Well sometimes it does but it certainly should not! I do hear horror stories about high priced consultants charging some extortionate day rate and being there for ever. When I set up Foy Certification I intended to pitch against the market and as an ex-contractor who abhorred fixers working on “Daywork” I offered a fixed price to guide contractors to ISO certification and I also guaranteed success. That has sometimes backfired for me when some customers have taken much longer – for myriad reasons – than I anticipated but I still think it is the right thing to do. My customers have cost-certainty and that is important. When some people say “It is expensive” then of course the question is “Expensive when compared to what?” I help my customers to get there – with a guarantee remember – for the cost of a couple of fancy laptops. Now I would say this wouldn’t I but I think that represents tremendous value when you consider the potential benefits – including return to the bottom line. Nobody can ever put a financial figure on the benefits of ISO but I think you would agree that enshrining practices that assure your customers, improve your business and manage your risks is potentially massive. And is that not worth a modest investment in a good consultant? Of course you can do it yourself, without my or anybody else’s help, but then the question becomes the cost of your time against the cost of using a consultant to help you. If you are starting from scratch then you will inevitably need time to not only read the standards but assimilate them in order to effectively apply them to your business. All that needs to be weighed up against the certain cost of using a consultant, if they offer a fixed price and if they offer a guarantee. And remember, the sooner you set up your management system and use it, the more cost savings you will enjoy. The ROI will be very quick. The value to the business of continual improvement which ISO compels you to do and shows you how to do it is potentially enormous; so does that sound expensive now?