SOURCE: Women in Consulting

Women In Consulting (WIC) (R)

August 08, 2016 12:00 ET

Survey Sees Increase in Consultants' Income and Use of Best Practices

14th Annual Women In Consulting (WIC) Survey Finds Consultants Optimistic

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwired - August 08, 2016) - Income for Bay Area consultants and other women business owners increased last year, and more of them regularly use best practices in their businesses. These are some of the findings of the 14th annual Women In Consulting (WIC) Best Practices research survey.

WIC helps its members build strong businesses through a variety of educational, mentoring and networking programs.

The survey covers overall trends in revenue and 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.

"This survey is known for highlighting practical ways women business owners and consultants can strengthen their businesses right now," said Jennifer Berkley Jackson, WIC's executive vice president and president of The Insight Advantage.

Key Findings: Revenue

Half the consultants saw their revenue increase last year. Average gross revenue increased slightly (5 percent) to $137,000 over the previous year's survey. This is the first time the average gross revenue for the survey respondents has exceeded $130,000 since the economic downturn of 2008 and 2009. Profits for the general group increased 11 percent to $89,000.

The gross revenue for the top 20 percent of the respondents increased 15 percent. Their profit, which only increased one percent, still averaged more than twice that of the group as a whole.

The average hourly rate jumped more than 20 percent over the last survey period. The average project fee remained steady while the average monthly retainer increased a dramatic 25 percent.

Key Findings: Business Practices

Consultants are generally optimistic about the future. More than two-thirds of them expect revenues to increase next year. Some of that optimism may be the result of increased collaboration and a consistent emphasis on networking.

Other findings:

  • Respondents are using monthly retainers (46 percent) and project fees (81 percent) rather than working solely on an hourly basis. This is the highest percentage of consultants using project fees in the history of this study.
  • More than a third of the respondents usually collect a part of their fee upfront.
  • More respondents (74 percent) renegotiate fees when the project scope changes.
  • Most respondents (83 percent) use subcontractors and 70 percent of them mark up the subcontractors' fees.
  • Social media has become an intrinsic part of the lives of consultants, and LinkedIn remains the overall favorite.
  • Overwhelmingly, consultants consider networking to be the best way to build a business.

"This survey is an example of how WIC fulfills its mission to help its members grow professionally and build strong businesses," said Deb Siegle, WIC's president and the president of Strategic Marketing Solutions.

The survey, which was open to both WIC and non-WIC members nationwide, covered the 12-month period from January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2015. Forty percent of this year's 105 respondents also participated in the previous survey.

A comprehensive report of the survey findings is available free for WIC Premium Members and Leaders' Network members and other respondents. The report is available for WIC Basic members and non-members for $75 and $110 respectively.

About Women In Consulting

Women In Consulting (WIC) is a vibrant, diverse, and powerful community of professional women who help each other build strong businesses. Founded in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1998, WIC provides its members and affiliates a forum to connect and share with like-minded professionals. Established as a nonprofit, collaborative community to educate and foster successful businesses for its members, WIC sponsors programs and activities to help members network, improve their skills, and thrive. WIC also provides consulting leadership and support to the community at large.

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