Do You Need a Bench Model to be a Good Contract Firm?

First and foremost, a bench model is when a firm hires candidates as full-time employees and continues to pay them even when they are not a project. It is fairly common in the consulting/recruiting industry to use a bench model but that doesn’t mean you need to use it to be successful. In fact, there are a number of downsides to engaging with a firm who uses this model.



Arguably the biggest concern with most businesses is how much would it cost to bring in a consultant or experienced professional on a contract basis. When a firm uses a bench model, they must pay those employees (or contractors) regardless if they are on assignment or not. What does this mean? It usually means a higher cost and/or rate. Bench-model companies have to make money like every other business and when they are paying consultants who aren’t generating revenue it can add up. They make up this cost by marking up their services at higher rates.


Non-Bench Benefits

There are a plethora of benefits to working with a firm that does not use a bench-model:

  • Options – Firms who don’t use a bench model are constantly engaging with the professional community to find the best contractors for their clients. If you work with a bench model firm then there is a good chance that you must pick from the selection they have, even if they aren’t a perfect fit.
  • Cost – As outlined above, non-bench firms are often more affordable because they are not eating the cost of the consultant even when they aren’t working.
  • Nimble – While you might think it is easier for bench firms to move people on and off projects, it can actually be more difficult as they may need to learn additional skills to fit your needs or are locked into longer term contracts. Non-bench firms often have more options and wider net to select from.
  • Ability to convert to perm-What if your consultant is a great fit with your company culture and you want to to bring them on as a permanent part of your team? Most bench models carry a very hefty price tag that can be cost prohibitive for clients. It can prevent win/win opportunities for both the consultant and the hiring company.


Bench Model Benefits

The bench model is not without its benefits as well. The largest benefit is that there is always someone ready to go. While they may not be the perfect fit, someone is always available to start right away. A bench model also ensures they have potentially been vetted for a longer period of time, and that is also reflected in their rate.


Non-Bench Talent Pool

Even though a firm may not have an actual “paid bench” of people waiting to hop on, they often have a strong list of contractors they have vetted and worked with on multiple occasions. A good recruiter is going to be checking in with these contacts on a regular basis to understand skills and overall availability.

Every need is different and the most important factor when choosing a firm is the contractor and their skills. You want to make sure the contractor you pick is the right fit for you and the job. A good recruiting firm should walk you through the process, learn more about your specific needs and outline potential contractors for you to review and eventually interview.

If you have questions about this article or recruiters in general, please don’t hesitate to contact the Talance Group at 713-357-9565.