Strengths of traditional consulting companies
- Proven concept
Traditional consulting firms typically can show you a proven track record and can sell consultants on a more conceptual level than a freelance consultant agency. This is not just sales tactics, but may have value to the customer, especially if the agency has very specific and documented results for similar clients in similar situations to show.
- Tightly knit team
There is greater opportunity to deliver a team of people who have previously worked together and this can speed along the start-up process and give security to the customer that the team most likely works well together.
- Authority through brand
For some, it may have a personal security value, that a given decision or choice of solution is “approved” by a recognized consulting firm (“you never get fired for buying IBM”).
Strengths of freelance consultants
- Stronger skills relative to price
Freelance consultants are a very strong choice with regards to price vs. professional skills. Also, the best specialists within a field are found among freelancers (at least in the world of IT; and especially when they have allocated full time to the task). My assessment is that exactly the same skills in the freelance market cost only 50% -60% of the price given paid for a traditional consulting firm.
- Greater loyalty to task
It is people who perform the task at hand, and contrary to what some believe, it is very rare that a freelance consultant switches projects or works on something else during an assignment. This happens far more often by tenured consultants, where the consultant sometimes gets a new job or priorities change internally which means that the consultant is moved from on project to another.
- No additional agenda
A freelance consultant typically has no sales target. In a firm, you often see a consultant attempting to sell more consultants or specific products to the customer, yet this isn’t the case for a freelancer; resulting in independent advice and a clean and transparent handling of the client’s interests.
Both have strong arguments until it comes to costs, based on the above is the extra consulting company costs worth it?