Be Careful When Employing an Independent Consultant

February 18, 2016

Decision-Makers See Red Flags, Business Owners Wise to Dodge Bull

Source: The Business Monthly, Gloria Larkin, February 2, 2016

What is the single biggest myth in government contracting? That can be tough to say, because there are countless myths, misconceptions and confabulations in the federal, state and local government contracting marketplace.

However, in 2016, the single biggest myth is that one can pay someone else to pursue and win contracts on one’s behalf.

To clarify, this typical model is that an independent consultant (also known as a 1099 consultant) is hired by a company to represent it, make introductions and set up meetings. This person almost always requires a hefty monthly retainer and often negotiates a percentage of the contract upon award. The 1099 consultant may have worked for an agency, military operation or other government contractor in the past.

Essentially, the 1099 consultant represents a number of companies that may have unrelated, complementary or competitive services or products. In the private sector, this model is successful and this person is known as a manufacturers’ representative. By its name, it is clear that the model was initially developed for selling products only.

Potential Conflicts

During the past decade, this 1099 model has migrated to the government contracting marketplace and has greatly expanded to include not just products, but all services.

On the face, it seems to be a viable model, one in which companies may be able to limit their investment in expensive six-figure-plus employees and still receive the benefit of the experience and connections that the 1099 consultant brings to the table. The idea of a commission implies that the 1099 consultant has “some skin in the game,” as well. Read More …

Considering hiring an independent consultant to assist government contacting? Contact your nearest PTAC If this will help your business and meeting contracting guidelines.


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 For help with Government Contracting: contact your nearest Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). Funded through Cooperative Agreements between the U.S. Department of Defense and state and local governments/institutions, PTACs provide free and low-cost assistance in virtually all areas of government contracting.