Last week I posted a job ad for a business looking to start a website from scratch. He laid out a flat fee of $5,000 for the project. Now, I can’t speak for him but I’m assuming he received a good response. He offered a fair wage for his project and I almost considered applying for it too. Something interesting happened in the comments – or rather the deleted comments. Though the client already proposed a fair rate, several writers bid lower in the comments. A couple of people bid much lower. As in way too low to make the project worth the rate. One commentator proposed $500. I didn’t let the comment through as I felt it sent the wrong message.
I ask you, if a client is willing to pay $5000, why bid $500?
I’m all for freedom of choice and taking lower paying opportunities to start out, but to bid so low on a project is a little foolish and reeks of desperation. If I was the client, I’d wonder why this writer would reject a $5000 fee in favor of a payment that made no sense.
- Bidding $500 instead of $5000 show lack of good judgment. No one wants to hire a writer who lacks good judgment.
- When a client reads a proposal, he shouldn’t be confused by it. He’ll spend more time wondering why the writer bid $500 when he already laid out a price, than he will looking at this writer’s qualifications.
- The client will wonder why you value your writing so low. It’s one thing to knock $200 off the price, it’s quite another thing to knock off $4500.
There’s a time and a place for bidding lower to get a gig, this isn’t it. This isn’t even a “bid on” type project. The client laid out a good, fair price. To not accept it and bid extremely low is doing yourself a great disservice. Before you undercut other writers, think about what it says about you. The answers might not be as you expected. Moreover, if a client lays out a price, he’s not looking for a bid. If this writer wanted to stand out, this isn’t the way to do it. Instead she should work on submitting a solid proposal, one that outlines her strengths and lets the client know why she’s the best person for the gig. If she’s the right writer for the job she’ll get it regardless of whether it’s $500 or $5000.
She may have stood out with her lower bid, but not in the right way.
I’m a firm believer in each writer setting his own rates, but sometimes in our eagerness we get in our own way. What are your thoughts on this? If a client proposes a fee, would you bid much lower in hopes of catching his attention?