- Brittney Ramsay
6 Things to Consider When Choosing a Land Consulting Services Firm
How do you choose a land consulting services firm that is the best fit for you? Throughout our 35 years of experience, we have found these 6 things are necessary to create a great partnership. A great partnership creates alignment, and from alignment comes success for our client and, in turn, for us. Which is why it’s so important to find a firm that is the right fit.
Here is how to ensure you find partners who are the right fit for you:
Who you choose to be your services supplier will quickly become an extension of your company, particularly in land. Land consulting services firms are the first point of contact for your stakeholders. This often makes them the face of your projects. Therefore, who you choose to work with and how they represent you is critical. It’s important to consider: Who is working on the team? What can they bring to your project’s success? Also, trust is vital. Do you trust them? Do you know them? Do you like their work? What are they doing to build trust with you? How do they build trust within their own team?
People come first. Yes, even before our clients. From our experience we know when we put our people first, they will, in turn, go the extra mile for us and our clients. As a consulting services firm with a robust talent resourcing division, we recognize one of our biggest value-adds is people; our team. We’ve found it’s rare for service providers to have teams of skilled talent who are already sourced and vetted and ready to jump into a project or role. It's crucial to understand how your service provider recruits. Do they have robust processes in place to ensure they have access to, hire and retain the best talent?
Does your consulting services firm have core values? Do they embody them? Does everyone on their team know and embody them? Is their culture strong? Do their core values and culture align with yours? These are important questions to consider as core values and culture are a compass to determine how the firm will connect and work with you, your team, and your stakeholders. If there isn’t an alignment of core values and culture, your projects, teams, stakeholders, and success will be negatively impacted.
Certain projects require certain skillsets, hands-on experience, and knowledge. Does your services firm have the skills needed to ensure your project is a success? How do they share their knowledge and experience? If a team member vital to your project leaves the company, how will your services firm ensure they are covered off and your project doesn’t suffer? Most businesses will say they learn from mistakes, however, it’s important to understand how your service provider continuously improves.
Does your services firm know the area? Have they established relationships with key stakeholders and Indigenous communities? Is local knowledge or experience important for the success of your project?
Each location you work in has its own challenges, opportunities, risks, regional processes, regulatory requirements, etc., so it’s important to trust that your consulting services firm is prepared. Having a local agent and or team, with boots-on-the-ground experience who knows the landscape, challenges, and stakeholders in the area will maximize the efficiency, timelines, and cost effectiveness of your project. And when they don’t have someone local, do they know how to gain intel about the area, its history, its stakeholders and what challenges to anticipate?
What is your budget? A good consulting services firm will do its best to work within a given budget or be able to give you feedback on why a given budget is not feasible. Setting realistic expectations up front, and then delivering, is a great way to build trust in a relationship. If you aren’t sure what costs could be incurred throughout the lifetime of a project, ask for estimates before the work starts. A good service firm will know what questions to ask to scope your potential project accurately.
Is there a billing model that works better for your project or cost sensitivity? Some projects work well being time and material billed while others are better being fixed priced. There are pros and cons to each approach. Avoid getting caught up in the hourly rates and remember it’s about the overall value you are getting for what you are paying. With consulting services firms, as with any service or product, you get what you pay for. Services firms are an asset and investment in your project. The proper provider is focused on the success of both the project and the company as a whole.
Are you clear on what you are looking for? Do you need a quick transactional task completed, or are you looking at building a long-term partnership? Ensuring your needs are met is a baseline. Next, can the service provider also meet your wants – strategic value is added when your wants are exceeded, and a transformation occurs – taking you from where you are now to where you want to be?
This means being nimble and adaptive; one size doesn’t fit all. A progressive land consulting services firm will discover what works best for you and deliver what you want in a way that fits best for you. If innovation, a focus on solutions, and going above and beyond are important to you, make sure your service provider knows that and can deliver. Some firms prescribe to the status-quo and maintain a tight grip on tried-and-true practices. If you want a different result, you need to look for a partner that will deliver.
For more information about how we can enhance your next project, please fill out a Needs Assessment.