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What are successful guidelines for bidding on programming projects on sites like guru.com? How do you write a bid that is likely to be accepted? Are there any examples of great bids?

How do you compete with other programmers around the world who will underbid you?

Please provide information and/or links to resources.

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closed as off topic by thorsten müller, Otávio Décio, gnat, Michael K, FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Apr 5 '12 at 14:33

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2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Here are the things I suggest you to take care of in your bid. I just rewrote them from the provider point of view based on a blog post I originally wrote for employers.

  • Your bid must be reasonable, but avoid being the lowest or the highest. The lowest bidder will only be selected by inexperienced employers.
  • Work on your ratings first, since you will be likely selected based on what you did in the past. If you have no rating, it will be very hard to get your first projects. By hard I mean you will have to bid on dozens of projects to get one. But when you get one, be sure to delight your customers. Amaze him! The rating you will get will give you more credit afterwards and you'll won bid more easily. Be sure to keep that attitude even if you don't need ratings anymore.
  • Show your motivation by talking about the employers project in your cover letter. Show you actually read the bid request and that you did not just copy/pasted a generic bid answer proposal. Be sure to include tips on how you will achieve the project. I had few bidders to complete my project right in the bid even before I selected them. When the work is properly done, I tend to select them to reduce risk. Maybe you could do it for very small projects at the beginning.

Additionnal suggestions:

  • Bid on very small projects first. Easier to do and get your customers satisfied, you'll get good rating for less efforts. And as you may know, rating is very important.

  • Don't use custom framework or mention the fact you'll use one.

  • Use standard technologies and mention your code will not be tied to you.
  • Employers have ratings too!, be sure to avoid those who did not get at least 9 on 10.
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Thanks for the info. Sorry, I didn't understand this part: "I had few bidders to complete my project right in the bid even before I selected them. When the work is properly done, I tend to select them to reduce risk." Can you explain? –  B Seven Apr 5 '12 at 13:44
Also, what is a "custom framework"? Does that include Ruby on Rails? –  B Seven Apr 5 '12 at 13:45
@BSeven: I think that RoR is only a "custom framework" if you wrote it and are the only developer that works with it. I think that what Pierr303 is trying to say is that if you tell the client you will make heavy use of framworks/libraries that you developed and that no one else uses and that no one else can maintain, it could hurt your bid because it will look like you're trying to achieve tight vendor lock-in via highly proprietary software. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Apr 5 '12 at 14:34
Some great advice, thanks :) –  Rachel Apr 5 '12 at 15:09

In my experience, Most clients need work for cheap. They don't have understanding of technologies. Most clients waste time in interviewing. Much time is wasted in getting a project, waiting for client replies.

It is good to work as a team, not as individual person.

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