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Should I engage a contractor or consultancy?

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​One conversation I’m having more often right now is around consultancies. People have been struggling knowing when they should engage an individual contractor or a consultancy. This can be a bit contentious but here are my thoughts on the benefits and downsides.

Consultancies vs contractors

Consultancies can be quite beneficial when you have a large piece of work planned. They can provide a variety of people to get bodies into seats quickly. Often, these people can be put towards different budgets to spread the load of the expenses. But they often fill those seats with whomever is on their bench, regardless of ability. It can work out fine, but other times you can be given someone that isn’t really fit for the role or will have a long ramp up time. In order for them to keep employees, it can mean promises to get them upskilled in various areas. Sometimes they set aside time for that, other times they are learning on the job.

  • Good: Large numbers quickly, different budgets

  • Not So Good:You don’t always get what you need, costs can swell over time

Individual contractors can take time to interview and hire. There is a recruitment process involved but you are given control of what you want and how you want to use them. This can help when you need to move them quickly between projects or get them ingrained into what is going on. Generally, these people are good and become a part of the company, but they will often have to be charged to the budget for a project so they can be limiting in that way.

  • Good: You’re in control, promote internal culture

  • Not So Good: Budgetary restraints, recruitment process

Problems and solutions

Thankfully with the way that Potentia works, and our ability to pivot to suit your needs, we can help. Here are a couple of scenarios that I encountered during my time in management.

How do I know when I need to engage individual contractors or consultancies?

One thing I’ve been doing in the testing space is working with ‘Statement of Work’ style of contracts. Instead of tying it to an outcome: Complete Project A, we can tie it to a number of people, we can sign a “Please supply X number of people for Y amount of time to work on project Z.” This can cut your time drastically in recruitment but still give you control. As more people trust my experience, knowledge, and expertise, they are getting more comfortable with me sending fewer people over per role. In this style, I can set up an interview and if you like them, they can start quickly. You don’t have the hassle of going over 100s of CVs, picking the 10 you like, screening calls etc. We strategise together and I deliver what you need. If you find you like the people and you move to another project, it becomes a new statement of work. We handle the rest.

Option 2: I have good relationships with some consultancies that are smaller and more specialised, including some that are offering fractional support. There are several options that may suit your needs, so I’d be happy to discuss this option with you as well as put you in contact with them.

I have found a contractor on my own but my company can’t pay them directly

Did you know that Potentia can do payroll, but without a huge cost? Did you know that our payrolled contractors get the same wellbeing package as all our other contractors? They do, so feel free to discuss with me.

I want a perm employee. Can you help? What do we need to help our brand?

Absolutely. I do all types of testing roles. I can work on helping in any way needed. Branding in the market is a tricky one as it is slow to change but we can let you know the perception in the market and ways to help navigate it. We can’t fix leadership problems, but we can help you refine your hiring processes and the perception around them. Just ask and we can talk.