Elance Blog

Elance Tips: Making Every Proposal Count

You've already read our 7 Tips To Win More Jobs on Elance and know that a great proposal is key. Your profile, portfolio, credentials, references and feedback establish your credibility and showcase your skills on Elance, but in many cases, the first (and possibly the last) impression you’ll make on a potential Client is through your bid proposal.

Whether you submit a proposal on one job or 100 jobs, you’re looking for only one outcome—to be hired. Here are some ways to make every proposal count:

Check Out Clients Before Submitting a Proposal
Some Clients have already posted numerous jobs. Peruse through their past jobs (see screenshot below) to get a feel for their businesses, the skills they tend to need, the scope of previous projects, and the budgets they are used to working with. Also, check their feedback, both given and received, to learn their preferences regarding work habits, communication and final deliverables.

Looking at a Client’s history can tell you what’s most important to him or her (timely communication, frequent status reports, asking questions early in the project), and help you spot “red flags” – signs that this may not be the right Client for you.



Price Your Services Logically

Pricing services is harder than pricing products, because most Clients know that product sellers calculate their prices by covering their overhead costs and adding a “markup” – while keeping an eye on what competitors are charging.

Pricing services, however, means you must also determine the perceived value of your services to the Clients. This involves some subjective thinking, since the prices buyers are willing to pay for your services may not “sync” with the amount of time and effort you need to deliver them. Pricing services is more art than science.

That said, the best way to establish your hourly and fixed rates is to:

 

  • Figure out your overhead costs
  • Set the profit margins you want to make
  • Research the rates recommended by your industry's professional associations
  • See what other Elancers are charging
  • Negotiate prices


One approach you can consider to be more flexible in your negotiations without simply reducing prices is to try packaging your services like products. For example, American Express packages its credit services in different tiers. A recent college graduate will receive an offer for the basic (“green”) card, which entitles her to a charge card that must be paid in full every month. People with good credit histories, however, receive offers for the gold card package, platinum card package, and so on – with the higher tiers featuring more features and benefits.

There’s no reason why you can’t package your services in tiers. An accountant could sell bronze, silver and gold packages. The bronze package might be limited to basic tax-preparation services, the silver package might include investment and money-saving consulting, and the gold package could include the services of strategic partners such as lawyers and wealth managers.

One seasoned Elance Contractor uses the tier technique when Clients want to hire him but are concerned about price. For example, he recently told one prospect that he could reduce his editing fee by offering her a “gold package” instead of a “platinum package.” The only difference between the two is that the gold package requires the Client to do the final proofreading – which is something the Contractor does with the platinum package. (Eventually, the Client agreed to buy the platinum package.)

Ask Questions
Use Workroom messages (see screenshot below) when you submit a proposal to ask questions, and get clarification and additional information from buyers. This will help you better understand the project, and you’ll start to build a relationship with the buyer.



Customize Each Proposal

You may be tempted to use standard text in your proposals. Don’t. Every Client and every job is unique; your proposals should be, too. Many Clients ignore proposals that appear to be generic boilerplate. Although it’s fine to use a template to avoid inputting basic information in every proposal, the bulk of the proposal should be tailored to that Client’s needs. It should demonstrate how you plan to solve this Client’s problems and achieve his goals.

The proposal should contain with one or two sentences that describe your credentials, experience and skills. Then, outline how you’ll apply your skills, knowledge and processes to achieve the Client’s objectives – step by step. Remember, your proposal isn’t about you – it’s about the Client. The Client wants help meeting a need or solving a problem. Don’t waste space giving the prospect your complete CV. Instead, include a “Call to Action” at the end, which invites the buyer to visit your profile and contact you to discuss the project in more detail.

Don’t Oversell
Avoid overstating your skills and promising more than you can deliver. State exactly what you will do – and when – and use facts to support your claims. Attach relevant samples or links to previous work—the more relevant, the better. For example, Clients can get a sense of your design skills if you include a sample of a brochure that you created. If they need a website created, providing links to the sites you’ve designed will be much more effective than merely talking about them.

Let your personality shine: Share your enthusiasm for the project or the Client’s business. You and your Client will work together on this project and (potentially) many more. Show them that you’re polite and professional, but also give them a sense of you.

Review Your Proposal As If You Were the Client
Put yourself in the Client’s shoes. How would you respond if you read this proposal? Is it engaging? Does it clearly state the benefits you’ll receive? Do you feel confident that the Contractor can deliver? Do you get a sense of the Contractor’s excitement and interest in the project? Bottom line: would you hire this Contractor?

