Elance Blog

3 Things That Clients Want to See from Your Elance Proposals

I’ve been hiring contractors on Elance since May 2008, purchased over $7,000 worth of services during that time and I’ve hired everyone from freelance writers, web developers, virtual assistants and other Elance contractors.

Since I’ve had a lot of experience reading proposals from new Elance contractors, I’d like to offer a few ideas that Elance contractors should keep in mind when bidding on Elance projects, as your job proposal is the first impression the client will have of you. This article will share three things you should be sure to mention in that initial critical project bid.

1. Be specific and sincere.

If you are just copying and pasting the same proposal to each job on Elance, without actually reading the job descriptions or customizing your proposal, I’m going to notice pretty quickly—and your proposal will probably get quickly declined. My #1 question when I’m hiring Elance contractors is, “Is my project a good fit for this contractor?” I want to see that you read my project details and job description, and that you have customized your response to my business needs. For example, if you see an Elance project where the client is asking for someone who has experience in building websites for eCommerce, especially for online pharmaceutical sales, then you shouldn’t send a “boilerplate” message talking about your more general web developer skills.

2. Share your industry experience.

Tell us what industries you have served, and share your experience level. Feel free to be honest—you don’t have to make it sound like you’re an industry expert if you’re not. Elance clients don’t always expect people to have super-specialized expertise in the narrowest subject areas, but it helps if you’ve done some kind of similar work in our industry, or even a related industry. For example, my company is a lead generation firm that helps B2B sales organizations develop qualified business leads. What really helps set appointment setters apart is the various industries they have served. If you have experience selling technology services, but don’t include that in your proposal, you might have missed a chance for me to contact you.

3. Make it personal.

People hire people. Even with all of the great tools online like Elance to source new talent and hire contractors online, it still often comes down to personal relationships. I’m more likely to hire someone who comes across as an engaging, warm personality and who is willing to share their enthusiasm. Tell me why you’re interested in this project, beyond the paycheck of course. Tell me what motivates you, what kind of work you love to do, and give me a sense of what you’d be like to collaborate and correspond with if I hire you to help with this project. For example, if you see an Elance job from a company in another country where you’ve traveled before, you should mention that. “Even though I don’t live nearby, I have some experience visiting your country, and it was a beautiful place! Here’s how I can help you with your project…”

Look at every Elance proposal as an opportunity to create a new, long-lasting business relationship. Remember that there are real people on the other end of the conversation who are reading your Elance proposals. We want to get to know you and get a sense of how you can help our businesses. So be sincere, be detailed, and make it personal—in a good way!

Best of luck to everyone in the Elance community!

About the Author
Founded by Al Davidson in 1989, Strategic Sales & Marketing is a “leading light” among lead generation companies, helping to deliver B2B lead generation and appointment setting solutions for global clients ranging from local small businesses to the Fortune 100. The company’s appointment setters have generated over 7 million new sales leads, and created millions of dollars in new revenue for clients. You can learn more about Al Davidson by visiting www.manageyourleads.com.


Thank you so much. Really it means a lot to me.

Mr. Al Davidson,
Thanks for this inspiring article, you've given me hope.
Three things I learned. S-Sincerity, D-details, details, details, P-personal.
God bless you!


Also be honest about your past employees satisfactory feedback including their current social networking sites login id

Good Advice!

I'll make the most of it........

very helpful, I appreciate it..

great words, helping one!

Good stuff. I've been wondering what people looking for freelancers have in mind when looking at a proposals.

Thanks, thanks thanks. I'm new to Elance and my goodness, I've been trying to find this kind of info since I joined. Thanks again.

Great advice, thanks!

It also helps me to be more myself because I find the jobs that are suited to me. I don't want to work with someone I'm not suited to even if the money is good.

very motivating

Thank you for sharing this with me. It has made me realize my clients' expectations that i didn't have in mind.

Thanks for the tips.

Thank you. It's nice to hear some feedback from "the other side." As a new member, I often wonder if what I am including in my proposals is fitting. Your comments affirm my instincts, and encourage me to continue being myself. I am slowly learning that when the connection is truly there, it happens!

Thanks. Great!

Thanks, its Great!

This information is extremely helpful. I will certainly take it all into consideration. Thank you for sharing such valuable information.


thank you for these wonderful success potions. i will make the most of it ...

very useful tips. thanks

Thanks for tips

Thank you for the advice

thank you for sharing your ideas.

Thank you sir for such a nice information. I'll take care of these points next time.

thank you for the good tips.

Thank you very much. It really helps a lot.


very helpful,

Thank you


Mr. Davidson,
Thank you for covering all the points needed for a good proposal. this is especially helpful to new contractors like me..

Fantastic ideas.. I appreciate..!!

Useful info...!


Thanks for your advice

Not to be negative, only someone who is frustrated as of late with the proposal process. By nature, I'm a warm, people person, and I have a tendency to think outside the box. Each proposal I write is specific to the job and the needs/requirements listed by the clients. However, over the last year, it has become more difficult to land jobs based on skills, knowledge and feedback. I cannot tell you the number of proposals I have written, only for the job to go to someone who, even on their profile, shows no experience in the job area (even the skills tests show they have either not taken the test and rated themselves, or taken the test and not ranked). I rank on several skill sets between the top 1%-30% of all Elancers. Yet, the jobs go to those who bid the lowest.

Thank you so much it was motivating and helpful for me.


I do appreciate the points that you have described in your article, but I think the bidding amount makes s huge difference in the whole scene. The lowest bidder has the greatest chance of getting the job. Yet it also depends on the clients; Their location and the nature of the project. Clients from developed countries prefer freelancers who have proven themselves in the tests, over those who are just trying to low ball others. Moreover, if the project is complex and requires someone who can actually complete it, then I think the clients are not going for cheap bidders.

Thanks for sharing good Points.