5. What certifications do you have? In the irrigation industry there are many certifications available. For example, if someone is considering hiring a professional with a master’s in landscape architecture to design a landscape irrigation system, a good question to ask is if the designer is a certified irrigation designer. If someone has a master’s degree, he has simply shown the ability to go to school to learn. A designer with a CID has the experience and the knowledge to take what he has learned and make it practical.

Additional Considerations

Companies often determine whether it is beneficial to hire an external consultant or try to use in-house talent. In my experience, I have never come across a company that has good talent idly sitting, waiting for a project. Employees with extra time on their hands oftentimes are not quality employees. Do you really want a B-level employee handling a specialized project? Wouldn’t you rather have a specialized consultant who has experience with this type of project?

For the Consultant

My advice to consultants: have confidence in your value. It is important to effectively and clearly communicate your value to potential clients. For example, communicate what you are good at and how you are better than the competition. One of the lessons I have learned is to never negotiate my rates. The rates I have set are equitable compensation for my services.

When hired for a job, give the client a 150 percent effort. This sounds cliché, but think about the last time you received an email from a client who needed something that same day. Did you reach for your laptop and send what they needed, even if it was late in the afternoon or evening? I have worked on projects until 1 a.m. just because a client needed it right away.

There is no shame in turning a potential client away. When interviewing a potential client, you are not only establishing if you have a solution for them but also if you are a good fit. If you do not believe in their company, the way they do business or how they interact, do not accept them as a client. You must be able to do your best for them. Having reservations about a company’s ethics or business will likely inhibit your willingness to help them.

Selecting a consultant can either make or break your business. Hiring a good consultant will often push your company to new heights of success. The same goes for consultants. If you do not make your clients successful, your company will never be successful.

John Maxwell is an independent irrigation designer who designs irrigation systems worldwide. He is a certified irrigation designer, certified agriculture irrigation specialist, master plumber and master electrician.


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