biddingIn the last post, I shared 10 simple but effective ways to build a stellar profile on freelance job portals. And now we move to the next stage – project bidding.

Project bidding is really the uphill battle of finding the right client and the right project!  Having a client that’s a little more hands on, but details his or her requirements, is far better than having a client that let’s you run loose, but with little guidance (which could lead to massive rework at a later stage).

So let’s get started with  Project Bidding 101!

  1. Understand the project requirements thoroughly before bidding – Answer every question, address every requirement mentioned in the listed job, as part of your proposal. For instance – some clients may ask you to quote a random word or sentence, as part of your proposal to ensure that you’ve read the job requirement.
  2. Know the client – Address the client by name if you can find the information on their profile page. Read the client’s website or any other link available in the job listing. Find out how much has the client paid on past similar jobs.  Read the reviews from other contractors who have worked with the client and the kind of reviews the client has left for other contractors. Does the client sound ‘fair’ and ‘forthcoming’ in the way he has written the job proposal? Has the client verified his credentials and financial information on the website? All these are important clues about your future work relationship with the client.
  3. Customize your proposal for each job –   Show why you are the best person for the job. You have no more than a few seconds to grab the client’s attention enough for them to want to read your entire proposal.While its good to give the basic information ( who you are, your specialization, portfolio, cost), add value to each proposal by also indicating how you intend to handle the project.
  4. Set a T + 1 timeframe for completion of the job – Several clients want the job done quickly, even within the day at times. Unless you are a subject matter expert or 150% sure that you can meet the tight deadline, stay away from such jobs as you just might end up having a stressful night or worst still risk missing the agreed deadline.  Always negotiate a timeline with the client that is T+1, with T being your internal deadline and T + 1 being what the client expects. If need be, ask the client for more information on the project so you can set realistic project timelines.
  5. Attach relevant writing samples with each proposal – This is a no-brainer. But if you haven’t written on that subject before, attach a sample that is closest to the ‘style’ of writing that is being sought on the job.
  6. Be flexible in your pricing – Older clients versus new clients, longer projects versus shorter projects, the degree of research needed – account for all these aspects while deciding on your pricing.
  7. Don’t underbid for projects –   Most clients indicate a project budget for the job. Don’t underbid in your zeal to bag the contract. Understand that the project price has to match the amount of time you are going to spend on it. By under-bidding, not only are you making it difficult for yourself and every other writer trying to make a decent living, you will also end up harming your profile rankings on the website.
  8. Negotiate till you are comfortable – Don’t hesitate to negotiate project timeline, hourly versus fixed fee and project milestones (dates and payments).  Safeguard your own interests and make sure you have set the foundation for being able to deliver  successfully on the project. Any project more than 2 days, must have recurring paid milestones.
  9. Don’t take unpaid test assignments – If it is a genuine client, they will pay for your work even if it’s a single test assignment.  And besides you have samples to showcase your writing, so under no circumstance should you have to write for free!
  10. Don’t stop bidding for better jobs – Projects which are long-term can quickly run dry, without warning.  So don’t stop looking for more work or better paying work. Continue to market yourself.