Forget what you know about your skills and work ethic. Focus instead on what the proposal actually says about you and what you will do. Critiquing your own proposals can be tough, especially if you do so moments after finishing. In that case, take a few minutes to review your old proposals. They won’t be as “fresh,” so you should be able to critique them more objectively. Chances are you’ll find things you wish you’d done differently. Apply what you’ve just learned to your latest proposal.

Modify your proposal, when necessary: It’s not unusual for Contractors to update their job postings in response to Contractor questions and/or new developments – e.g., if they need to add new requirements. Elance now allows Contractors to modify their existing proposals instead of having to submit new ones. Monitor every project on which you’ve bid to see if buyers have updated their job descriptions. In some cases, you may have missed something in the RFP during your first read – something that could affect your price or delivery timeframe. In other cases, you may have missed an opportunity to sell yourself. Don’t be afraid to modify your proposals in response to new developments or altered circumstances.

What other ideas do you have for creating winning proposals? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below or visit our Facebook page.

 

Comments

You have suggested that providers

"Ask Questions
Use Workroom messages when you submit a proposal to ask questions, and get clarification and additional information from buyers. This will help you better understand the project, and you’ll start to build a relationship with the buyer. "

Workroom messages can only be initiated by the client - not the provider. This is what I find - am I looking at the wrong page or link?

Thank you.

I'm agree with you Shantz regarding this workroom messages initiation. And i amaze to find that no one, not even an Elance official explaining what they've suggesting.. Interesting!

My name is Ms. Gabriel,I am writing this mail to call for your collaboration in a partnership business in your country. I have some money (US$26.700.000) which I want to invest in your country under your control as my business manager. I will advise you to reply me through this my private email at (gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr) for more details about me and this business. NB: KINDLY COPY THIS EMAIL AND GO TO THE COMPOSED TO ENABLE ME READ YOUR REPLY : gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr

i have join elance today please tell me some good suggestion for accept the proposal.
my email id is sheheryar.khan567@yahoo.com

it is my first time on Elance I want help on how to propose for a job as well as suggestion on accepting and applying for jobs,

yes

My name is Ms. Gabriel,I am writing this mail to call for your collaboration in a partnership business in your country. I have some money (US$26.700.000) which I want to invest in your country under your control as my business manager. I will advise you to reply me through this my private email at (gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr) for more details about me and this business. NB: KINDLY COPY THIS EMAIL AND GO TO THE COMPOSED TO ENABLE ME READ YOUR REPLY : gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr

hey i m interested

when you get a reply, then you can ask relevant queries

+

while applying : Bold out your questions in the proposal, proposal should be long but not be a story !

Hope this suffice ...

It is true Shantz I am also looking for the workroom tab can Elance assist please

My name is Ms. Gabriel,I am writing this mail to call for your collaboration in a partnership business in your country. I have some money (US$26.700.000) which I want to invest in your country under your control as my business manager. I will advise you to reply me through this my private email at (gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr) for more details about me and this business. NB: KINDLY COPY THIS EMAIL AND GO TO THE COMPOSED TO ENABLE ME READ YOUR REPLY : gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr

Same issue with all biders. Elance should fix/allow to bidders.

My name is Ms. Gabriel,I am writing this mail to call for your collaboration in a partnership business in your country. I have some money (US$26.700.000) which I want to invest in your country under your control as my business manager. I will advise you to reply me through this my private email at (gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr) for more details about me and this business. NB: KINDLY COPY THIS EMAIL AND GO TO THE COMPOSED TO ENABLE ME READ YOUR REPLY : gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr

Thank you for the help.

My name is Ms. Gabriel,I am writing this mail to call for your collaboration in a partnership business in your country. I have some money (US$26.700.000) which I want to invest in your country under your control as my business manager. I will advise you to reply me through this my private email at (gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr) for more details about me and this business. NB: KINDLY COPY THIS EMAIL AND GO TO THE COMPOSED TO ENABLE ME READ YOUR REPLY : gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr

Hi,
I read and try to apply the rules you all give us. But, we don't have any more the workroom to ask before the client contact us, and even adding skills, feedbacks and attaching samples... frequently the clients choose the cheapest price. And there are providers that really offer ridiculous prices.
thank you!
debi

I must agree with Debi, due to some contractors one needs to lower their Fee in order to land the job. But in my opinion, Clients who have some good experience on Elance and had some dealings with the contractors usually don't go for the lowest bid, instead they rather prefer experience and quality over saving some extra bucks. But for a new Client they only and mostly usually opt for freelance websites to get the job done in cheap. I know there are some caps when contractor submit a fee but they need to be more realistic (for example if a client mention a budget of under $500 then contractors should be bound to submit bids in the region of $350-$500) the cap margin needs to be reduced.

Some of the advice in the article are decent.

hello ,
if you are available plz let me know how to get job as i haven't received single job. In spite being enough qualified.

