Should A Consultant Or Advisory Service Be Used?
Once production costs have been estimated, a decision must be made. Do I hire a consultant or use an advisory service for help with marketing? If a consultant is used, what is his background? Is he fundamentally or technically oriented? In today’s market environment, the consultant needs to be proficient in both. Is he willing to spend the necessary time answering your questions? Does the consultant give specific recommendations or does he hedge his advice? Does he return calls in a timely manner? Your call should be returned within a reasonable time on the day on which it is made. Do you feel comfortable working with the consultant and are the fees for the service reasonably priced?
If a market advisory service is your preference, the same criteria in evaluating a consultant should be applied. However, there are other considerations. Are the recommendations of the service easy to follow? Do they provide a balance between technical and fundamental information? Do they provide insight on global developments? This is highly important, as there are many issues that could affect your bottom line that are not related to agriculture, i.e. the subprime mortgage crisis. Are their recommendations specific or general? If a recommendation is made, will you follow it, or wait to see what happens? If you do the latter, the chances are that the advisory service will be of little value. However, if you are trying to minimize your own workload and are looking for someone to stay on top of current grain prices for you, an advisor may be worth your while.