Choosing a Professional Services Provider

Executive Summary:  How do you pick an attorney, a banker, a certified public accountant, an insurance agent, or an engineer?

General:  As a contractor, you need the following professional services on a regular basis:

  • Legal
  • Banking
  • Accounting
  • Insurance
  • Engineering

Some companies may provide these services in house, but likely you will be hiring third party firms who specialize in these services.

When asked by a new business owner how to pick one of these professionals, the first thing you likely think of is their technical capability.  This is without a doubt a necessity and a box which must be checked; however, it was rarely the deciding factor for me.

It’s personality.

I like the service provider to “get me”.  I want them to know my business, but at the end of the day, I want someone who can have a beer with me.  I mean that somewhat literally, but more so figuratively.

As an example, sometimes I like to curse.  I don’t want to feel like I cannot do that around them.  If you get a look of disapproval or you see discomfort in your service provider when you’re in their conference dropping a four letter word, perhaps this isn’t a good fit for you.

In business, outside of the low bid arena, relationships drive success.  Make sure you enjoy your professional services provider.  They’ll be there when you’re in a pickle, but more importantly it makes it a little easier to write that big check when at least you like the person.

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