Jobs Posted on Multiple Sites
Freelancers routinely look for projects on more than one site, to increase the chances of them finding good clients and projects. (In fact, I specifically recommend doing this.) In a similar manner, many clients will post their projects on multiple freelancing sites, hoping to cast a wider net and make it more likely that they’ll find the perfect contractor for the work they want to do.
Depending on how many sites you use, and how often you search for jobs, you may not notice that a client has posted the same project on multiple sites. If that’s the case, you’ll of course bid as you always have. Truth be told, you could do that even if you do know the project has been multi-posted. But if you do notice a multi-posted project, it’s possible to slightly alter your approach to optimize your bidding process, and possibly even improve your chances of success.
Here are a few approaches to consider.
The most logical option when you find a project posted on multiple sites is to contact the client before bidding, say that you noticed it in more than one place, and ask the client what he or she would like you to do. This immediately conveys to the client that you are both “on the ball” and considerate.
The problem here is that such consideration is often not reciprocated. Many clients don’t respond quickly to prebid questions, and some don’t reply at all. While you’re waiting for an answer to your perfectly legitimate query, you may find the client has just gone ahead and selected someone else for the job. Very frustrating.
One way of “covering all the bases” when you find a job on several sites is just to place a bid on all of them. The benefit is that you get more exposure, and there’s no chance of the client not seeing your proposal because he or she looked at the other site first and found someone else without even knowing you bid. The drawback is that this takes a bit more time, and in the case of sites that have bid limits or charge for bids, can cost you extra in terms of money or other limited resources.
If you decide to bid in more than one place, be sure to include a note in your proposals indicating that you’ve bid on multiple sites. If you don’t, the client may think you are either spamming or simply not paying attention.
Also indicate to the client your preference for which site you’d like to use, if you have one. Even better, if you don’t have a particular inclination, is to tell the client that you’re happy to use whichever site the client finds more convenient. This latter option is usually my preferred approach; even if I would personally benefit more from one site rather than another, I think giving the client the choice is more professional and more likely to result in a winning bid.
The final option is to bid on just one of the sites where the project was listed. (Well, you could also choose to bid on none of them, but that would just be silly!) The main reason to go this route is if you have a particular site you’d rather use, or to conserve bids or cost by not bidding multiple times. It may also be less confusing to certain clients compared to receiving the same proposal twice.
If you bid on just one site you need to decide which to use. One obvious choice is whichever site is least expensive, either in terms of bid expenditures or actual monetary cost. If one site charges for bids and another doesn’t, you’d probably prefer to bid on the one that’s free. But don’t put too much emphasis on this, because the cost of submitting a bid is generally low even on sites that charge for bidding, especially compared to other cost considerations.
If cost is your main concern, you’re generally better off choosing a site based on its transaction fees, not bidding costs. A difference of even 1% in transaction fees charged on project value will dwarf the per-bid fee on any marketplace site that I know of.
Also be sure to think about non-monetary factors, such as the value of positive feedback. If you have a long track record on one site and are just getting established on a second one, you may get far more long-term benefit by bidding on the second site, even if it costs a few dollars more in the short run.
As when bidding in more than one place, your proposal should include a note saying that you saw the project on multiple sites but decided to just submit one bid. It’s also a smart idea to say that if the client would prefer doing the work on another site where you have a membership, that you’d be okay with that. This will increase your chances of winning the project.
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Last Site Update: February 1, 2012
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