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Freelance Bidding Sites: Waste of Time or Potential For Real Work? | Freelance Sprout | Find, Start, and Grow Your Dream Freelance Business
Read the six part series on creating a freelance business plan
 

Freelance Bidding Sites: Waste of Time or Potential For Real Work?

Date June 23, 2008


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There seems to be two opinions held by writers regarding freelancing bidding sites – one of downright hatred, or one of tolerance. Five years ago, when I first started on my online freelance writing journey, I discovered a few of the freelance bidding sites. I primarily stuck with Rentacoder.com and Getafreelancer.com. Not knowing any other way to get paid for writing on a regular basis, I ended every day with about an hour’s worth of “bidding” for work on these sites.

If you don’t know, freelance bidding sites are communities where individuals and businesses list work they need someone to do and where individuals and businesses can express their interest in doing that work, along with their price (the “bid”).

In theory, it’s a perfect solution. There are many reasons why a person or business would need to hire a contractor, whether they need articles or web content written, a website created, or a software program designed, and wouldn’t need to bring in an employee full or part time to complete the one-time project.

Using freelancers is a perfect solution for these instances and having a community like freelance bidding sites helps these clients find freelancers who are willing and able to do the work. On the other hand, writers and freelancers know they can hit a few of these freelance bidding sites and find several work listings in one place.

The reason many established writers turn up their noses at freelance bidding sites is because there is a tendency for people to list projects on these sites looking for an awful lot of work for very little money. It can be hard for American writers (or Australian, British, etc) to compete with service providers from lower-income countries if the buyer is only looking for the “lowest bid”.

I certainly can’t deny that this does happen on the freelance bidding sites and that the trend seems to be increasing – but there are still several projects listed regularly on many of these freelance bidding sites that are worth taking a look at. Not all buyers use the bidding sites just because they want the rock bottom bid; some post their projects there because they know they will receive a wide variety of service providers from which to choose from, and because it saves them time in searching for and requesting quotes from various writers (or other freelance service providers).

New writers may find it especially helpful to use a freelance bidding site, such as Rentacoder.com, for example, to find work they can do and for lowering their risk. Freelancers are exposed to a certain degree of risk, just like any other business owner, with the primary concern being that a freelancer completes the work as requested by the client, and then never receives payment.

This happens from time to time, and one of the benefits of using a freelance bidding site with an escrow service is that they literally collect the payment from the buyer at the start of the project; and ensure that if the freelancer completes the work as described in the project specifications, the freelancer receives his or her payment.

I would not expect writers or freelancers to attempt to find all of their projects through freelance bidding sites or to use them as their long term strategy for finding quality work to apply for. I have met some of my very best clients from freelance bidding sites; and we continue to work together several years later, so I don’t think you should avoid the sites completely if you don’t already have consistent income coming in from your freelancing.

Using the bidding sites as a stepping stone to gain experience and client references can go a long way in securing better contracts down the line; and completing projects successfully will also give a new freelance confidence to start applying for higher paying or more elaborate projects.

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Debbie Dragon is the founder of MakeMoneyFromWriting.com, where she shares her strategies for creating consistent income from online writing with other freelance writers.

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Related posts:

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  2. All Freelancers are Not Created Equal
  3. 5 Tips To Maximize Your Income

3 Responses to “Freelance Bidding Sites: Waste of Time or Potential For Real Work?”

  1. kamal said:

    Even I use freelance websites for searching a good job, I am experienced in Photo retouching and I used to search for the projects related to that and hardly get one or two projects in that. But every time I failed to get the projects. Until now I have completed only two projects.

    I do not how to attract them with my words and bid…

  2. Linda P. Morton said:

    I’ve used rentacoder and other similar sites to get work done. It’s interesting to hear a perspective from the free lancers.

  3. Créatif freelance said:

    Freelance bidding sites are good for those who starts freelancing, and have no client, and no prospection targets.
    These sites are also good for clients that are beginers to. When they don’t know where they could find the good workers.
    But honnestly, once your activity is launched, these sites aren’t interesting at all.
    You will only work on poor projects for poor revenues !

    I would recommand good workers to contact a freelance agent to find and deal with there clients.

    A am a webdesigner in France, I work with since 3 years and I am fully happy with them.

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