I participate in several online discussion boards. One recent questioner was in search of a videographer in a certain U.S. city. As often happens, I’d conducted a media training workshop for a client there, so knew a good videographer and was pleased to pass his name along with a positive, specific recommendation.
Another respondent suggested using an online service that peddles what it calls “custom quotes for any local service…” I advised the seeker to be very cautious about such sites for two reasons. First, you never know who might claim to have videography expertise when the fact is all he’s done is shoot his brother’s wedding, and shakily at that (my assumption is that she was looking for a professional, not an amateur). Why make yourself conduct extra due diligence by using a web site that may or may not deliver quality? A decision to approach trusted colleagues on discussion boards and elsewhere strikes me as a method destined to deliver a better result.
Second, I can’t think of any truly professional consultants who would utilize a site like this. These sites operate on a business model that solely seeks to drive down prices. Sure, you get it cheap, but you also run the risk of low end expertise and inferior products and customer service. If quality is important to you, why take the chance?
By the way, if you’re ever in search of a videographer in an unfamiliar city, feel free to get in touch. Odds are I know a pro there, or know someone who does.