7 Tips to select an IT consultant

Websites are like cars – you know you need one to get to where you want to go but you may not understand how it works or why things break. It is the worth the effort and financial investment. But how do you find someone you can trust?

  1. Check their website.
    A company that creates websites for a living should have a website. Any other IT consulting company should have a website. If not, this may be a new company and probably not worth the risk. You can also take a look at their range of services, where their offices are, how big the company is.
  2. Referrals from Friends
    It does not mean that the consultant that you are considering is a friend of a friend – so you can trust them. We can all love family & friends and their opinions but when it comes to business, your relationship should not cloud your judgement. This is not to say that you should not deal with them, by all means – you can. Just treat them like any other service provider.
  3. Investigate how pricing is done
    Is this per hour? Per page? Per project? Per month? Is image editing included? How long is the quote valid for? Is there a deposit? What does this cover? What happens if the work is not completed on time / by deadline?For development work – Pay a deposit and not 100% of the fee upfront – no matter what they say. Payments to be made for work done. Make sure you explain what is required to be done and in detail.One thing that most people miss is to ensure that both parties understand the end product. Ie stating that the consultant should “make the site look nice” is good but your view of nice may not be the same as theirs.
  4. Client referrals
    Get a range of references – small, medium and large companies if possible. Call the references – make sure that you check this out –work may be done for a client but maybe the client is not happy or expectations were not met.Ask them questions about quality, if the work required was delivered, if there were problems, were the problems resolved amicably? 
  5. View samples of work
    This may not be possible in all cases but definitely possible. Not all work is website related but you should be able to see what work was produced.If the work that was done for other clients is not in the same industry or same type of project, be wary. I may be good at making a cup of coffee but that does not mean I can make a good cappuccino.
  6. Use your instinct
    Be cautious about someone working part time. Their commitment levels are not the same as if this was a full time position. Their knowledge might be “self-taught” and not as good as someone having studied this as a career.Meet them in person –If you get a bad feeling, walk away. This must be someone you trust and can work with on an ongoing basis. This person holds the online profile of your business in their hands. You need to be comfortable at all times.
  7. Get it in writingWhatever discussions you have or decisions you make, be sure to put this in writing. When you have a telephone conversation, follow up with an email and get them to agree to what was discussed. This will safe guard you.You can look into getting a contract signed as well. In any business partnership a legal document is always a good way to start.

These are just some tips in selecting an IT consultant for your business and technology needs. Read more interesting articles