Thanks

I'm available today and I want to know how yo start to work using elance ?
Please help me

My name is Ms. Gabriel,I am writing this mail to call for your collaboration in a partnership business in your country. I have some money (US$26.700.000) which I want to invest in your country under your control as my business manager. I will advise you to reply me through this my private email at (gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr) for more details about me and this business. NB: KINDLY COPY THIS EMAIL AND GO TO THE COMPOSED TO ENABLE ME READ YOUR REPLY : gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr

Yes, I want to know about Beginner Elance.

My name is Ms. Gabriel,I am writing this mail to call for your collaboration in a partnership business in your country. I have some money (US$26.700.000) which I want to invest in your country under your control as my business manager. I will advise you to reply me through this my private email at (gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr) for more details about me and this business. NB: KINDLY COPY THIS EMAIL AND GO TO THE COMPOSED TO ENABLE ME READ YOUR REPLY : gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr

My name is Ms. Gabriel,I am writing this mail to call for your collaboration in a partnership business in your country. I have some money (US$26.700.000) which I want to invest in your country under your control as my business manager. I will advise you to reply me through this my private email at (gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr) for more details about me and this business. NB: KINDLY COPY THIS EMAIL AND GO TO THE COMPOSED TO ENABLE ME READ YOUR REPLY : gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr

I am new and feel like I would work for free to establish myself on the site, so of course I would bid low. Clients have to risk more to hire me than to hire a more established contractor. I think undercutting is inevitable, but the clients will probably learn over time that experience is worth more money.

That's a great attitude, but don't sell yourself short if you really are a skillful and creative designer. What I fear too with these sites, is what is known as "low-balling" in the business. There are those who will work for much, much less, just to get the job - even if they are great designers. But this only cheapens the market for the rest of us. So, I think we should all be on the same page about hourly fees and stick to it. Example: $45 - $65/hr, let's say. As freelancers, we should know whether a project should be compensated as hourly or flat rates. Again, don't sell yourself short - or you'll only attribute to degrading our profession - or yourself. Many of us are educated in the commercial arts, or have a lot of practical work experience. So far, I find that Elance is very thorough and offers some great, professional advice for the novice as well was the veteran freelancer. Good luck to you all and Happy New Year.

Thanks for your insight! Much appreciated

My name is Ms. Gabriel,I am writing this mail to call for your collaboration in a partnership business in your country. I have some money (US$26.700.000) which I want to invest in your country under your control as my business manager. I will advise you to reply me through this my private email at (gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr) for more details about me and this business. NB: KINDLY COPY THIS EMAIL AND GO TO THE COMPOSED TO ENABLE ME READ YOUR REPLY : gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr

Thank you for this post-- I'm new here, but not new in my field. I'm appalled at some of the bids & the fixed pricing for some jobs. Having many years experience in my field, I know the time needed to do good work (effective, marketable, exciting, award-winning work) and I thank you for this advice. I know to get myself established I will have to low-ball a bit just to get established, but when others in my area are really reducing their fee it lowers everything.

My name is Ms. Gabriel,I am writing this mail to call for your collaboration in a partnership business in your country. I have some money (US$26.700.000) which I want to invest in your country under your control as my business manager. I will advise you to reply me through this my private email at (gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr) for more details about me and this business. NB: KINDLY COPY THIS EMAIL AND GO TO THE COMPOSED TO ENABLE ME READ YOUR REPLY : gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr

>>So, I think we should all be on the same page about hourly fees and stick to it. Example: $45 - $65/hr, let's say.<<

wow I am actually surprised that this post was not deleted. Every freelancer should know that discussing fees is against Federal anti trust laws. It is a very loose "discussion" that can be construed as "discussing fees" and price fixing.
I am certainly in agreement that we are in challenging times economically, especially in an ever increasing global market.
Simple things such as asking what should I charge?, what would you charge?, etc
I'm sure this has come up in the past. It certainly did in the beginning of eLance (beta) when I first began my freelance career.
I would use extreme caution in any fee discussion.
///////////////////////////
What exactly is price fixing?

The Sherman Act prohibits any agreement among competitors to fix prices, rig bids, or engage in other anti-competitive action.

