I must say I am certainly learning things about this whole freelancing thing I’ve gotten myself into. I do admit it can be kind of nice watching the snow pile up around me as it has been here for the past two weeks, knowing that I don’t have to go anywhere (remind me to tell you sometime about my experience last week during Juno). But on the other hand when business is slow there is more time to sit here and watch the snow pile up.
Not to worry though as work is trickling in. But here is my problem, one I am sure that is shared with other new work-at-home types. Until I can get established with my own client base, I need to rely on various freelancing sites to get work. Some day I will review the ones I use, for the most part I have no complaints, but each time I bid on a project, I am reminded of the old adage, “If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.” Yes this is similar to “You get what you pay for.”
Below is an actual posting I responded to, followed by an email I received cancelling the project. The question that arose in my mind is where is the line drawn between price and quality? Should one lower their standards just to get work coming in?
Let’s look at a job posting I replied to earlier this week:
We’re looking for the CHEAPEST option, so please submit your proposals accordingly. We need an editor to go through some articles (about 30-50 posts, 500-1000 words each) and enhance the quality:
– Expand the material
– Fix grammar, style, other errors
– Make the articles more readable and professional
All articles would need to be expanded by 200-400 words; they all vary in size, complexity, and how much is required to be fixed in there.
I will provide you with examples of a variety of different posts and we can discuss the price accordingly. Optional: please submit an approximate price you’d charge per 500/1000 word article to edit.
I will message every proposal that I feel is suitable for the position and we can go from there.
Thanks for looking into this!
Basically this client is looking for someone to proofread 30 – 50 posts, add to each post and rewrite them. This particular client didn’t provide any samples for me to look at, so I was unable to judge how much work would be required on each, but assumed they are of the usual quality meaning several hours for each. There is one thing I learned working for my father all those years ago (well, although I will never admit it, I learned more than one thing) and that was if you are going to do a job, do it right. This means going above and beyond the norm. So looking at the metrics (now there is a good word) showing the high, low and average bid price ($1370, $22, $285) I placed what I felt was a fair bid, in fact, it was lower than the average. (I have a pricing strategy we can discuss some other time)
Today I get an email saying the job was cancelled and here was the reason:
I couldn’t find a freelancer that could meet my budget requirements
If we put on our detective hats, what can we learn about this client and job? The lowest bid was $22 per post. If you recall, the client asked for a per post price. Again, assuming this was of average quality, it would require a minimum of two hours to do an average job. This means the client wants to pay less than $11 per hour. After paying the site’s fees and all the taxes, this comes down to about fifty cents an hour. So going back to our earlier adage “If you pay peanuts, you will get monkeys”, what kind of job do you think you will get done?
Is there someone out there who would do this job for less than the $22? Probably. But here is the question: Do I want to be that guy? Could I lower my standards and do it for $1 per post? Sure, but would I want to? No, and actually I am not sure I could lower my standards that much. As it was I gave a low-ball price hoping to get some money rolling in. I guess the lesson here is people will try to get everything for nothing and they will get what they pay for. You are the one who would have to live with the decision to become a monkey.