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Here's how to get the full attention of your freelancer.

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Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
11 of 54

John B wrote:

Fixed fee contract goes up.  We place up a budget that is probably (a) our expectation of cost and/or (b) our desired budget.


Then we get nn responses with freelancers who, seemingly, picked some budget number from here-or-there.  What to do with this information?


Don't act upon it.  They are guessing or using some pat answer.  It is meaningless data and a bit of a shame they'd guess but that is how it is in freelancer-land.   In your interviews, indicate they do not have enough information to scope correctly, you'll start with that, then provide them with a scoping information document.  Tangible data, real facts on delivery needs -- a guidepost.  Then ask your top three or whatever to reform their budget based on specific knowledge and return with their number.

 

The point in freelancer-land is not to get the best price. The point is to get a fair price, have the freelancers head in the game, feel comfortable, and be motivated in spirited ways to fulfill their end of the bargain.  Use a scoping document in your first call, then ask them to reformulate their number.

Then you have data that is reliable and a number they can be held to, because it is their number.  Not yours.


So, TL;dr: Client puts up a project asking for a fixed price, then scolds freelancers for GIVING him a fixed price, because HE (the client) didn't provide sufficient details to enable an accurate quote in the first place.

 

I would certainly be motivated - in a spirited way - to end the discussions right there. 

 

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Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
12 of 54

Christine A wrote:

John B wrote:

Fixed fee contract goes up.  We place up a budget that is probably (a) our expectation of cost and/or (b) our desired budget.


Then we get nn responses with freelancers who, seemingly, picked some budget number from here-or-there.  What to do with this information?


Don't act upon it.  They are guessing or using some pat answer.  It is meaningless data and a bit of a shame they'd guess but that is how it is in freelancer-land.   In your interviews, indicate they do not have enough information to scope correctly, you'll start with that, then provide them with a scoping information document.  Tangible data, real facts on delivery needs -- a guidepost.  Then ask your top three or whatever to reform their budget based on specific knowledge and return with their number.

 

The point in freelancer-land is not to get the best price. The point is to get a fair price, have the freelancers head in the game, feel comfortable, and be motivated in spirited ways to fulfill their end of the bargain.  Use a scoping document in your first call, then ask them to reformulate their number.

Then you have data that is reliable and a number they can be held to, because it is their number.  Not yours.


So, TL;dr: Client puts up a project asking for a fixed price, then scolds freelancers for GIVING him a fixed price, because HE (the client) didn't provide sufficient details to enable an accurate quote in the first place.

 

I would certainly be motivated - in a spirited way - to end the discussions right there. 

 


jeeez, Christine, all the things you do wrong will be covered in the 3x video calls. For real though, I've had a client like the OP and he paid me $600 to talk down to me and pontificate. On the one hand, it was really annoying but on the other hand I made $600 by just rolling my eyes as this guy spoke down to me explaining to me all the things I do wrong and how he is a really really smart guy with a computer science degree. 

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Community Guru
John B Member Since: Aug 20, 2015
13 of 54

There are two sides to manage here.  I was speaking of a tactic to use with clients who are obviously low-balling a price.  Bid back the $5 or $50 or whatever scenario applies the engage the tactic.

 

Some fixed fee projects may seem 'in the right range'.  For scenarios like this, it is useful to bid in a price. I provide this as the accompanying language:

"The job scope you have defined may not provide all the information I need to scope this correctly.  I have placed in my estimate as true-and-real with the information I have.  However, there may be as much a chance I have over-bid as I have under-bid.  I recommend as a first step. In our first video conference call -  I will ask specific questions that are assured to enable me to determine more of the parameters of delivery.  Then I will refine my bid accordingly. Once that is set, we stick to it, without question."

 

If that runs a hiring client off, I have perhaps saved myself a 4.0.  The counsel is not intended to assist contractors who are in 'win work at all costs'.  This counsel is reserved for contractors who can be relatively selective in bidding work and have the work stream luxury of engaging in a scoping step prior to clicking the [Accept Job] button.


I get scolded for writing too-long or not-brief-enough pieces.  One reason I write more are circumstances such as this.  There are many facets to the tactic.


Discussion, now provided.

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Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
14 of 54

Kudos to the OP for posting the exact opposite of what a serious client should do. Especially micromanaging and mentioning the JSS. 

 

Freelancers confronted to that kind of clients know they may end up in trouble. OR at least in a PITA work relationship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
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Community Guru
John B Member Since: Aug 20, 2015
15 of 54

 Have you tried - once - to use the tactic.  I have tried both sides of it.  Not mentioning the JSS and working the client through a professional, conservative discussion of the JSS.   I am wary of opinions of tactics that have never been tried at least one time.  There may be guessing involved.

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Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
16 of 54

John B wrote:

 Have you tried - once - to use the tactic.  I have tried both sides of it.  Not mentioning the JSS and working the client through a professional, conservative discussion of the JSS.   I am wary of opinions of tactics that have never been tried at least one time.  There may be guessing involved.


I've managed to maintain my 100% JSS without resorting to guilt-tripping my clients or dictating what they should write. I'm guessing that simply doing good work and providing good customer service hasn't worked out so well for you, otherwise there would have been no need to develop these "tactics" in the first place.

 

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Aleksandr S Member Since: Jun 22, 2015
17 of 54

I like you, John. Really. For your English writing style. I really hope you don't speak so. Otherwise non-fluent freelancers are in a big trouble. But I learn when I read your posts. I ignore the meaning though.

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Martina P Member Since: Jul 11, 2018
18 of 54

Aleksandr S wrote:

I like you, John. Really. For your English writing style. I really hope you don't speak so. Otherwise non-fluent freelancers are in a big trouble. But I learn when I read your posts. I ignore the meaning though.


I don't recommend greeting all your US clients with "howdy". It is quite uncommon to do so in the business world, but might give you interesting results. 

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Aleksandr S Member Since: Jun 22, 2015
19 of 54

Martina P wrote:

Aleksandr S wrote:

I like you, John. Really. For your English writing style. I really hope you don't speak so. Otherwise non-fluent freelancers are in a big trouble. But I learn when I read your posts. I ignore the meaning though.


I don't recommend greeting all your US clients with "howdy". It is quite uncommon to do so in the business world, but might give you interesting results. 


I didn't mean to talk like this. But thanks for the info anyway.

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John B Member Since: Aug 20, 2015
20 of 54

Thank you for the kind words. They are uplifting. 

 

I work with newcomers and at times they are not fluent in business-grade English.  I try to "elevate" not "ratchet down".   I suggested strongly to my 2019 mentee, he do what is necessary to gain spoken fluency in English.  From that point, he signed himself up for English speaking classes, and, for a period of eight weeks, attended these classes for three hours a night, four nights a week. The work came at hardship to his personal life.  I admired his effort.


In his most recent three engagements associated with my delivery stream, this mentee had 1:1 business communication calls with the executive-level project sponsors of his project.  Two were literally c-level executives.  His spoken English shone through and had he not taken the path he did, he would continue to be stranded as a behind-the-scenes contractor.

 

I take to heart your dialogs.  I will watch closely to make sure I communicate at reasonable levels with my mentees, as they are all ESL and that is a hard starting point.

As I consistently correct their English in real-time - at times not particularly gently so - I remind them. I speak only one language.  Meaning.  With some effort, they can become better than me. They can speak two languages... fluently... if they make the effort.


Have a nice day!

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