Five Questions That Separate Good Consultants from Great Consultants

No one buys a car and hopes that it will make transportation harder! No buys a steak dinner and hopes they will leave hungrier than when they got there. And no one hires a waste consultant and hopes that their waste management will become more frustrating. 

Your waste management partner should do exactly that - manage your waste. They should be eliminating your headaches, not causing them. 

Ask these five questions, and you’ll quickly know whether a potential consultant is a good fit for your company.

What is your profit objective?

Yes, this is an uncomfortable question, but it’s probably one of the most important. Profit objective plays a critical role in any profession, and it’s going to affect how your waste consultant interacts with you and your waste stream.

If they can’t or won’t answer this question, it’s a good indication that they’re not the type of person you should be partnering with anyway. 

Profit objectives are not the same across the waste industry. Waste Consultants aren’t like brokers. Most don’t charge a flat fee every month. Instead, they share in the savings they find for you. 

Good consultants will tell you that they share in the savings they find. Great consultants will tell you that they won’t charge you unless they find savings.

Consultants vary in how they split the savings. Here at WCI, we typically share in the savings 50-50 with most of our clients. 

What does your audit process look like?

Good consultants will conduct an audit; great consultants will make sure that the audit is incredibly thorough.

You don’t want to partner with someone who is going to find $2000 worth of monthly savings, but miss the $4000 opportunity by not bothering to check your equipment efficiency. 

Consider asking these three questions about the waste audit process: 

  • What’s the turn-around time or time commitment? Audits can take quite some time - anywhere from 90 - 120 days. Be suspicious of someone who tells you they can complete their audit in less than two weeks. The more thorough the initial audit, the less you’ll overspend. It’s just that simple. 

  • What do you analyse during the audit process? Your consultant needs to be exhaustive. They should look at your contract, your equipment needs vs current equipment, your invoice history, and the frequency of pick-ups. They need to be detail oriented, but also have the wherewithal to be able to see the big picture of your spend, too. 

  • How do you share your findings? Will you get a copy of the audit results? What will the next steps of implementation look like? How much will your input be encouraged and accepted? You don’t want to partner with someone, for instance, who doesn’t let you have any say in those who are employed at your site.  

How do you bill us?

Pretend your electric bill suddenly goes through the roof. You go to look at your most recent invoice, and all that’s listed is one number, with one usage date. You have no way of telling what happened, or whether there is a mistake. You probably feel something less than victorious and empowered.

Waste disposal bills are similar to utility bills. How will you know whether you’re overpaying if you can’t see what you’re paying for?

Itemized waste bills minimize confusion, mix-ups, and errors. 

Most consultants will provide you with a monthly invoice. This invoice should list your locations, the services you are using at those locations, and what your cost for the month is. 

Good consultants will give you an itemized bill, but great consultants will provide additional detail about your location savings and comparison data.

What on-going services do you provide?

Excellent waste consultants look for every opportunity for you to minimize your waste disposal expenses. As a result, they shouldn’t stop after the initial audit is complete - they should keep looking for additional savings. 

In our opinion, great consultants offer on-going waste invoice review and service support. When you are having trouble with their hauler, the consultant is the one to resolve it.  And when there is a billing error, the consultant finds it and rectifies it. 

We find that many companies really appreciate the extra time they have as a result. They don’t have to spend hours navigating an endless phone menu, or trying to get in touch with the right representative. All of this gets taken off their plate.


Will you pay the waste haulers?

Most consultants will not pay the haulers for you.

They will renegotiate contracts as necessary, or send bids out to find you the least expensive waste service provider, but they will not pay the haulers on your behalf. 

Our practice is to ensure our clients are paying fair bills. So make sure our contracts are air-tight, and we review invoices to ensure they are in line with the contracts. (This eliminates things like surprise price hikes in addition to errors).


So, there you have it! 

Asking these five questions will give you a clear picture of who your potential waste partner is, and how they can help manage your waste disposal. 

A great consultant will do everything he can do to reduce your recurring waste expenses. They will be transparent about how they are paid and what their billing practices are. 

They will also conduct a thorough initial audit, but then go the extra mile and ensure you continue to experience all possible savings.

Don’t settle for less than ideal fit when it comes to your waste management. 

Your company and staff - not to mention your bottom line - will thank you for it.  

Want even more questions to ask a consultant? Download this free questionnaire to evaluate your potential waste management partner.