Working with Planning Consultants

PAS Report 573

By Eric Kelly

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Every year hundreds of local governments hire consultants to help them with planning projects. But few planning officials go through the process often enough to feel confident in choosing consultants wisely, working with them effectively, and getting the best results from the relationships.

Author Eric Damian Kelly, FAICP, an experienced planning consultant, knows firsthand the perils and pitfalls of the process. In six easy-to-follow chapters, he maps out a path from the decision to hire a consultant to the victory lap at its successful completion. He shares sources to find qualified consultants, five ways to structure the selection process, what to include in a Request for Proposal, and how to manage the project once the consultant is on board. His practical guide also covers the nitty-gritty of payment, legal and ethical issues, and dispute resolution. An appendix is packed with handy resources, including a sample consulting agreement, scope of services document, and evaluation form.

Working with Planning Consultants shows not only how to hire a good consultant but how to be a good client — one who gets good value from the investment in consulting services. While the report is aimed at planning officials, consultants also will find pointers for navigating the selection process more smoothly.

Working with Planning Consultants updates Eric Damian Kelly's 1993 report Selecting and Retaining a Planning Consultant, also from APA Planning Advisory Service.

Product Details

Page Count
Date Published
July 1, 2013
Adobe PDF

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Deciding to Hire a Consultant
Should We Hire a Consultant?
Sources of Services
How to Find Consultants
Organizing for Selection

Chapter 3: The Process of Selecting a Consultant
Types of Selection Procedures
Considerations for the RFQ-RFP Process
Checking References
Conducting Interviews
Making the Selection
Negotiating the Contract

Chapter 4: An RFP for Consulting Services
The Purpose of an RFP
What the RFP Should Include
RFP Dos and Don'ts

Chapter 5: Legal Considerations and Insurance
Formal Agreements
Doing Business with Teams
Insurance and Bonds

Chapter 6: Managing the Project
Beginning Work with the Consultant
Communicating with the Consultant
Paying the Consultant
Control over Process and Product
Evaluating the Consultant's Work
Resolving Disputes
Wrapping Up a Successful Project

Appendix A. Agreement for Consulting Services
Appendix B. Short-Form Agreement for Consulting Services
Appendix C. Scope of Services
Appendix D. Evaluation Form for Selecting Consultants