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Bidding, Client Interaction and Project Award Policies and Mechanisms
(Page 2 of 3)
Project Search Mechanisms
As mentioned above, most of the responsibility
for establishing a client-contractor relationship falls on the contractor.
As an online freelancer, you will spend a significant amount of time
looking through project listings, so the mechanisms for how this is done
are very important.
This is one area that cannot be easily
described in an objective manner; differentiating between good and poor
project search engines is much more a “you know it when you see
it” type of deal, and is to some extent a matter of personal preference.
I’ve used many of these sites and looked through thousands of listings,
and over time have developed a list of attributes I look for when doing
a project search. In my assessments of the various sites, I describe
both the most important positive features and the most annoying irritations
I have encountered.
Here are some of the key considerations:
- How fast is the site’s response time?
- How quickly is the database updated to add new
projects and remove ones that have been awarded?
- How many projects are shown per page? (Scrolling
through many pages gets old quickly.)
- Is it possible to search for projects only in
the particular disciplines applicable to a contractor? How many options
are available to filter the search results?
- If both fixed rate and hourly projects are allowed,
can you show only one or the other?
- Does the project listing page include a short
summary of the project?
- How much information about the client is provided
in the list of projects, to help decide if this is someone you even want
to consider working for? (Many freelancers pre-screen job listings by
the client’s award rate, for example.)
- Are any features provided to allow you to keep
track of projects you’re interested in?
I also make note of alternative methods
to searching, such as RSS feeds or the ability to set up notification
rules when new projects are listed.
Bidding Process and Policies
Next, I assess the overall process
associated with placing proposals, and also consider and evaluate relevant
policies related to bidding. This is really the heart of the entire online
freelancing concept, since it can easily be argued that proposal writing
is the most important part of being an online freelancer.
Some of the considerations I take
into account in assessing a site’s bidding process include:
- Whether bidding is open or closed; this refers
to the visibility of competitive bids and proposals among competitors.
- Who is allowed to bid on proposals (members versus
non-members, whether you must subscribe to a particular category to bid
on projects in that category, etc.)
- Whether or not there is a cost to bid on a project.
- Availability of premium or sponsored placements,
and what they cost.
- How many bids a freelancer is allowed to make
over a particular period of time.
- What information is required, or requested, from
the freelancer when a bid is place.
- How clients are informed about placed bids.
- Project value minimums or maximums.
- Policies that the site has established to ensure
fair competition among bidders.
- Policies that prevent abuse by either contractors
There’s actually a lot to talk
about here, so I try to stay focused primarily on the aspects that are
unique or noteworthy.
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Last Site Update: October 21, 2011
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