Bill Timmons Jr. is something of a legacy in the lobbying world.
In 1975 his father started Timmons and Company, which was known as the original independent lobbying firm — the first to do lobbying independently, not as part of a law firm or a corporation. In 2010 Timmons and Company merged with BKSH and became Prime Policy. Timmons Jr. worked at both firms.
But late last year, Timmons decided he wanted to set off on his own, and on January 1, 2012 he started Timmons Consulting, a one-man lobby shop.
There were three reasons for his departure, Timmons told The Daily Caller in an interview.
“The first… was the challenge of starting a new company from scratch. The second,” he said, “is to meet the need for a more active, robust, hands-on representation in the nation’s capital. And the third reason would be to avoid client conflicts, which often occur or sometimes occur in larger firms.”
“If you have a smaller number of clients, you can become almost an extension of their staff,” he explained. “You can delve into their issues, really understand what they need, and make an impact for them in congress. You work smarter, you work more efficiently, and clients appreciate knowing that you’re immediately available and immediately responsive.”
Bigger firms, he said, often represent so many clients that “you’re always in meetings, and it takes a day or two to get back to a client, and everything just happens a lot slower.”
Timmons’ timing wasn’t the best. He made the decision to leave in December, but most companies, he said, plan their government relations in September or October.
“The biggest challenge,” he said, “is to retain clients and to get out and make your presence known and get the word out that you’re an individual company.”
Luckily, he started out ahead, taking two of his clients who had been with him since his time at Timmons and Co. with him to his new firm: the University of Miami and True Position.
“I think that going with a solo firm or a small firm is going to be a trend in government relations,” Timmons explained. “For example, instead of going with a bigger firm, where perhaps you get value from one or two people, but you’re sort of stuck with ten, they can customize their team and pick three or four small firms that are perfect for what they want, so that clients can get a lot more value for going with smaller firms.”
That’s exactly what Timmons aims to do for his clients.
“My model is to specifically customize a team for each client, and that could mean partnering with Democrats, could mean partnering with other Republicans, or it could mean partnering with both, so that for each client, or each potential client, you get a different lineup, and you get a lineup that is best for that specific client,” Timmons said.
“For instance, if it’s a client that needs a lot of Republican help, I can add several Republicans. If it needs a bipartisan team, I can partner with a Democrat,” he said, noting that he was working Democrats already for one of his clients.