Basics of a Job Bidding Site

by tpaajanen

Looking for freelance work is tough enough without having to go searching for your next job. A job bidding site can be the best place to find new work.

If you are a freelance writer, I'm sure you understand the constant need to find new contacts, clients and work opportunities. Unless you are lucky enough to have a consistent pool of work from a stable of regular clients, the need to find new gigs can be an ongoing quest. So why not try one of the many "freelance job bidding" sites as a way of getting that next project? If you're a little intimidated by these sites, this should give you the intro you need.

The term "bidding" should give you a pretty clear idea of the general premise. You are putting in a bid, along with anyone else, for a certain job.

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 The client picks the best proposal and awards it to the lucky freelancer. It basically runs like this:

  • Someone who needs a freelancer (either a writer, designer or other profession) posts a description of the job, hopefully with enough detail.
  • You write up a proposal and bid for any job that you feel you're qualified for. Tell why you're right for the project and share any clips or samples. Make sure to include your time frame and what you're charging.
  • The client goes through the bids and makes their choice. The prices are important but not everyone goes with the cheapest bids. Your qualifications and experience can go a long way. They may or may not wait until the bidding period is over to choose either.
  • The project gets going, and the details are managed with the site as a go-between. That means that messages and shared files are usually done through the bidding site.
  • When everything is finished, the client pays you through the site. The specifics will vary from service to service, but they generally give the money to the site and the site then forwards it on to you. It's a way of protecting both parties, and keeping the bidding site in the loop. If there are fees, the site takes their portion during the transaction.

Afterwards, the client and freelancer can usually leave feedback or comments about the job. This helps build a reputation for future work, and lets others know about bad members (that goes for both sides of the deal).

I've had some experience with job bidding sites, specifically with Elance.com. But Guru.com and Odesk.com are others you might want to look into.

I've found that that the main drawback to these sites is the competition. You can be going up against people around the world, so you have to make your bid stand out. Of course, you may not feel comfortable trying to win against someone who is willing to work for $2/hr so use your own judgement on how or when to bid.

Though I have started to shift my focus on working for myself, I have been a constant user of Elance for years. This article is a general overview of bidding sites, but I will be posting more of a review on Elance specifically in the near future.

Updated: 04/29/2013, tpaajanen
 
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WordChazer on 11/19/2013

@Rose Yes, unfortunately does happen. But the more experienced freelancer can tell the kind of worker they're looking to attract by the wage first proposed by the client. Elance has a flag which tells me as a Brit if clients are preferring North American-based bids (usually for W9 purposes). So I tend to avoid those or point out early in my spiel that I am US-English conversant if they can accept someone who has no W9 form. Equally many clients who post higher $/hr wages will automatically screen anyone bidding less than that (so counting out many from countries with lower costs of living etc). There are many and varied weasily ways for clients to ensure they employ who they want rather than merely taking the lowest bid.

Rose on 11/19/2013

The big difficulty with freelance sites is that they attract bids from all over the world, which suppresses the amounts the freelancer earns as there is always someone to undercut you.

tpaajanen on 05/01/2013

I guess now I'm really committed to writing it! :)

WordChazer on 04/30/2013

As an elancer too, I look forward to reading the review.

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