What to look for in an engineering services provider:

A professional staff that is motivated and productive
    You need more than labor -- you need an effective team of professionals.  To ensure high productivity and quality work, you want a team that is highly motivated to work together to attain your goals.
 
Experience with a wide variety of tools and methodologies
    Whether you want advice or implementation, a team with a wide range of experience is better able to ensure effective application of the right tools, methodologies, and practices to your project.  The right kind of experience can make a world of difference in the project outcome.
 
Longevity
    Unless you are attempting to solve a problem that will go away after a few months, you want a team that you can call on again if the need arises.  Startups may be quite successful, and previous longevity is no guarantee, but a team that has been around for a decade or more has shown the staying power you are looking for.
 
A good and fair price
    You want the most for your money.  On the other hand, you don't want somebody working on your project if you believe they are likely to cut corners and do an incomplete job just to reduce cost.  Seek out a good and fair price, and ensure that everything else about the contractor is right, and you will do well toward your goals.
 
A growing company
    A company that is steadily growing is obviously doing the right things for its customers, and is likely seeking ever better ways to serve and retain these customers for the future.  Too much growth, and the company is likely to forget what is bringing that growth; too little, and the company is likely to sit on its "laurels".
 
Commitment to your success
    You want a team that is on your side and cares about the outcome of the project.  This commitment can make difference between a working product and a failed development activity.

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