Choosing a FileMaker Consultant

What criteria should you use? I’ve seen a lot of buzz lately surrounding the criteria customers should use when choosing a FileMaker consultant. This is an interesting topic that affects everyone in the FileMaker community. I realize it’s a little ‘sales-y’… but, don’t forget, all new business starts with a sale and we all need new business to feed our families. 🙂 A few weeks ago, The Support Group put out a white paper titled Six Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your FileMaker Consultant that started a kerfuffle on TechNet. (As a side note, you might have to register in order to download the white paper.) The questions they proposed were:

  • Are You a FileMaker Certified Developer?
  • Are you a member of the FileMaker Business Alliance and TechNet?
  • Are you a FileMaker Authorized training provider?
  • Do you work independently, or do you employ other consultants?
  • Do you bill hourly or by the project?
  • What experience and expertise do you have integrating FileMaker with other applications?

Skeleton Key meets all of these criteria; but, that doesn’t make us a good fit for every lead that crosses my desk. I know that because we don’t win every sale. Additionally, I’ve made at least a dozen referrals to other developers this year alone, because they were a better fit for that customer. Earlier this week, a prospective customer shared their decision matrix with us. They used five criteria, rated each on a ten-point scale, and then added them up. Their criteria were:

  • Communication
  • Price
  • Time
  • Initiative
  • Telecommute

Personally, I don’t have a problem with any of the questions proposed by The Support Group, and I certainly don’t have problems with the criteria set forth by our prospective customer. In fact, I don’t have a problem with any question or criteria. For me, what’s really important is that our prospective customers find the right fit for their unique criteria, and, when it’s a good fit, Skeleton Key finds customers who are happy paying for our services because we meet those criteria.

Let’s take it one step further.

Choosing a FileMaker development partner and specifying a FileMaker app is a complex process. Too often, the complexity pushes prospective customers to choose to do nothing or maintain the status quo. The challenge is that most prospective application development customers I meet don’t have a clear set of criteria.

That said, I think we owe it to our customers to provide insight into what criteria they could use to make these decisions. We’ve outlined 11 criteria above but I’m sure the possibilities are endless.

What do you think, FileMaker Community? If you were hiring a consultant to work on your internal FileMaker systems, what criteria would you use?

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Jason Thomas manages Business Development at Skeleton Key. About Skeleton Key Skeleton Key is an accomplished team of technology consultants who solve business problems. We specialize in the rapid development of custom applications, integrating Macs and PCs in the professional workplace, and providing personalized training. Despite our end-to-end technical skills, we are consultant first and technologist second. We know that you don’t just need technology. You need to know that the technology you choose to deploy will provide the results you desire. Skeleton Key is a Platinum Level FileMaker Business Alliance company, an Authorized FileMaker Trainer, a member of the Apple Consultants Network and a Microsoft Registered Partner.