There is a lot to consider when selecting a consultant for your project. I have listed five of them to help you avoid some common mistakes. I hope it helps in the decision making process and saves you or your organization money.
Ask around: When M.E. Sack Engineering bids a project on behalf of our clients; the contractor must be prequalified. The prequalification process is fairly in-depth to include checking prior projects, reference lists and a lot of phone calls and checking on our part! Not everyone does this when procuring professional services, however. Oftentimes there is a certain amount of privileged trust when seeking professionals. If you have never worked with the firm before the trust is unwarranted and should be checked. Require references and call references…every time. Keep in mind the professional provides the references so there is a good chance that they will be hand picked. If you get any indication of doubt, dig deeper! Oftentimes the references provided may be able to provide additional resources to look into.
Money Matters: Every project has a budget and a penny saved is a penny earned! Whether in the planning phase or construction phase each dollar spent counts. However, many municipalities or developers look at the proposal of an engineer and decide based on a cost proposal only. This is a good way to lose exponentially throughout the project life or worse the project life cycle. If a consultant is buying the project cheap there is a reason. Look for the consultants that are grouped closely together. Those are the ones that most likely know what they are doing and offer a real chance for success. The high cost proposals may have too much work going on and only want the project if they make a lot of money. In rare instances the high proposals may be the ones that foresee things in the process that others don’t. In this case the higher proposal would have been the better choice. So how do you know which one to choose? Discuss the prices with the offerers and see if the high proposal offer knows something that the rest don’t. If you find out they do, it may be a good idea to select the consultant with the higher price. A consultant that has more work than their budget allows will put the project at the bottom of the list subconsciously, or maybe consciously, and disaster will ensue. I am fueled by the knowledge that my client either saved or made a lot of money!
Interview: The interview process or a less formal meeting is a great way to meet a future part of your team. Like your own team, you want a good fit. If they don’t fit, they won’t fit and conflict will likely occur. Depending on the project, you will be communicating with the chosen consultant from three months to years! This is a long time to regret working with someone you don’t like. Despite the misconception,
engineers can be likable!
Reputation: Reputations are fluid to say the least. They ebb and flow and are subjective.
Size: Size is not as important as the ability to handle the workload. This needs to be determined prior to selecting your engineer. Don’t be suckered into selecting the biggest company and most well known name. The smaller firms may have a lot to offer.
Oftentimes a smaller firm offers a more attentive project focus and is more accessible. You may not get the feel good of bragging to your buddies about using the big guy but you may get unparalleled service and an exceptionally successful project!
If you are thinking about a project give us a call. We will be with you every step of the way!