Freelancer.com - Bidding, Client Interaction and Project Award Policies and Mechanisms
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All interaction between client and contractors is supposed to take place using Freelancer.com’s private messaging system, or using the project clarification boards for specific projects. As mentioned above, these public boards are generally ignored, so that leaves private messaging.
Freelancer.com specifically prohibits off-site communication during the bidding process, fearing that this will be used to take work off the site to avoid the payment of fees. They are right to do this, since that’s exactly what happens a good percentage of the time, however, this inflexibility makes it hard in some cases to properly define the scope of work for a project or to negotiate terms. (I’ve many times found that a 10-minute phone call is worth more than 100 emails or private messages.)
Freelancer.com provides a little bit of guidance for clients in reviewing proposals and selecting a winner, but the emphasis here is on “little”: a few tips is all they get, and clients are pretty much left to their own devices in making the decision. Once they have chosen a provider, they select the bid from their view of the project’s description page.
There don’t appear to be a lot of specific policies related to how projects are awarded. However, one precaution that the site does take to prevent fraud is to require that a new user without feedback must deposit at least 20% of the value of their project before they can select a provider.
This part of the process is also rather spartan, and in many ways work done on Freelancer.com is rather “informal”. If a milestone payment has been specified, the client is directed to deposit those funds, but otherwise work begins immediately when the client selects the contractor, and the contractor agrees to work on the project. There is no fancy code for negotiating terms here, as is the case with sites like Elance.
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Last Site Update: December 13, 2011
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