Price fixing is an agreement among competitors to raise, fix, or otherwise maintain the price at which their goods or services are sold. The term “agreement” does not mean the same in antitrust law as it does, for example, in contract law. It is not necessary that there be a written or even an express oral agreement: price fixing may be inferred from actions or circumstantial evidence. The more contact there is among competitors discussing price, the likelier it is that agreement may be inferred. It is illegal even when it doesn’t work.
///////////////
http://www.dcwebwomen.org/get-involved/join-dcww/list-guidelines
I have not read through all replies but would think if it has been mentioned that the above post would have been deleted.

and another link with more lengthy discussion on the topic.
http://translorial.com/2011/09/01/the-price-fixing-taboo/

My name is Ms. Gabriel,I am writing this mail to call for your collaboration in a partnership business in your country. I have some money (US$26.700.000) which I want to invest in your country under your control as my business manager. I will advise you to reply me through this my private email at (gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr) for more details about me and this business. NB: KINDLY COPY THIS EMAIL AND GO TO THE COMPOSED TO ENABLE ME READ YOUR REPLY : gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr

Half of the freelancers are not from the US, so Sherman Act does nothing for us.

I am very interrested in working with élance and writing technical subjects. So How i have to proceed for this? thanks

My name is Ms. Gabriel,I am writing this mail to call for your collaboration in a partnership business in your country. I have some money (US$26.700.000) which I want to invest in your country under your control as my business manager. I will advise you to reply me through this my private email at (gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr) for more details about me and this business. NB: KINDLY COPY THIS EMAIL AND GO TO THE COMPOSED TO ENABLE ME READ YOUR REPLY : gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr

Hey I am very professional LOGO designer pic editing, illustration and much more even i've very strong portfolio with tested skills but why i am not getting jobs?????

Always make sure to follow writing rules when replying to the Client's proposal.

I am quite new on www.elance.com myself, but I want to add my opinion anyway.

It would be a great idea for you to edit ALL of your communications for correct grammar, spelling, and syntax before posting.

Were I hiring a freelancer, the likelihood of hiring someone whose proposal had several errors would be pretty small.

Just a thought.

Trent

Good tip, Trent. Sometimes we forget that when we talk on a message service.

My name is Ms. Gabriel,I am writing this mail to call for your collaboration in a partnership business in your country. I have some money (US$26.700.000) which I want to invest in your country under your control as my business manager. I will advise you to reply me through this my private email at (gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr) for more details about me and this business. NB: KINDLY COPY THIS EMAIL AND GO TO THE COMPOSED TO ENABLE ME READ YOUR REPLY : gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr

My name is Ms. Gabriel,I am writing this mail to call for your collaboration in a partnership business in your country. I have some money (US$26.700.000) which I want to invest in your country under your control as my business manager. I will advise you to reply me through this my private email at (gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr) for more details about me and this business. NB: KINDLY COPY THIS EMAIL AND GO TO THE COMPOSED TO ENABLE ME READ YOUR REPLY : gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr

My name is Ms. Gabriel,I am writing this mail to call for your collaboration in a partnership business in your country. I have some money (US$26.700.000) which I want to invest in your country under your control as my business manager. I will advise you to reply me through this my private email at (gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr) for more details about me and this business. NB: KINDLY COPY THIS EMAIL AND GO TO THE COMPOSED TO ENABLE ME READ YOUR REPLY : gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr

you're right ...

Excellent advice!

My name is Ms. Gabriel,I am writing this mail to call for your collaboration in a partnership business in your country. I have some money (US$26.700.000) which I want to invest in your country under your control as my business manager. I will advise you to reply me through this my private email at (gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr) for more details about me and this business. NB: KINDLY COPY THIS EMAIL AND GO TO THE COMPOSED TO ENABLE ME READ YOUR REPLY : gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr

thanks

My name is Ms. Gabriel,I am writing this mail to call for your collaboration in a partnership business in your country. I have some money (US$26.700.000) which I want to invest in your country under your control as my business manager. I will advise you to reply me through this my private email at (gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr) for more details about me and this business. NB: KINDLY COPY THIS EMAIL AND GO TO THE COMPOSED TO ENABLE ME READ YOUR REPLY : gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr

My name is Ms. Gabriel,I am writing this mail to call for your collaboration in a partnership business in your country. I have some money (US$26.700.000) which I want to invest in your country under your control as my business manager. I will advise you to reply me through this my private email at (gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr) for more details about me and this business. NB: KINDLY COPY THIS EMAIL AND GO TO THE COMPOSED TO ENABLE ME READ YOUR REPLY : gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr

I totally agree with Ouzair. Excellent advise, e-lance should cosider Ouzair's post.
Regards,
Vikkar Rana

Yes, i also agreed with both,because if required and proper advise is not involve in the cheap manner , hence they have to pay more for this. WITH WITH WARM REGARDS

My name is Ms. Gabriel,I am writing this mail to call for your collaboration in a partnership business in your country. I have some money (US$26.700.000) which I want to invest in your country under your control as my business manager. I will advise you to reply me through this my private email at (gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr) for more details about me and this business. NB: KINDLY COPY THIS EMAIL AND GO TO THE COMPOSED TO ENABLE ME READ YOUR REPLY : gerardgabriel07800@hotmail.fr

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