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Table Of Contents  The Online Freelancing Guide
 >  An Analysis and Review of Popular Online Freelancing Marketplace Sites
      >  Criteria for Choosing Online Freelancing Marketplace Sites

Previous Topic/Section
Payment Methods and Mechanisms
Previous Page
Pages in Current Topic/Section
12
3
Next Page
Escrow Services, Work Tracking Systems and Payment Guarantees
Next Topic/Section

Bidding, Client Interaction and Project Award Policies and Mechanisms
(Page 3 of 3)

Client Interaction

Since the whole point of the process is to get clients and contractors together, you’d think sites would do everything in their power to make it easy for them to communicate. Unfortu­nately, in many cases, you’d be wrong: some sites actually make communication quite difficult. This is sometimes because of inadequate software capabilities, but much more often because of policies implemented due to fear of projects being taken off-site (which means the site probably doesn’t get paid.)

Here are some of the specific issues here:

  • Private Messaging: Some sites allow private messages to be sent to clients during the pre-bid process; some only allow it if a fee is paid (or a limited resource like a bid token is used up); and some don’t allow it at all.

  • Public Messaging: Is a public message board provided for each project? If so, who is allowed to use it? Are clients required, or at least encouraged, to read questions posted on the board, and respond to them?

  • Communication Methods: Are you allowed to communicate directly with the client via phone, off-site instant messaging or email, or only using the site’s own messaging features?

  • Information Disclosure: At what stage of the process will the client be given access to the contractor’s private information?
Project Award Process and Policies

There’s usually not a lot to talk about here in terms of process: most sites are the same in that clients review proposals, communicate with contractors if they need clarification, and then award the project to the contractor whose bid they prefer. But there are some sites that include special practices that apply in certain cases, and if so, I discuss them here.

A more important issue with respect to project awarding is actually policy, and by that I mean specifically what policies the freelancing site implements to protect the interests of freelancers. There is an inherent imbalance of power in online freelancing, with many contractors usually trying to get each project. Most clients are professional, but a few will try to take advantage of this by treating contractors unfairly. You’re better off with a site that has policies to protect against this.

Contract Establishment: Terms and Milestones and Payments

Once a project has been awarded, the client and contractor must establish a contract that will guide the work done before them. Sometimes this is done by the two negotiating a contract based on a template provided by one of the parties, but more often, a “default” contract is used that is supplied by the site. Sites vary a great deal in how formalized this contract process is, with some requiring the establishment of an official contract, and others really not even mentioning this at all.

Some sites also offer advanced features, such as the ability to specify multiple milestones with associated payments, to enable partial payments to be spread over the course of a larger project. I discuss these and related features here as well.


Previous Topic/Section
Payment Methods and Mechanisms
Previous Page
Pages in Current Topic/Section
12
3
Next Page
Escrow Services, Work Tracking Systems and Payment Guarantees
Next Topic/Section

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Last Site Update: October 21, 2011

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