Guru - Bidding, Client Interaction and Project Award Policies and Mechanisms
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Bidding Process and Policies
Bidding on a project requires that you meet all of the requirements for it. This includes having an active profile that matches the project category, as well as meeting any other restrictions the client may have set, such as location or bidding type (Guru Vendor, etc.)
You start the process by either clicking “Submit a proposal” from the search results summary page, or “Submit Your Proposal” from the project listing. This brings you to a page that lists all of your profiles and allows you to select which one you want to use for applying to the project. (In my experience, I have only ever had a single profile match a project, but there must be cases where more than one applies, or they wouldn’t bother with this, right? Well, maybe they would. :) )
After you choose a profile, you are sent to a page where you must enter an estimated cost, and for hourly projects, an hourly work rate. You then have to click four checkboxes to signify that you read the project description, that your profile is accurate, that you promise to communicate promptly, and that you will receive payment only via Guru. I’m sure there’s some legalese behind this, but after the first couple of proposals, most contractors just click them by rote.
Finally, you get to the page where you actually write your proposal. You can write free-form text and attach documents (unless using a Basic profile). Guru also has a handy template feature that allows you to store a small number of proposal templates that you can load into the proposal box and then customize for each project. This is a nice time-saver that I haven’t seen elsewhere. You can also choose to submit this bid as a premium proposal if you are bidding using a Guru or Guru Vendor profile and have the necessary six bids to spend.
After entering all of this information you are asked to confirm the bid and then it is sent to the client.
As mentioned earlier, all Guru projects are closed bid only. None of the information you put in your bid is shown to other contractors.
One weakness of Guru’s bidding system is the inability to ask pre-bid questions of the client privately. There’s a public message board, but clients tend to neglect these, and there are too many cases where you need to ask questions that you don’t want other contractors to see, or that the client might not want displayed in public. The only way around this is to post a “dummy” bid and ask the client to contact you, which I think is crude and clumsy.
Guru provides little guidance on the proposal page itself to help contractors in creating bids. This includes scant information on policies that apply to writing proposals. The company does make clear that the minimum bid is $25, but not much else is specified—the information is all there in the help files, but providers have to think to go look there on their own.
Guru has a strange policy with regard to mockups or free work samples: clients cannot ask for them in public—in project listings or on the public message board—but can request them via private message. See the discussion of ethical policies.
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