Note: Some may consider this post as overt self-advertising, as I’ll explain why you should hire me, or my free-agent colleagues, instead of a name-brand consulting firm.
Many free-agents are also natural enterprises, not encumbered by the need for constant growth. I’ve worked as a sub-contractor on bids from large corporations who need my skills for a specific project. It’s usually good work for me, but in many cases I could have put together a team of free agents for a much lower cost and a more effective (in my opinion) project. However, most large corporations and government agencies write their requestes for proposals (RFP) in such a way as to exclude small operators, thinking that they are mitigating their risks.
I have been on both sides of the fence, having written, evaluated and responded to RFP’s, and can say from my experience that free-agents provide good value. I have to agree with the advantages of using a natural enteprise that Dave Pollard lists:
- Personal relationship (knowledge, trust, partnership, friendship, even love)
- Customization (really have it your way)
- Local just-in-time service (responsiveness)
- Superior innovation
- Low pressure (since supplier is not dependent on growth for survival)
- Reciprocality (mutuality, flexible pricing)
- No corporatist costs to pass on (huge management salaries, huge margins to achieve 20%+ ROI demanded by shareholders, massive advertising, marketing, transportation and packaging costs)
- Resilience (reliability in the face of economic or other crises, due to superior improvisational capacity and focus on effectiveness rather than more vulnerable efficiency)
- Quality and durability (no crap from indifferent Chinese factories)
- Appeal to altruism (supplier is good to its people, its community, its environment, and good for the local economy)
Take for instance my marketing costs – hosting fees for this website and some of my time, compared to the expensive advertising of large consulting firms (Item 7).
In today’s internetworked world, you are no longer engaging a lone consultant working on his own, but an entire network: