How involved do I want to be?
Do I need to be hands-on, or would I feel better providing the details of what I want and letting someone else figure out how to make it happen? Will the consulting firm be flexible enough (can the consulting firm be flexible enough) to handle either option?
Who is the primary contact?
Who is going to oversee the consulting firm? Will there be more than one person? If so, are we in agreement on what needs done, and who will have the final decision-making authority?
What are my QMS requirements?
Does my firms quality management system (QMS) require certain documents or systems be used? If so, can I provide access to these documents or systems in a secured manner? If flexibility exists, does the firm I am considering a relationship with have an established QMS? Can the firm provide access to their QMS and documents in a secured manner?
Consider the firm’s definitions and criteria’s.
Do I/does my company have established definitions for audit or assessment classifications, or will I need to review the consulting firm’s definitions and criteria? Which will be used? How will we resolve any disparities?
What’s the agreement on agreements?
Will the consulting firm be willing to create a mutually agreed quality agreement or service-level details document above and beyond the contract? Will my company?
Will I have flexibility in bidding?
For example, the number of hours available in my budget, etc.? What happens if something is observed that creates a need for additional time? How will either side handle this?
Consider billing requirements.
Does my company have requirements regarding billing that I will need to convey to the potential consulting firm? Does the potential consulting firm have the infrastructure to handle billing in the way my company requires?
Will project leads be available?
Will the consulting firm have a project lead available? Or will I deal directly and only with the assigned consultant(s)? Who will be available if I or the consultant have questions or need assistance/support? Will I want to, or may I contact and interact with the consultant directly?
Consider any potential complication’s.
What do I see as potential complications on this project? Is the potential consulting firm willing to work with me to plan and minimize them, if possible?
Can this be a long term relationship?
It’s never to late to look ahead, ask yourself: will this be a firm I want to continue working with after all is said and done on this project?