5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Software Consultant for Your Construction Company
Hiring the right consultant to help your company get up and running is a critical step when installing or upgrading construction management software. While you will want to ask many more questions than the ones listed below, here are five questions should should ask before hiring your next consultant: 1. Does the consultants’ technical experience match your needs?
Review the consultant's educational background, work history, references, and portfolio of similar projects. Does the consultant understand the hardware, operating system, and software that your organization uses or is likely to use? Has the consultant worked on similar projects before? Are they familiar with the other systems that you use that may need to integrate with the new system or the system you are converting from?
2. Do They Have Construction Industry Knowledge?
Earlier, I mentioned the experience factor. Along with that you need to be comfortable with a consultant’s construction industry background. Someone with a strong retail or distribution background that “subs” for construction implementations will be another challenge you don’t need.
In addition to evaluating your consultant’s software installation and management experience, you also want to evaluate their background in working with businesses in the construction industry. Many consulting companies have are strong in one or two fields (i.e. manufacturing or distribution) and often sub or hire out for projects related to other industries, like construction.
3. Do they fit with your culture?
Your consultant will be spending a lot of time with your employees. There needs to be a certain level of “fit” to make sure they will be able to work together and communicate effectively. Whether it’s requirements gathering, installation, or training, when there isn’t a good cultural fit, people tend to rush through the process just to get it over with. This leads to headaches and problems down the line.
4. How busy is the consultant?
Will they be able to (realistically) commit to finishing the project in the time frame you want? Will they be available for follow up, training, and customizations? Many times when you have a project like this, you don’t know what you don’t know at the beginning - once your people have a chance to use the new software in their day to day activities, they will naturally have requests that they didn't think of before they had the system.
5. How Do They Charge
Sometimes we focus so much on how much something a consultant is going to charge us that we forget to ask how they are going to charge - or what their fee structure is.
For example, some consultants charge:
- by the hour
- by project milestone, when specific deliverable tasks are complete
- By the project.
Just like your business, it’s better to know and discuss these points up front, rather than waiting until later when there may not be as much flexibility available.
If you have any questions or would like a second opinion before committing to a solution or vendor, feel free to contact us for a free consultation.