As a landscape architect, one of the hardest things is to find great people to collaborate with. And we often have to look to procure services from other professionals including architects, engineers, horticulturalists, ecologists, irrigation designers, lighting designers, landscape contractors and many others. How we obtain these services is often based on past experience and word of mouth. Some landscape architects consistently use the same professionals because they know their work and enjoy working together. However, we often need to obtain new services due to unavailability, a new area of expertise, or you have a project in a new location. Often we seek the experience of others to find new people to provide a service but how can you reduce the risk of working with the wrong consultant?
Similar to when landscape architects are bidding for projects there are a set of criteria and it is best practice to do the same including:
- Past experience – does the company have past experience in that area of expertise and location?
- The right people – do they have the right people with the expertise you need? Also are those people available?
- Willingness – are they willing to work with a new client? (i.e. you) – some consultants have a large pipeline of work and aren’t seeking new clients.
- Financially viable – do they have money/cashflow issues? (this is the hardest one to evaluate as most companies are private and don’t publically disclose financial information)
- Qualifications and certifications – does the company have the right qualifications and certifications such as ISO9001 or ISO45001?
- Insurances – do they have the right insurances and coverage?
- Industry reputation – does the company have a good or bad reputation? Are there particular people in the company who are great to work with?
These are ways that you can minimise risk when looking for consultants to join your project team. It also comes down to relationships and working well together. If you can build a good relationship then it is a pleasure to work together and create projects as a team and you will also start to recommend each other to others. Word of mouth and networks are a great way to procure and win work.