SOURCE: Women in Consulting

Women In Consulting (WIC) (R)

December 19, 2014 12:00 ET

Survey Finds That Consultants' Income Is Steady, Optimism Is High

13th Annual Women In Consulting (WIC) Survey Also Finds Increased Collaboration and Continued Emphasis on Networking

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwired - December 19, 2014) - Gross revenue for Bay Area consultants has remained steady for the past two years; consultants are optimistic about the future; and more of them are using business practices that increase profitability. These are some of the findings of the 13th annual Women In Consulting (WIC) Best Practices and Compensation Survey.

WIC is a collaborative community offering professional consultants and small business owners a powerful resource for building strong businesses.

The survey covers overall trends in revenue and rates. It also examines best practices, including the choice of business structure, use of employees and subcontractors, billing practices, networking, and marketing approaches. The WIC survey team analyzes the responses of the top-earning consultants to identify successful best practices. The team also tracks evolving trends in consulting by comparing results to previous years.

"For years, consultants and small business owners nationwide have told us how valuable the survey information is to them and how it has helped them improve their businesses," said Jennifer Berkley Jackson, WIC's executive vice president and president of The Insight Advantage.

Key Findings: Revenue

The key revenue findings contained a few surprises.

Gross revenue numbers overall are the same as the previous year ($130,000). Average project fees and hourly rates are fairly consistent, and retainer fees are slightly down overall for respondents.

However, gross revenue for the Top 20% dropped 10 percent (from $440,000 to $400,000) after growing for two consecutive years. At the same time, the Top 20% made an average of $100,000 more in net profit than the group as a whole.

Anecdotally, several consultants reported that projects and budgets are larger than in previous years, especially from existing clients.

Key Findings: Business Practices

Consultants are generally optimistic about their businesses. Fully 60 percent of respondents expect business to increase next year. Some of that optimism may be the result of increased collaboration and a consistent emphasis on networking.

Specifically:

  • Overwhelmingly, consultants consider networking to be the best way to build a business.
  • More consultants are using recommended best practices, such as using subcontractors (up to 78 percent from 74 percent the previous year), marking up those subcontractors' fees (up to 69 percent from 59 percent), and collecting a part of their fee upfront (up to 18 percent from 13 percent).
  • The vast majority (91 percent) of the survey respondents believe that regular in-person meetings are important, but only 41 percent of respondents report having these meetings.
  • Social media has become an intrinsic part of the lives of consultants. Eighty-three percent of respondents report using social media for business purposes, with LinkedIn the hands-down favorite.

"This survey is one of the ways that WIC fulfills its mission to help its members grow professionally and build strong businesses," said Kathie Sherman, WIC's president and the president of Ten Four Marketing.

The survey, which was open to both WIC and non-WIC members nationwide, covered the 12-month period from July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014. Almost half (48 percent) of this year's 155 respondents also participated in 2013.

Participants and WIC Full and Leaders' Network members will receive a detailed report of survey results.

About Women In Consulting

Women In Consulting (WIC) is a collaborative community that helps consultants and small business owners build strong businesses. The 300+ members of WIC are a premier resource for businesses seeking expert consultants to deliver high-quality results. WIC helps its members grow professionally through formal programs and through a supportive community that fosters collaboration and sharing. This nonprofit organization helps consultants through every stage of the business lifecycle, from just getting started to managing a mature organization. Established in 1998, WIC is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area and has members throughout the country.
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