3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Bidding on a Freelance Project
Are you committing to every project or a bid that comes your way? If the answer is yes, chances are that you are simply wasting your time and money.
Here are 3 simple questions (with many smaller ones, of course) you should ask yourself before even considering writing a proposal and responding to an RFP or a bid.
The project might look lucrative and appealing, but don’t immediately rush to apply for it. This is a very common mistake, and many of us know its repercussions. Start with the basics and evaluate each project bid carefully.
The decision to apply for the request for proposal or move on is crucial for your business. Only if you’ve given a bold YES to all the following questions, should you then proceed to the proposal preparation stage.
1. Can We Deliver?
Many companies and freelancers jump into bidding without assessing and evaluating their strengths and weaknesses. Writing a decent proposal takes time and preparation. If your core skills do not comply with the requirements, the time spent analyzing this market and learning new project requirements will be overwhelming. That time is better spent on other activities that bring results.
Start by asking yourself these simple questions:
- Have we completed a similar project within a required time frame?
- Do we have all the required skills for this proejct?
- Do we have enough people to complete the job on time?
- Do we have to bring in additional freelance workers? And does the project have a necessary budget for it?
- Do we have enough supply of goods needed for this proejct?
- Also answer any questions specific to your market and a particular RFP.
The trick is to be honest with yourself. Do not pretend you can answer painful questions later. Evaluate your freelance business as if you were the client. Don’t like what you see? Maybe it’s better to withhold from this very project?
2. Can We Win?
First things first, get as much information as possible about the client and find out if there is a current incumbent. If there is, dig hard to gather info on the incumbent and other service providers, who are participating in the tender.
List client issues in the table and compare how you stand against competing companies.
Some tenders are thrown to the public to masquerade contract prolongation with the current incumbent. Look for hints in the RFP and transparency of the process as a whole. Listen to your guts – if you feel something is not right, it might actually be rightly so.
List client issues in the table and compare how you stand against competing companies. Can you add something extra to persuade the prospect to choose you?
Conduct an experiment and pitch your case to a colleague or a friend. It can be done either in written form by sending a document or presenting your pitch live. Are they hooked? Do they buy it? Do you feel confident enough with the pitch?
Going through the pitch will help you shape the offer and gather important feedback. Maybe your models will even suggest valuable ideas.
3. Can We Profit?
Your company comes first. If you are a one-man team the decision is fully yours. If you have a partner, the decision to bid should be discussed together among key team members.
Pay attention to your plans and current state of affairs. Keep it flexible, but adhere to the tender timelines.
Here are some questions to consider:
- Are we making money or working for portfolio?
- Will we need this expertise later?
- Will it influence our existing customers?
- Is there a realistic probability that we will gain more projects with this client?
- If your company is financially secure, it is better to evaluate long-term results of the project, however, keep risks in mind.
Only after you answered YES to all three questions feel free to proceed with proposal preparation and submission. Be honest and asses yourself strictly, give your request for proposal document a deep analysis and evaluate your competitors, take into account the current state of your business plans and long-term objectives.
In case you decide not to participate in the bid, send a refusal letter to the prospect. You might want to give yourself an advantage and notify the client as soon as possible, in case you change your mind and choose to take part later on.
What factors influence your decision to bid for a particular project or to refuse?