a spot in the market and go for it. Just a quick bit of advise, don't buy cheek crap equipment as it will let you down.

20:32 Jan-04-2013
Re: Starting a business In Reply to David at 06:19 Jan-27-2011 .

So are you making money? Is the business going well? I am opening a new business in the Hampton, VA area specializing in breast themography. Any advice?

03:19 Jan-05-2013

Mike Lee from Doppler company

Guangzhou Doppler Electronic Technologies Co.,Ltd,
Joined Dec 2012
Re: Starting a business In Reply to adam at 09:38 Nov-04-2009 (Opening).

Dear Friend

i insist on SWOT anaysis system a first before start a new business, i'm once be a business man in another filed, but lack of investigation, lack of experience, then i paid lots of money fo this business journey.

17:45 Aug-04-2013
logan moodley
Re: Starting a business In Reply to adam at 09:38 Nov-04-2009 (Opening).

I am planning on opening a ndt company
I need to only do di penetration and magnetic particle inspection
please advise what the requirements are

17:46 Nov-20-2013
Re: Starting a business In Reply to adam at 09:38 Nov-04-2009 (Opening).

I am 3rd year student of mechanical engineering. Currently i am doing NDT I & II in MT,PT,UT and RT..It is very interesting and mostly high paying related to my field.
How to reach up to NDT level III? Does it require more experience?

Please suggest me good industries that offers high paying job for Mech. Engineering+NDT. and how to apply for it.

I think it is a best for Business point of view that will increase our knowledge and earning.
How can we start business in NDT?

18:55 Nov-20-2013

Frank Lund

R & D,
United Kingdom,
Joined Apr 2005
Re: Starting a business In Reply to Nayan at 17:46 Nov-20-2013 .

Whatever you do, be VERY careful in your choice of any business partner.

Make absolutely certain that any accountants, lawyers, bankers etc. are working strictly for the business and NOT favouring any partner that you may have.

Make sure that business and personal matters are fully separated. You don't want to find that your partner has racked up massive bills on the company.

Make sure that you have access to ALL company accounts.

Wishing you the Best of Luck with whatever venture you start.


20:38 Nov-20-2013
Re: Starting a business In Reply to Nayan at 17:46 Nov-20-2013 .


go direct to level 3 its v easy and easy find top job control of lower levels and customer respect you very much


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