Promising Practices Promising PracticesPromising Practices
A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

3 Rules for Hiring Contractors

ARCHIVES
Image via Rangizzz/Shutterstock.com

Not all contractors are created equal. With budgets cinching and personnel needs growing, making sure you get the most bang for the taxpayer buck is more important than ever. Matthew Swyer, a contributor at Inc.com, tells the story of when contract help proved indispensible--almost too much.

When his contractor became unavailable for several weeks, it left Swyer and his team in a bind. He recounts the three major lessons he learned from his experience when looking to bring on reliable contract support:

1. Milestone Compensation

One of the first lessons anyone must be aware of is, Never hire any independent contractor without a milestone written contract in place. A milestone contract allows for payments as work is completed and verified. The milestones should be fairly negotiated between the parties but, once entered, rigidly adhered to.

2. Accountability

Never hire an independent contractor who does not have some form of accountability to you. When you are relying upon their work for your business, insist upon using only independent contractors that will agree, in writing, to some form of being accountable for the deliverable they are hired to create even after it has been delivered. Be leery of anyone who will not provide you with phone numbers or other forms of direct contact, as it may be an indication they want the ability to disappear on a moment's notice. One way to ensure accountability is a claw-back provision on fees if the goods or services they have provided cease to work after a limited time. Another option is a maintenance contract in which they are required to repair the same if failure of the product ever occurs.

3. Redundancy

You can never have too much redundancy. Every critical system in a business should be backed up by another system. Every one. The backup may not work as smoothly and easily as the main system, but in times of crisis, working at all is sufficient. In this regard, even if you hire an independent contractor to perform a specific task and they do so brilliantly, one should always be mindful that they are independent for a reason and they may not always be there to fix what they have created. Plan for that, also.

What considerations would you add to the list? 

Read more about Swyer's experience in working with and hiring independent contractors at Inc.com.

(Image via Rangizzz/Shutterstock.com)

Want more Excellence in Government? Follow us on Twitter | Facebook | Google + | LinkedIn

Mark Micheli is Special Projects Editor for Government Executive Media Group. He's the editor of Excellence in Government Online and contributes to GovExec, NextGov and Defense One. Previously, he worked on national security and emergency management issues with the US Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security. He's a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and studied at Drake University.

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.