The Expense of Not Hiring a Professional

By Scott Hennie, MH Engineered Solutions President


I read a Twitter post the other day that stated, "If you think a professional is expensive, try hiring an amateur". I had to ponder for a moment, then it hit me. Companies and people provide services because their customers need them. Then I began to reminisce about the situations and clients I've worked within the past that started down a path, discovered that they were sinking quickly, then asked for the Life Preserver! Unfortunately, there are way too many stories like that to recall.

Many clients that I've worked with don't know what they don't know. They begin to tackle a project or situation with good intentions but soon discover that they don't have the Time, Resources, or Specialized Knowledge to efficiently come to a resolution. Sometimes they have traveled far down a path, others have just begun their journey and realize they don't like the road they are on. In either case, they come to a decision point about either how to proceed or if it makes sense to end the journey at that point.


Time can be the biggest constraint on a company’s pursuit of a project or solution to a problem. Most of our clients are focused on the Selling, Manufacturing, and Distribution of their products, they don't have the time available to address their "Special Projects". If they do decide to tackle the project internally, they often find that their "normal responsibilities" start to suffer. I have seen this situation escalate quickly to the point that trying to solve the problem or execute a project exaggerates the problem and creates a vortex of exploding issues. It is not uncommon for a project when being handled internally, to take 3-5 times or more the expected investment in time.


Just like time, many companies don't have the internal resources to efficiently take on a project that is outside of their normal scope of business. These resources can be in the form of people, hardware, software or tools, and equipment. Many internal engineering staff have been cut or reduced over the years. With the people went the tools to do the jobs. In addition, the resource of people is often asked to take on a project or try to solve a problem that they aren't necessarily versed in the potential solutions. Again, they are focused on their day-to-day business. It takes time for a person to educate himself to the point that they can be resourceful in project execution or problem resolution. The issue of hardware, software, and tools becomes a resource that may require additional investment - just to develop a solution! These resources should be evaluated thoroughly before jumping into a project feet-first.


This is a tough one. When faced with a problem or a project, most people will accept and take on the challenge rather than taking a long, hard look at what options are available to develop a solution. It is an often-used quote, but " The definition of insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". When a situation gets to the point of attention, it usually isn't the first pass at recognizing there is an issue. The level of thinking that brought us to this point cannot be used to take us in a different direction. This often comes in being too close to the situation that you can't necessarily see the solutions that may be right before you. Bringing in an outside resource provides a pair of fresh, unbiased eyes to a situation. Couple that with the outside resource having specialized knowledge, often brings a project or situation to a quick, sound resolution. 

When faced with a project, problem, or challenge, think through the options available to resolve that situation. If it appears that it is too big, outside the "expertise" of the organization, or simply too time-consuming to address, consider hiring outside resources. These resources can provide Expertise, be an Advisor, be a Resource to the organization, and a Single Point of Contact in the resolution of the challenge or execution of the project!