When facing issues with environmental contamination and liabilities, the process of hiring the best environmental consultant is critical to your success. Firstly, it is essential to understand the roles of an environmental consulting company. To generalize, most of them revolve around performing due diligence projects for banks during property financing or are capable of carrying out remediation for contaminated sites. In order to find the best-fitted company, it is important to interview several consultants. Below are few strategies to follow when choosing your desired consultant:
1. Research and Organization
Before choosing a consultant, it is crucial that you understand the project and clearly define your needs. The chances are that the consultant will have a few questions for you that will be site-specific. Have a clear understanding of what the problem is and what is likely required. List all significant work that needs to be done and any other requirements enforced by the financial or environmental institution. A major advantage of the twenty-first century is having easy access to the internet. Organize a list of questions that can only be answered by a professional with specific experience. Find out what documents and information they would require and what kind of assessments would need to be carried out. You need to be able to understand why the work is necessary and what your end goal is. For example, do you need to conduct an ESA before you sell your property? If you have any doubts, get them clarified by the consulting company. You can begin by researching the most popular companies in the area. When you’re trying to narrow down companies, look at their reviews, website, and social media sites. Check which banks they work with and what certifications they have.
2. Referrals from peers
If you know someone who has experience with a similar situation, reach out. Ask them or your financial institution for a referral. You are probably not the first business that needs due diligence or has had to deal with the unique contamination. If you’re part of an association, ask them if they’ve been through something similar. Just knowing someone that has endured something similar will relieve stress and guide you through this process. Compare your situation to theirs in detail. What was the problem? Why did they need an assessment? How much did they spend? Who did they hire? Asking for advice is also helpful since you may learn from someone else’s mistakes so as to avoid the same mistakes.
3. Budget and Expenses
To plan your budget, search up what typical due diligence on your issues can cost. In the unlikely case that the internet does not suffice, you can request a preliminary quote from multiple consulting companies to compare. This will help give you an idea of what the cost range would be. The process will go smoother if you already have a list of required assessments and are well informed about the project. Try to determine where the major expenses will be. However, it is essential to note that the company offering the lowest price might not always be the best option. Their price will most likely reflect their quality of work. Making a decision based on the lowest price will rarely work out in the end. Once you’ve gathered all the information and have a ballpark figure in your mind, start shortlisting the consultants.
Take note of how the consultant handles your questions; it is foresight into your working relationship. Hire a consultant who has ample experience with your specific problem and has done numerous assessments in general. Make sure your consultant has the resources to get your work done. Ask them how they would solve your problem. You can also have them explain the project they encountered that was similar to yours. Ask them how committed they are to your work and what their payment plan is. Does the consultant take your issue seriously? Do they prioritize the safety of all personnel involved? If you have time constraints, what is the approximated time frame within which the assessment will be completed? It is vital to differentiate between someone who is just trying to make money versus someone who understands the gravity of your situation. Your consultants’ morals and goals in terms of the project must align with yours. Make it crystal clear.
Upon choosing the consultant, review your contract in detail. The consultant works for you and must have your best interest in mind. However, do not expect the consultant to change their conclusions based on what you need. Although you are a priority, their assessments are based partly on their professional opinion and can vary from the outcome required. Environmental due diligence is a massive responsibility and must be taken seriously by you as the client and the consulting company of choice.
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