Does your company need to retain services of a competent computer consulting firm, but you have no idea how to really evaluate "competence"?
In first part of this two-part series on Computer Consulting 101 hiring tips, we looked at why small businesses find it so difficult to hire good computer consulting companies, as well as four basic questions that you must be addressed when searching for a new computer consulting vendor. Now in this second and final installment of this two part series on Computer Consulting 101 hiring tips, we’ll look at how you can evaluate true, often-confusing expenses of using a computer consulting company, as well as how to more thoroughly review computer consulting company’s professional credentials and experience.
Reseller, "Pure" Computer Consulting Company, or Hybrid Technology Provider
Does your company resell various technology products, such as hardware and software? Is this a profit center or do you mind if we shop for our products elsewhere? And if we do shop elsewhere, can we still purchase your needs analysis and procurement services?
Are there any other vendors, such as ISPs or telephone companies, that your firm acts as an agent or affiliate for? In other words, do you accept commissions or referral fees for steering business toward certain vendors?
Costs, Hidden Charges, and Billing Procedures
What are your payment terms, rates and hourly billing minimums? What is billable and what is not billable?
Do you charge for your travel time? Telephone support? E-mail/online support? Remote support?
Are there any hourly rate billing premiums for after-hours or emergency service? What constitutes "after hours" or an "emergency"?
Do you offer support contracts? What are cost and benefits?
Client Reference Accounts, Case Studies, and Testimonials
Can you tell me about one of your more long-term small business client accounts?
Can you tell me about one of your more recently signed-on clients? Can you tell me about a small business client who didn't work out and why?