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Thread: Part-time consulting

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Part-time consulting

    I've been looking for ways to supplement my income, and have been considering looking for some part-time consulting work. The thing is, I only have about 4 years post-grad school experience and am fairly new to the city where I live, so I don't have many contacts. I don't think establishing a consultancy of my own would get me much business, but I do think I have some valuable skills to offer existing consultants/firms. Has anyone ever gotten part-time side work from a consultant? If you are a consultant, do you hire people on a part-time or project-by-project basis? How would you suggest bringing this up to people I want to work with/for?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    You have to be extremely careful doing this as a side-business. If you are AICP and work for an agency, you are barred from moonlighting as a planner, although for some reason the Code of Ethics is not as stringent about planners who work FOR a consulting firm moonlighting additional work on the side. Who are your desired clients? Developers? Public Sector Agencies? If it is the latter, most agencies have a formal bid process for planning contracts so you will most likely have to prepare a Response for Proposal (RFP) and Response for Qualifications (RFQ) since you are new with no business reputation.

    Fortunately you have a few years of experience under your belt, as opposed to several other cyburbians who wanted to start their own firm right out of school. Who do you personally know that is looking for help on projects? I think you will have a greater chance at building up a side job doing one contract at a time. Whenever you approach anyone promoting your services you should also have marketing material. It can be a simple as a 1-2 page cut sheet that shows what you have worked on. You don't necessarily need a website at this point especially if you want to keep a low profile. You should also consider approaching other firms, even sole proprietorships, to work as a sub-consultant on their projects. See previous threads on private sector planning and starting businesses on Cyburbia.

    Hope this helps-
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  3. #3
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I second that. If you need more income I would stay clear of planning just to be on the safe side that there would be no potential conflicts of interest.

    You would be surprised at how much money you can make if you are a hard worker and can add. For example I worked a second job for a while selling things like t-shirts at rock shows and there were weeks where I'd make more doing that than planning.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    If you are a software whiz, you can get work on short-term contracts with a quick turnaround than a full-fledged planning contract. Years ago I started doing Sketchup illustration projects for a few hundred dollars per contract. Granted, the client was a former coworker from an internship. There are plenty of short-term contracts doing photoshop, illustrator, or web design work. Granted, you still have to claw the internet. Craigslist is also a good resource, and since it's over the internet don't limit yourself to local boards either.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    You have received some good advice. The consulting business has been declining since 2007 and does not promise to get better any time soon, gien the continued hits to state and local budgets. The established firms are struggling. Adding to the problem, many very experienced planners are trying to consult if they have become unemployed or retired. Working as a solo consultant you will have to compete against the big guys for RFP work, and against the experienced solo consultants for the kinds of projects that normally fly under the radar. As others have suggested, your best bet will be to take advantage of skills these others may not have, such as illustration, GIS or CAD, web design, etc.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    You have received some good advice. The consulting business has been declining since 2007 and does not promise to get better any time soon, gien the continued hits to state and local budgets. The established firms are struggling. ...Working as a solo consultant you will have to compete against the big guys for RFP work, and against the experienced solo consultants for the kinds of projects that normally fly under the radar.
    Yup.

    Nevertheless, my advice to students wondering about what to do after graduation is appropriate here as well: bartending skills. Especially if you are single. You may be able to pick up a contract for planning services here or there, but bartending will get you more money per hour, get you out of the office, keep your mind working, you can network in a wider sphere, and you'll meet hotties.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Good advice. I am pretty good with GIS and know someone who has a small firm, so I will see if he needs some help. As for bartending, I'm sure it would be fun but I don't think my wife or 2-year-old would approve.

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