What is the difference between a contractor and a consultant?
As a professional billing on an hourly basis, you know that a key contributor to the future success of your career is how you market yourself. In today’s society, contractors are viewed as individuals who jump from company to company completing very specific projects. They are essentially hired to get a job done and get out. An experienced Senior Business Analyst explained it well, “as a contractor you are not there to have employee reviews and work on how you can develop your skills, you are there to provide a service and leave.”
Consultants, on the other hand, can serve a similar purpose and come in to focus on a specific initiative or complete a certain project. However, one major difference that comes to mind when we hear the word consultant is “advisor.” Both contractors and consultants are brought in to serve a very specific, usually short term purpose, but a consultant is viewed as someone who will review, analyze, and advise the organization on best practices moving forward.
Of course, there are many other factors that play into the logistical differences, such as:
- How each professional bills the work they do
- Cost of the work they perform
- The amount of travel that is required
If you look at the words ‘contractor’ and ‘consultant’ as just words and realize that the primary difference is a mindset, then perhaps you have the key to your future success. Whichever term you best identify with, your reputation and positioning are the keys to landing the next engagement.
What a consultant brings to the table that a contractor doesn’t always do
Consultants behave in a way in which they take ownership of the business in a figurative sense. If you represent yourself with authority and conduct your actions in a way that shows you are taking ownership of the project, then you are of more value to the client. A contractor is not always seen as a subject matter expert, but more so as someone that has experience with the job requirements. A Consultant has dedicated their career to a type of work; whether it is business analysis, project or product management, or a specialized industry skill such as marketing, finance, etc.
For more information, check out our great Senior Business Analyst opportunities in the consulting industry!