How to Write a Proposal and Bid on a Freelancing Website

Updated on September 1, 2018
Abhi Gaur profile image

A part-time freelance writer who is doing his Masters in Commerce.

In this article, we are going to focus on how to write a proposal and bid on a freelancing website like Upwork or Freelancer. I have been a freelance writer for more than two years, so I do know a little bit about freelancing.

Before we begin, you need to understand that a proposal and a bid are different. A proposal is simply your attempt to convince the client to hire you. When you apply for the job, you have a chance to write your proposal and explain to the client why you should be hired.

Bid means the amount of money that you want to charge the client. You can place any amount of bid, but it is the decision of the client whether to work with you or not. We will cover tips about writing a proposal first and then we will focus on bidding.

Not Every Job is Worth it

You cannot just apply to any job that you come across. You need to first choose a niche and then look for jobs in that niche. And you don't need to apply to any job that falls in your niche.

There are many factors that you should consider before applying, like the quality of the description. A description says a lot about the client. Professional clients write detailed descriptions and also explain what is expected from you.

You can also pay attention to the ratings of the client. I personally don't work with clients without a rating or a job history because many times they don't know how freelancing platforms work.

I had a negative experience with a client, and I ended up wasting my time. My only fault was that the client was new, and I applied without worrying about his work history. Obviously, not all new clients are bad, but I wouldn't want you to risk your reputation. A situation where it's your word against the client's must be avoided.

Some jobs don't pay enough and these are the ones that you want to avoid if you have some sort of portfolio. If you lower your price once, the other clients may also start considering you as a cheap freelance writer.

There are plenty of big fishes out there so there is no reason to go after the small fish if you are good at what you do.

Read the Description

I don't know why, but there are many people who just write proposals without even reading the description once. I know that some of the descriptions are long, but you don't want to miss anything crucial. You should read the description at least twice.

If you don't read the description, then the client may know that you haven't read it or your proposal may not be that impressive. I cannot stress this enough because this simple step will allow you to separate yourself from those who didn't read it.

Grab Attention in the Beginning

In most cases, you will clearly see what the client requires, so it will be really easy to get the attention of the client. In your first few lines, all you have to do is show proof of your abilities so that the client can start trusting you. The client might read your proposal completely if the trust is established.

If you don't have something that fits the job, then you can show something similar. For example, you can show a e-commerce site that you built while applying for a job about building an e-commerce site. If you haven't built an e-commerce website before, then you can just show any website that you have built. It will be better than showing nothing.

Don't Write Generic Proposals

You know what I am talking about. There are boring proposals that not only turn off the client, but also fail to show how you can help the client. The client doesn't care if you think you are skilled or hardworking, because these are just words without proof. Instead of praising yourself, you need to focus on how you can help the client.

You can show proof of your skill and hard work by referencing some of your own work. A link to a website that showcases your own work can be used as proof. Samples of your work can also be used as proof as long as they are relevant to the job.

Every proposal should be written based on the needs of the client. Pre-written proposals will not work most of the time.

If there is something that you can do to separate yourself from other freelancers who are applying to the same job, then you have to include it in your proposal. Maybe you have been writing on this topic for several years, or you have worked on big projects: include information like this in your proposal.

Be Professional, but Don't Be a Robot

It is always great to address the client in a professional manner, but that doesn't mean that you cannot call the client by their first name. You can say hello and use the first name of the client to address them. This will show that you consider them as a peer.

If you feel excited about a certain aspect of the job, then it would be great to let the client know. For example, if the job is writing an article about how to be a copywriter and you love copywriting. You can write something like, "I love copywriting, and I have been copywriting for x number of years. I always had a way with words, and when I first realized the amazing opportunity that copywriting offered, I pounced on it."

Show That You Are Serious

You have to show that you are serious, and you can do so easily. Many clients write long descriptions, so you can just mention something specific from their description. This will show that you have not only read the description, but you are serious about this job. I don't want you to mention something just for the sake of mentioning it, and it should seem natural.

For example, the client has a lengthy job description, and he mentioned that he has 20 websites that need content. You can write something like: "I have written on a variety of niches, so I can write content on all of your 20 websites."

Show Your Strengths

I had already written 200 reviews about money-making products and companies when I found a job about reviewing money-making products. I got the job easily by writing a really small proposal because I was experienced, and I mentioned that I had already written 200 reviews.

What I did here was simple. I showed my strength to the client, and he couldn't hire anyone else.

Questions Are Important

You have to make sure that you answer the questions that client asks to the best of your ability. When you gain some experience, then you can even answer the obvious questions that the client didn't ask. Questions like how much time it will take or how experienced you are can be answered even when the client forgets to ask them.

Video Proposals Rock

There are people who had amazing results with video proposals. I am not asking you to send a video proposal for every job, but it can give you an edge over your competition. If you really want a job, then it might be time to get your camera. You can use YouTube to record a video and then link to the video in your proposal.

How to Bid on a Freelancing Website

Bidding is different from writing a proposal because there are so many factors that you have to consider before bidding. You have to first of all do some research and find out how much people are charging for similar work. You also have to take your experience level and your skills into account while thinking about your bid amount.

I don't want you to bid low, and you should always try to charge a fair price. Low bidders are not considered professionals, and they are brushed aside when the client is looking for quality work. You don't want to be the guy or girl who is seen as a cheap freelancer.

In my experience, jobs that pay per hour should be preferred over jobs that have a fixed price. This way you will get paid for every second that you spend working. If a fixed price job takes more time than expected, then you will not get paid for extra work. Even if you convince the client to pay you extra, the client may feel unhappy.

Once you reach a bid amount that you think is fair, then you need to increase it periodically. You should increase your bid amount from time to time because you are gaining more experience and becoming better at your job.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

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      • Abhi Gaur profile imageAUTHOR

        Kshitiz Gaur 

        6 weeks ago from Jhalawar

        This happens very often. I forgot to follow my own advice a few months back and paid the price. Unfortunately, there is very little you can do after the contract starts on freelancing platforms like Upwork. You just have to do your best and hope that you don't end up with a negative review. Anyway, thanks for you comment.

      • Nicholas Briar profile image

        Nicholas Briar 

        7 weeks ago

        Your section "Not Every Job is Worth it" is so true!

        I'm currently in a job with a new client who has never used a freelancer. They don't know what they want, won't communicate, are difficult to reach. This job should have been finished in a week and it has been dragged out for months.

        Definitely need to tighten up my selection criteria!

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