With thousands of freelancers competing for jobs and perhaps a hundred or more bidding on the same job, how do you make your bid stand out from the rest? The fact is each employer is as different as each freelancer, so there really isn't a "magic formula" that works for every bid. There are, however some important steps you can take to increase the chances that a prospective employer will consider your bid seriously. Here are ten simple tips for writing an effective bid:
1. Read the project description carefully Read the project description carefully. After all, if the employer doesn’t feel you understand the project, you’re not likely to win the bidding. Besides, many employers will ask for specific details that you need to be aware of. In fact, employers often include a phrase that must be included in your bid in order to have it considered. The bottom line is, you should always take the time to go through the description thoroughly.
2. Use the Project Clarification BoardIf you have questions, use the Project Clarification Board. Winning a project without knowing exactly what you’re getting into isn’t a good situation for you or the service buyer. How do you write job proposals on Elance, oDesk and Freelancer.com that get you hired? In this podcast, I cover the 5-step formula.
3. Keep your bid clearKeep your bid clear, concise and to the point. Remember that the employer may have dozens or even hundreds of bids to consider. It’s very likely that every word of every bid isn’t going to be read. Bids with unnecessarily long descriptions may be skipped over completely. Don’t invite the employer to ignore your bid by making it too wordy.
4. State your terms clearlyState your terms clearly. Using the project description as a guide, be as precise as possible in stating exactly what you’ll provide, how much it will cost, and how long it will take to deliver. Being vague about your terms implies a lack of confidence. If you’re not confident in yourself, the employer won’t be, either. As we’ve already mentioned, use the Project Clarification Board to ask the employer questions if you need more details.
5. Respond promptlyIf the employer contacts you through a private message, be sure to respond promptly. Most employers award projects within the first 24 hours of posting, so ensure you keep yourself available for contact.
6. Provide links of online examplesIt’s always a good idea to upload samples with your private message or provide links to online examples. Be sure, however, that your examples are appropriate for the job and represent your best work. Quality, not quantity is usually the rule of thumb when submitting samples.
7. A word of cautionA word of caution: Unless you’re prepared to give your work away, any samples you provide should bear a watermark or other means of identification or at the very least your name and a statement of copyright.
8. Be competitive with your pricingBe competitive with your pricing. Note that this doesn't necessarily mean you need to be the lowest bidder. Bidding in a world-wide marketplace makes for tough competition, but if your work is truly above average, you may find that employers are willing to pay above average prices. On the other hand, if you’re relatively new to freelancing, you may need to establish a reputation first. A little common sense will go a long way here.
9. Don’t oversell yourselfDon’t oversell yourself. A little self-confidence is a good thing, but over-the-top claims probably won’t impress anyone. Being frank and honest about your skills will get you much farther than a lot of hype.
10. Proofread your bid before you submit itLast, but certainly not least, proofread your bid before you submit it. Is it written clearly? Are there misspellings? No matter what kind of project you’re bidding on, a poorly written proposal suggests a lack of interest and poor work habits. Neither of those is going to work in your favor.