While the Great Recession took down a lot of small companies, it was a path to growth for Tap|QA, which provides quality assurance consulting services. “We originally were a niche automation company,” recalled Michael Faulise, founder and Managing Director. “When the economy took a little bit of a tank, we started to see the opportunity. There were people we could bring on at relatively good cost, then go back and sell to organizations as an alternative to offshore.”
Since 2009, the company has grown from “literally three or four people to 110 employees,” Faulise says. Unlike many consulting companies, Tap|QA’s business model uses W-2 employees rather than 1099 contractors. Faulise acknowledges that can be a risky strategy, since employees get paid whether or not there’s client work available.
Lack of work isn’t a problem these days, however. “Right now, there’s such hot demand for QA people,” Faulise said. “If you don’t show them a career path, it’s easy to leave. Nobody refers to ‘my job.’ It’s ‘my gig.’ We’ve tried to create more career pathing, from entry-level to 25-year consultant. Both can have careers that flourish with us.”
Managing Partner Tim Guilfoil said, “The idea of the employee model is to keep people and develop them. I think that helps us deliver better continuity. We have a lower turnover rate. We know what they’re good at, what they do. It helps us deliver higher quality.”
Another difference in the business model is that many Tap|QA employees work from the company headquarters rather than at the client site. “We’re a consulting firm with people physically here,” said Jennifer Bonine, Vice-President of Solutions. “We put consultants in one space. Clients get the benefit of all the knowledge that’s housed here. What’s nice about this is they feel connected—retention rates are very high. It’s a nice environment, with cutting edge technology. I can be working on Silicon Valley projects, but I don’t have to move there.”