5 KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK IF YOU’RE HIRING AN ENGINEERING CONSULTANT
Hiring an engineering consultant can help to save you money and bring your project much-needed expertise.
If you’ve never hired a consultant for a project before, the process can seem a little daunting.
There are some key questions you need to ask to ensure you’re getting someone who will provide the knowledge and experience you need, and be a good fit for your organisation.
- What kind of degrees or experience do you and your staff members have?
It’s important to find out that potential consultants are both qualified and have relevant experience. If you’re looking for a process engineer to improve your manufacturing plant, someone whose experience is entirely in major construction projects would probably not be the best fit for you.
- Have you worked on similar projects before – were they successful?
Get your would-be consultant to talk you through the projects they’ve worked on. Get then to describe the experience and how they added value to the projects – how their experience saved money on costs, solved problems, or improved processes. If the projects were successful, could you talk to their clients? There’s nothing like an independent assessment of someone’s skills.
- How flexible are you?
Things change during large projects. Problems arise and need to be solved, budgets need to be adjusted, and creative solutions are often needed. You’ll need someone who is flexible enough to be able to cope with all of that and still produce excellent work. Get them to provide you with concrete examples of how they’ve successfully dealt with situations like this in the past.
- How well do you communicate with your clients – and what are your systems?
Consultants who are never contactable, who don’t give their clients enough notice of decisions which need to be made, or those who assume clients have specialist technical knowledge can cause problems during a project. Look for consultants who pride themselves on communicating well with clients, who have established systems to do so. Will they meet clients once a week? Do they call or Skype clients at set times? Get them to list examples of how they’ve communicated well in the past and talk to their former clients. Look for testimonials on their website and independent word-of-mouth referrals.
- What technology do you use to deliver your projects?
Appropriate software and other technology is often crucial to the success of a project. Make sure they have access to the software you’ll need and that all software is compatible you’re your own systems.