3 Things to Consider When Contracting

Some thumb-thump, others look for a yellowish underbelly and still others subscribe to the sniff ‘n squeeze method. Yet despite the best of efforts, most of us still can’t pick a ripe, delicious melon. You never really know what you’ve got until you’ve bought it, sliced it and taken that first couple of bites. And then it’s either “Ohhh, so good!” or “Ewww, so bad!” It’s often the same story with contracting a third party to support your growing business. You research, you interview, you make a selection, sign NDAs, and get to work. It’s only after some time that you really know what you’ve bitten into.

Before you sign your next contract, there are three things to look for that might give you a clue of the taste of things to come.

  1. What do their contracts look like? Give the contract a good look. Are they scoping projects based on minimum service level requirements? This is absolutely fine for a short-term contract; On the other hand, if you are embarking on a multi-quarter journey and all you see is minimum service level verbiage, think twice. If, however, they have outlined stretch goals in tandem to minimums, then this creates a win/win outcome whereby they can reach for bonuses and you can gain additional value.
  2. As you negotiate your way through the contract, take note of where the conversations are focused. Obviously, there is going to be an emphasis on the deliverables (the what), as that’s the point. However, you should also get a good balance of discussion revolving around your how and why as the contractor seeks to deepen his/her understanding. Without these two vital pieces, it’s likely that you’re dealing with an order-taker, not an innovator.
  3. Lastly, ask some questions around the implementation plan. Does the plan focus solely on meeting your objective and your needs? Dig deeper. How will the implementation plan affect your team? Your employees? Your end-users? Does the plan allow for employee and/or end-user feedback that is reported directly back to you? Getting the work done on-time and on-budget is just half the battle. The rest is ensuring that the project keeps people feeling positive about the decisions you are making.

To summarize, the 3 things to look for when considering a contractor are their contract verbiage, tone of conversation, and implementation plan. Taking the time to give these a closer look will provide you with a clearer picture of the contractor’s culture and ability.

Comparing Vendors and Partners When Contracting:

This infographic compares the differences between a vendor and a partner when a business is deciding on contracting.

Have you hired a vendor who left a bad taste in your mouth? What could you have done differently? Or conversely, have you hired an amazing partner? What did they do from the start that assured you that they would be fruitful? Have actual melon-picking tips of your own? Let us know about your contracting experiences on our social media!