I'm just curious what other FL's experience and feelings are on offers that come from potential clients who you've never even spoken to. This just happened to me for the first time. I declined because the project requires more time than I can commit right now. But I also noticed that they set a fixed rate, and they wanted me to accept this fixed rate (already in escrow) that was nowhere near what I would charge to do this work. They did say to message with any questions, so I won't know if there was room to adjust their budget or not. But I don't have the time available so I didn't want to waste their time with useless questions. So that I will never know.
I certainly don't mind getting offers from former clients who know my pricing structure, and I know their work, but it seems odd to me to send an offer without discussing scope of work, deliverables, etc, or if the FL would even do it for that rate.
Does anyone have success with that approach? Again, I'm not criticizing or suggesting it change, I'm just curious how others have interfaced with that feature. And if they've had a good experience with it.
The few times it happened to me it was because the client was new the platform and didn't understand how things worked. Each time I had them cancel the offer and then go through the normal discussion cycle. I took it as an opportunity to educate them which in turn gave them greater trust in me.
In my space I cannot imagine a legitimate offer being made without discussion and therefore I would never accept a contract on that basis. Other areas can be different but I would be very wary and overall would never recommend anyone take a contract without talking with the client first regardless of their field.
At least two of my contracts started that way - and worked out well. Others I declined.
I won't accept an offer without a discussion, my frustration with this offer process (vs. job posting/invite) is you can't vet the client. There is no way to backtrack into their history. I had a third contract, the client had a wierd rating, but I went for it and he's been a great client.
So the short answer is, I generally will engage if I receive an offer, but won't accept without a discussion. And as Scott says, they can create a new offer/proposal if the original doesn't meet your rate.
I would not categorically refuse to engage (unless I see a red flag in the initial contact) but would never accept a contract without discussion, which serves not only to nail down specs but also get acquainted. How I respond to a given contact depends on what it says and how, and how busy I am.
I've never received an offer from a previously unknown client. I don't really get the reason why they would do that, the freelancer could be booked for weeks and months, or are they sending offers to 10 people? What if 5 accept?
So the whole thing does not make sense to me and can IMO only be chalked up to inexperience on the part of the client.
Or they are scammers.
It makes a lot of sense to me. Given that people come from out of nowhere in the real world and offer me work, I'm actually surprised it doesn't happen here more often. (By coincidence, I received such an email earlier today.)
As yet, I've only had one project awarded in this way. The rather nice chap told me that after looking at my profile he thought he'd simply hire me rather than hanging around for bids. He sent a detailed brief, offered a decent amount of money and waited a short time because I wasn't immediately available. (If I had been booked for weeks, my profile would have said that.) It was one of the most smooth running and pleasant projects I've ever done on here.
He was new to Upwork so inexperienced in that way. But from the brief, he clearly wasn't inexperienced when it came to hiring contractors. It was an offer. I could have rejected it or negotiated something different. In this instance, it wasn't necessary.
I'd welcome more approaches like this. Negotiating with someone who has already decided you're right for a project and has read your profile well enough to have a good idea of how much it would cost is MUCH easier than bidding.