Joined his father's hardware factoring business in Birmingham in 1804, later known as William Chance and Sons. In 1811 appointed manager of Nailsea Crown Glassworks which his father William, Edward Homer and his uncle John Robert Lucas owned. In 1815 he left Nailsea to establish his own glass manufacturing and merchant's business in London. R. L. Chance and Co was responsible for managing the home market, whilst the Bristol and Dumbarton Window Glass Warehouse was responsible for overseas trade. In 1824 he purchased the works of the Bristol Crown Glass Company, on Spon Lane, Smethwick, and this was to form the basis of the Chance glass making empire that enjoyed almost unparalleled commerical supremacy throughout the nineteenth century - only Pilkingtons produced more. Financial difficulties in the 1830s necessitated the intervention of his brother William, and in 1832 he was made a partner of the firm, now renamed Chance and Brothers. Shortly afterwards a chemical works was erected at Oldbury.