Get your minds out of the gutter, ya’ll. I’m talking about staffing firms.
Hello, everyone. I’m Jenny, and for the past five years, I’ve been employed by a “boutique” staffing firm known as STS Technical Services (STSTS). When I took this job, I anticipated my time would be spent serving our smaller, back-yard clients with one and two off requests. But day-in and day-out, my charming little firm chooses a different path, one I found quite surprising, initially. Let me explain…
At STSTS, we don’t think of ourselves as a small business. Our competitors may look at us and wonder “who’s the small fry” each time we get invited to bids by Fortune 350 and Fortune 500 companies, but it seems that my bosses just don’t have the word “fear” in their vocabulary. We welcome any opportunity to go toe-to-toe with the largest players in the industry and, let me just say, being dubbed as the “small fry” makes winning a contract even sweeter.
All that being said, there is one obvious question we’re left with… a question I will try and answer throughout the rest of this post. ‘Why should large corporations take notice of smaller staffing agencies?’
Large companies claim to have the ability to go above and beyond when it comes to staffing, but can they really? If your company requests something out of the norm — a different format or process — chances are that there will be a lengthy and bureaucratic chain of command that must adhered to in order to make that request possible. With a boutique firm, I need only take a short walk to the end of the hall in an effort to make your request heard prior to a team-wide implementation.
Establishing close working relationships with your clients is paramount, and not just in the staffing world. As a small business, STS Technical Services operates much closer to our client than larger firms do. Our knowledge isn’t compartmentalized because our operating structure is lean, which means the entire company has visibility when it comes to the day-to-day operations and challenges we face. Consultation and innovation happen regularly when all heads come together, which brings us to our last and, arguably the most attractive, selling point… price.
For some, the word boutique suggests couture pricing. But in our world, we don’t have the large overhead of a bigger firm that staffs hundreds of people daily. Our efficiency comes from our technology and our centralized recruiting center. Our smaller footprint means that our clients don’t pay for brick and mortar.
Being small means that we can get creative when it comes to funding our clients’ projects because we have the luxury of developing pricing around the nature and behaviors of their business, not everyone else’s.
We often see our competitors padding for every unforeseen cost they’ve encountered. Our MO, however, is to price based on costs, which are certain. We discuss and disclose things that may happen while also providing situational pricing that would only be applied if certain events play out. This level of transparency fast forwards the relationship and trust-building stages of an account and really places us shoulder-to-shoulder with our clients. We engage at the proposal stage and can show our numbers in whatever fashion the client needs.
Taking the above into account, it’s easy to understand why companies prefer to be a small firm’s “big fish,” but what about me; the employee who is convinced that smaller is better?
Working for my boutique firm has provided me opportunities that, with a large company, would have taken many years to become exposed to; thus increasing my personal market value as a sellable employee. I’m mentored directly by top-level management, which empowers me to innovate and get creative with solutions. I impact my clients in the biggest way possible, and that often leads me to say “yes” rather than “that’s not how we do it here.” I wouldn’t have it any other way!
So, what do you think? When it comes to staffing firms, does size really matter?