Bidding, Client Interaction and Project Award Policies and Mechanisms
(Page 3 of 3)
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:
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.
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.
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Last Site Update: October 21, 2011
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