Why should I hire a consultant?

So three years into freelancing, I thought I’d answer a question I’m asked a lot in various guises, namely “Why should I hire a consultant?” I have worked in-house hiring agencies and consultants, in an agency and now for myself, so have seen the relationship from all angles.

Why should I hire a consultant?

Here are some basic reasons which could be applied to using a consultant or freelancer: 

  1. You want to bring in a particular expertise, experience or skillset that you, your department or your organisation lacks
  2. You want some fresh thinking and a fresh pair of eyes
  3. You want an unbiased perspective from someone who isn’t embroiled in internal politics
  4. You have the knowledge and ideas for a project but lack the time to undertake the work yourself
  5. You are under serious time pressure and need some immediate extra hands on deck.

Then there is the question of independent or freelance consultant compared to agencies.

Key advantages of independent consultants and freelancers:

  1. They will be a continuous point of contact for the client
  2. What you see is what you get – the person pitching to you will also deliver the work
  3. They work for themselves, so are likely to be very motivated about delivering and providing excellent results
  4. They are likely to have much lower overheads than agencies and can therefore generally provide better value for money

On the flipside, key advantages of agencies are:

  1. They will have a team of people who can contribute a range of ideas into their work for you
  2. They may have access to tools and resources that freelance professionals do not
  3. They should always be able to provide cover even when key account staff are ill or on leave

Either way, a good consultant or consultancy will:

  1. Listen to you, as well as provide input
  2. Add demonstrable value to your organisation
  3. Provide a bespoke and tailored service to you, rather than a standard one-size-fits-all approach
  4. Strike the right balance between being part of your team and an impartial outsider
  5. Be a trusted partner, considerate to sensitive and confidential information
  6. Take a weight off your mind, ease your workload and/or pressure
  7. Enthuse, inspire and coach
  8. Contribute relevant thoughts and ideas beyond their remit where this could add value
  9. Deliver to your brief on time
  10. Ultimately provide a service of such quality that you would be happy and confident to recommend them to others

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