Some may call me cheap, frugal, a tightwad even, but with today’s financial issues spending money on a consultant may make some people shake their head but that is exactly what I plan on doing. Let me try to explain.
Consultants typically have a specialized field and have gained their knowledge through both education and experience. Often consultants are the rogues from corporate world who either weren’t challenged enough or we not able to execute their ides because of corporate bureaucracy and red tape. They often get frustrated and consult rather than be suppressed. Let their creativity and nontraditional role be an asset for your needs.
Consultants may have connections you don’t. Often consultants have been in their field for years and have made great connections that you either don’t know about or cannot gain access to. For example, in permaculture earthworks knowing a skilled person with a 30 ton excavator can be the different of a 4 hr job and a 2 week job. This difference could save you hundreds if not thousands and time and energy. If you want to build a new addition to your building, who can you get into a room to review permits, look at designs, and get it all started in one day if you have never added onto a building before?
Connections usually come with references. Most good consultants will give references or testimony from past clients. Contact these past clients and find out about the person. Will they be the right match for you and your needs? Brick and mortar companies are there to make money. They have overheads they need to cover. Consultants typically don’t and are looking for that referrals and testimonials to get the next client. They want to do the very best for you and get your repeat business.
Consultants have typically been there done that. Either from past experiences from prior positions held or from experience with other clients, consultants have usually seen a wide range of situations and topics. This both variability and repetition allows them to address a wider range of issues and adapt if necessary better than a specific business. For instance, it you are wanting to put in fencing for animals. Did you want traditional farming, paddock shift, mob grazing, free range? A properly trained consultant can give you the options and what works best for your individual situation if you have never raised livestock before. Fencing can be expensive, but the loss of livestock due to inadequate fencing could be a disaster.
Consultants are fixed duration. As opposed to hiring a full time or even part time employee for a project or situation, a consultant can come and go as you need them. If you need work for a project 3-4 times a year, but in-between there is not enough work, consider the consultant. They can come in help, and return with the knowledge when needed again.
Consultants have resources you may not. This could be in the form of knowledge, but also software, tools, documentation, or access to documentation. It could be a 3D printer, CAD software, access to a government database of information, or maps and charts. The consultant needs this information regularly, and your need may be a onetime event. This resource could be too costly to invest in the particular resource or resources and the project doesn’t move forward.
Consultants can save you money. Having the knowledge from a good consultant can sometimes save you double or more if you didn’t hire them. Between the knowledge, connections, and resources a consultant may be worth the time and money investing in.
Recently I evaluated the costs of hiring a consultant vs. doing the project on my own. While I have researched and understand what I want to accomplish, I wanted the opinion and advice of someone who has done this before, and done it for a living. They had made connections I didn’t even begin to know where to start, They knew the ins and outs about regulations that would have taken me hours to try and go through. They had firsthand knowledge of what product NOT to buy because of failure rates. While I could have discovered all this on my own, there is a cost associated with my own time. If I considered my own hourly rate the consultant will have saved me 5-6 times what I will spend.