When Hiring a Consultant

Source: Keller Packaging Engineering Group

You may require a generalist to coordinate the project
Scope the Project. Do you need narrow focus, many faceted or up-front planning assistance? You may require a generalist to coordinate the project.
Search out candidates. Look for a 2000's type, fast paced, high tech, low overhead, small, "network", organization with the available top talent you require. Pick the "best-of-the-lot", travel cost to your location is usually nil.
Check for licensing. State Boards test qualifications and regulate the practice of Engineering. Confirm that the person who will be in charge of your project is a Licensed Professional Engineer.
Avoid financial ties. By Law, Professional Engineers "shall not accept compensation or remuneration, financial or otherwise, from material or equipment suppliers for specifying their product".
Find out who will be doing your work? Will it be the top talent in the firm or a part-time temporary?
Check experience. Review their project list and look for actual "hands on" related experience. A client list does not tell you the whole story.
Request a proposal Which fully describes the services you require. Avoid long term commitments or an equipment supplier tie-in.
Evaluate proposals. Anticipate time & material cost estimates. A fixed price quote may not be realistic when the project scope is vague.
Make a selection. Choose a full-time, "Make it happen" type who will give your project the attention it deserves, has the expertise to do the important up-front analysis & planning, concentrates on Phase I & II at the start (don't be side tracked by erroneous Phase X detail) and who will do things right the first time around.
Sign a contract. A written agreement is usually required before work begins. Use the agreement form supplied by your Engineer. Typical purchase order forms are appropriate for materials & components. Avoid long term commitments.
Payment terms. An initial retainer followed by weekly invoices is customary.
Communicate. Designate a contact person with authority, establish a dialog, Provide Timely Feedback.

Keller Packaging Engineering Group, 31 Corbair Place, Suite 110, Wayne, NJ 07470. Tel: 973-694-8810; Fax: 973-694-3535.