Consultants, consultants everywhere! How to choose the right consultant for your needs.



As an auditor, I find that sometimes people will find themselves overwhelmed with the complexities of dealing with the environmental impacts and intricacies of the legislation that intertwine.  They may be working with a small or medium size company and therefore the responsibilities of environmental management may fall on someone with other responsibilities as well, but not necessarily the background to deal with it.


So what do you do?  You are overwhelmed and under resourced.  The most direct and easiest response is to hire a consultant.  But who?  So here are a few tips on selecting your environmental consultant.


  1. Know what type of consultant you would like to hire.  There are many different consultants out there.


Do you want a large firm that can deal with everything you can possibly throw at them, a one stop shop?  The larger firms have larger overhead, so they will be pricey.  However, the cost is balanced out by going to one place for all of your needs.


Do you want a specialist?  A subject matter expert can work for a large or a small firm.


Do you want a small firm?  You will get a lot of personal attention with a small firm, for a smaller price.  However, they may not be able to help with all of your needs.  So you may end up using different firms to deal with different issues.  However, sometimes smaller firms can partner up in order to meet your own needs.


2.  Get referrals.


Ask your friends, colleagues, your network, your LinkedIn connections, who they use.  You want to know whether the consultant was:

  • Effective
  • Knowledgeable
  • Communicative
  • Timely
  • Professional


3.  Ask for a meeting.


Is this someone you can work with?  This is not a product, this is a service of delivering information and communication.  If you can’t find someone local, which can happen, then a good conference call can also be effective.


4.  Ask for references with the proposal.


Check those references.  Speak with the people that have worked with the consultant.


What was the size of the job?  Would you hire them again?  Would you recommend them?


It doesn’t have to be a difficult process to find a consultant that you like and that can do the work that you need them to do within a reasonable price.  You have to get along with them.


Best of luck!

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