Elance Blog

Advice From An Elancer (Volume 20)

Welcome to Advice From An Elancer – a place to ask your Elance questions (through Elance’s LinkedIn page) and get them answered as thoroughly and personally as possible. My name is Dorothy D. and I have worked with Elance as a freelancer since April 2009. I have always tried to help other Elancers understand how things work and how to accomplish more. In Advice From An Elancer I will address as many questions as I can each week. In some cases, questions have been edited for clarity.

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Question #1:

Can you offer tips on how to vet a client so I can avoid falling prey to difficult clients again?

Advice from an Elancer:

This is the million dollar question. Some clients are just really difficult and there is no way to tell how your experience will be. However… there are some things you can do to evaluate the client before submitting a proposal or accepting a job.

Step 1: Look under “Client Info” in the job description. By hovering over the green dollar sign dots, you can view the total amount the client has spent on Elance, their award ratio, how long they have been a member, and their location. This is a brief overview.

Step 2: Click on “Client Info”. Some clients have chosen to complete the “About” section, but unfortunately not many. The real telling data here is the ability to view what jobs they listed, what jobs they awarded, what they paid for them, and what kind of feedback they gave.

Step 3: Read through the data carefully. The client may have a tendency to list jobs for a certain category and never award them. Have they awarded any jobs recently? This may be a factor for consideration. They also may leave positive comments, yet very low star scores. If you are worried about rankings and stars, this is an alarm. Some clients are never satisfied and give mediocre or poor feedback to all freelancers. This is another alarm. If they didn’t specify in the job listing, look at freelancer earnings. They may be very low-paying and either try to expand the scope or have a tendency to argue about work that has been done.

Step 4: Consider all of the available data before deciding if you want to bid on or accept a job from this client. You may think the job is perfect, but if the client’s reputation doesn’t sit right with you, walk away and keep looking.

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Question #2:

Is it cool to negotiate contracts with contractors on Elance?

Advice from an Elancer:

The only real way to negotiate prior to the job being awarded is to broach the subject in your proposal because there is no way to initiate contact with a client from the freelancer’s side. If a client reaches out to you via the workroom, you can certainly discuss the details of the job and negotiate a rate and change your bid. It is very competitive, but make sure you don’t compromise yourself too much or garner a reputation as someone who overbids so that they can haggle.

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Question #3:

Sponsored Proposals … yes or no?

This is a hotly disputed topic. Sponsored Proposals cost extra Connects, so are they worth it? Freelancers in the Elance Professional Network on LinkedIn have varied ideas. Some think it feels “desperate”, some think it gets you noticed, and some think it makes no difference.

My personal opinion is that if there is a job I am very interested in and I believe there will be many freelancers vying for the job and there are sponsored spots open and I have extra Connects, I’ll do it. Why? Because if there are many proposals, a client is unlikely to go through the entire list. Some will; some won’t. If mine is near the top, it will probably get read. In no way does it make me feel that I am more likely to get the job! I just want my proposal to be seen.

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That’s enough for today. If you have questions or want to follow the conversation of other Elancers, visit the Discussion page of our LinkedIn page.

Comments

This is very interesting that I also think almost the same.

Thats a nice article, most of the things we have experienced ourselves, and the information here is very accurate. Thank you Dorothy for sharing with us, your experience.

Thank you very much for the tips.

Thank you for this article. These are really useful tips for the freelancers to pay attention to. While bidding to the project all these items should be taken into consideration. It really helps!

Great insights, D.

You may not fully understand the client and his/her requirements until you fall prey.Once this happens, you will see the need to give each client time to discuss the requirements.They make or break and misunderstandings are just part of the way.If it happens once in a while, don't sulk. Convince the client on the necessity to have the project revised or reworked to perfection!
Check out my new and interesting blog on freelancing with Elance- www.elanceafrica.blogspot.com. Before quoting the price, make sure you have the client's requirements with you.It may turn out to be what you didn't expect especially for fresh freelancers.Thanks!