Considerations Involved in Engaging Consultants
Easy to hire and fire: Consultants and "temps" can be engaged and dismissed quite easily making them the perfect short-term asset. This allows you to maintain your core group of employees and add additional talent for special projects, vacation fill-in, promotions, seasonal variations, business cycles, and so-forth. When the need subsides, you don't have to go through all the problems and hurt feelings involved in laying off regular employees.
- New skills:
Consultants often have skills and abilities that are not
available in your organization. They can be engaged to provide
special talent as needed and can often pass those skills
on to your regular staff.
- Stick to
your core business: Outsourcing your technical needs
can free your management staff to concentrate on your core
After you add in overhead and management costs, hiring
consultants or "temps" is often less expensive.
- More productive:
Highly skilled professionals are often more productive
than in-house staff. People who freelance their skills usually
have many years of solid experience to draw on. Often older,
they are less distracted by outside concerns and have acquired
a healthy work ethic.
- Cost avoidance: Using consultants at the beginning
of a project or change in business methods can often save
hundreds of thousands of dollars down the road. Good consultants
have seen what works and what doesn't work. Their experience
can steer you away from pitfalls you may not know exist.
- Higher cost: Consultants sometimes
cost more than regular employees. As such, you may want
to consider hiring full-time help if you plan to keep them
on staff for the foreseeable future.
- Overseas outsourcing can fail:
Outsourcing to overseas sources often doesn't work out.
Time, language difficulties, and cultural differences often
kill what should be a mutually profitable relationship.
- No knowledge of in-house procedures:
Outside helpers don't know your business or your organization
and procedures as well as you do. They have to go through
a learning period the first time you engage them.
- What's behind the charges?: Contractors
sometimes cost more than in-house employees. This is because
the contractor usually can't work a full-time schedule.
Between engagements, the average contractor makes no money,
but s/he still has to pay the mortgage and put beans on
the table. The extra income s/he received during an engagement
helps to cover the "dry" periods "on the
bench". Also, the organization that employs consultants
has to make a profit as well to cover the costs of rent,
telephone, in-house employment, etc.
- Rates differ by length of engagement: Short-term
engagements will usually command a higher hourly rate than
long-term work. Long-term work represents less "bench
time" and thus lowers the contractor's expenses.