The edie.net and Environment Business 2005 Consultancy Survey

The 2005 edie.net and Environment Business Environmental Consultancy Survey has now been completed with another overwhelming response from 1557 individuals, 1194 (77%) of whom are edie users and 954 (61%) are readers of Environment Business.

Unlike other surveys, ours examines the views, opinions and expertise of both consultancy providers themselves and the end users of those consultancies. We feel this adds value as it shows what customers think about the consultancy providers and the state of the market, rather than an "official" line from one side or the other.

So, how do the views compare? Who does have the best reputation in the consultancy market? And, how does their reputation compare to their turnover?

Our survey examined what factors influence customers' choice of consultant and where they would look to source them. Did you know that more people now look to online trade websites, such as edie.net, to find a consultant than to any other source including trade magazines, internet search engines or the mainstream press?

Is reputation in a specific field more important than size when choosing a consultancy or are customers more attracted by competitive pricing and a good relationship with the regulator?

What do consultants think will be the most important growth markets for their business and why? And, how does this compare with what customers said they would have an increasing consultancy use for?

The results show some interesting disparities between the two points of view, as well as some common areas of unity. The sector is still dominated by a handful of large players, but the market is becoming ever more diverse, and it is not always the biggest players who have the best reputation across all fields.

A good reputation is still the most valuable asset for consultancies in this sector. But in order to have a reputation, people must know that a company exists and and is active in the sector. So, as per last year, we took the 50 consultancies who declared the highest turnover in the last Environment Business survey and asked our audience which ones they knew provided environmental consultancy.

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A majority of our respondents felt that reputation was the most important factor for attracting and retaining customers, and that the firm with the best reputation would be also the firm with the largest turnover. However, perception and reality can often be quite different. The chart below shows that the company with the highest actual reported turnover, the RPS Group, actually rates 6th in perceived turnover, and 7th in reputation.

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The reasons for this are unclear - other consultants did not want to offer an answer and nobody from RPS was available for comment - but our survey does make clear that, in a highly competitive market, nobody should ever take their positioning for granted.

Further results are available to all edie + users. By following the links below, you will be able to access results for:



Click here for the 2005 Environmental Consultants Salary survey

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