Is that consultants are paid to think.
Service providers are paid to do.
If you’re not sure which you are, here’s how to think about it.
If your clients say “we have this problem, we’d like you to come and work out how we should solve it” – you’re a consultant.
If your clients say “we have this thing we need to do, we need you to come and do it” – you’re a service provider.
It’s natural that engagements will have elements of both – this is a continuum with pure consulting at one end, and pure service provision at the other.
You’ll get service providers who spend time with clients to help them work through the design choices that need to be made before the can quote the service.
You’ll get consultants who do fixed term engagements and have a process to work through.
The basics though, are that you pay consultants to think, you pay service providers to do.