Bidding, Client Interaction and Project Award Policies and Mechanisms
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As a freelancer, the primary reason you use an online marketplace is to get projects. As such, most of the time that you spend on these sites will be devoted to searching for projects, talking to clients, submitting proposals, and using other features related to finding work. The policies and mechanisms that a site implements in this area are of profound importance from a practical standpoint.
There are several aspects to the overall project process that are worth assessing; let’s examine them.
Clients bring to freelancing site work to be done and the money to pay for it, so they always initiate projects. There are two basic methods by which they can do this, depending on the approach they feel most comfortable with.
The main method is for the client to create a project listing. The client follows a specific process to describe the work that he or she needs done; the information is then put into a database that contractors can search through to find work. The client doesn’t search for contractors, instead relying on contractors to find them.
A secondary approach is one that allows clients to take a more active role. They can search through a database of contractors, examine their credentials, and attempt to find someone on their own whom they feel would be a good fit for the work they need done. They can then invite a contractor directly to work on their project, or perhaps ask a small number of contractors to bid against each other.
All sites allow project listings, while only a few are designed for clients to be able to easily search for contractors and work with them directly. Even where the latter option is available, it is not nearly as common, because most clients who come to freelancing sites seem to feel more comfortable allowing contractors to come to them. That approach also takes less of their time (at least up front).
Note that some larger sites also support special project types, such as repeat projects for established client-contractor relationships.
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Last Site Update: December 13, 2011
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