In some fields of business, anyone can set themselves up and start attracting business, sometimes without any qualifications. Unfortunately, the world of business training is one of these where you need to look at the quality of the training company very carefully. What makes a good training company? Besides any kind of industry recognised accreditations or testimonials, you can usually tell from what's offered and included in the price, and also the different types of course content, to tell you whether you are looking at a quality trainer. Here are three good elements as a benchmark...

Preparation and equipment

A good trainer will actually help you long before your booked course is scheduled to take place. They should advise on what their venue has in the way of space, facilities, parking and so on - or they should detail their own requirements if they are coming to train your staff in-house in your building. This also applies to equipment - you should rarely have to supply it yourself (unless, again, you're being trained in your building and they ask you what's available). If, for example, you are being trained on Office 2010, they should be expected to have the suite licensed and ready to teach you on - you shouldn't have to go out and buy it yourself, after all, you may not like it in the end or decide that another program is better.

Relevant, up to date and 'meaty' content

Any trainer worth their salt will let you take a look at a typical course syllabus and be frank and open about the materials that they have. A red flag will be if they are reluctant to share this information, or if the materials are not their own. The content should also be bespoke to your needs where requested, and shouldn't be a one size fits all approach. For example, if you all need training on time management, they should not be padding out the course with other interesting but irrelevant things because they are lacking content and need to fill the day to justify charging you for it.

Make sure the information is up to date, too. In the world of software, updates can change weekly, not just with every new version of a suite (for example, bug fixes in much Microsoft software may sometimes affect tiny bits of how the program works - a good trainer will be up to speed on this and their software will reflect it).

Follow up and helping you post-training

A company that won't deal much with you without asking for more payment after their training is finishes is no good at all. Follow up and post-training support (if reasonable - they probably won't do a big re-train!) should usually be part and parcel of what you paid for as part of the training. Sometimes the support can be via email or phone, which is fine, and the trainer - while present - should be there as long as it takes to do a normal Q&A with your staff rather than running out of the door on the stroke of five.

Remember, if in doubt - check it out. The best training companies will help you to the best of their ability, and it will show. The rest will throw up some of the red flags mentioned here. However that's not to end on a negative slant - most training companies are great, it's up to you to compare them!