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Consultant vs. Contractor

By drlee13 ·
I work on the Technical Side of an IT department. I would like to know what is the difference between a Consultant and a Contractor? Let's get some depth to the answers!

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Consultant vs. Contractor

by bgeary In reply to Consultant vs. Contractor

Most people will use the term interchangeably, so when you go to hire a consultant or contractor, they probably could care less what you call them as long as the check is good.

That said, I would define the difference based on what they are brought in for. A consultant should help you define business processes or define requirements, etc.

A contractor is brought in to accomplish a specific result you have already built requirements for (i.e. write these reports in VB).

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Consultant vs. Contractor

by drlee13 In reply to Consultant vs. Contractor

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Consultant vs. Contractor

by dksmith In reply to Consultant vs. Contractor

A consultant is someone who will show you a better way of doing things; a different process. If I hire a consultant I want someone to evaluate and reply with a report or something that constructively criticizes the item that was evaluated. The consultant is the thinker.

A contractor is someone who puts into place the idea that the consultant originated. The contractor is a doer.

I hire consultants to determine what kind of training needs to be conducted, when and where. The contractors I hire conduct the training.

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Consultant vs. Contractor

by drlee13 In reply to Consultant vs. Contractor

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Consultant vs. Contractor

by TomSal In reply to Consultant vs. Contractor

In general, I agree with what the others wrote. With one exception - there are also a breed of Consultants known as the "Full Service" Consultants. I don't think many exist, heh - I'll be honest I didn't know ANY such title existed until 3 months ago when I had to source out bids for a WAN network. A full service consultant researchs, designs, plans AND actually does the actual work as well.

The advantage to this is obvious - you save money because you are using one team/guy/company for thewhole project.

In general though the other posts are correct.

A consultant - consults. They interview their clients for there exact needs, determine any requirements, determine budget, determine if there are any special requests by the customer. Most often preferred brands or even exact models of equipment will be suggested by the customer if the counsultant is dealing with an IT centric company (re: IBM, Cisco, Intel, etc.). Otherwise the consultant will also reccommend the units/models/equipment as part of the service.

Contractors can be thought of as the "grunts" of the industry. They work the trenches. They take job orders from consultants individually or from an entire consultancy firm and then they do the work, often on consignment terms with the consultant.

The general idea is the customer, unless for some silly reason they have a desire to use their own contractor, will NEVER see the contractor until they come to do the work - the consultant arranges everything.

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Consultant vs. Contractor

by TomSal In reply to Consultant vs. Contractor

Oh yeah and here's a fun fact.. As of 1999 the average IT consultant in the USA, working with Telecommucations/Networking charged an average of $500 per hour base rates. Some high bid contractor jobs (in the millions) work out to as much as $75,000 per hour.

And they say lawyers charge a lot.

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Consultant vs. Contractor

by drlee13 In reply to Consultant vs. Contractor

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Consultant vs. Contractor

by RealGem In reply to Consultant vs. Contractor

A contractor is just what it seems: a contract employee. The contractor is signed on for a fixed term in a pre-established position. You will see contractors writing software, configuring workstations, administering networks, and manning help desks.

A consultant is also just what the name implies. They are providing advice. They are bringing something that the company does not have at all. A consultant may not actually do the work. In fact, if the consultant's recommendation cannot be accomodated by your current staff, you may have to hire contractors to do the work!

Consultants are usually retained for short-term engagements.

I've met a lot of contract programmers who call themselves consultants. I find this quite laughable, since these people are usually the under experienced ones. Those people provide programming skills, but they definitely couldn't teach me anything. In other words, I would never "consult" them if I had a problem. In fact, it's usually the otherway around. These people should probably be called consultors instead!

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Consultant vs. Contractor

by drlee13 In reply to Consultant vs. Contractor

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by drlee13 In reply to Consultant vs. Contractor

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