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Sending Bids Wisely on Upwork

Good Afternoon,


I am fairly new to Upwork, having been on continuously for about 3 weeks. I recently closed two jobs successfully and I am working on a third job. However, I feel like I have joined the platform at a time of great transition. The biggest change, as many of you know, is the pricing of the connects and how many are required for proposals. With that being said, I am going to be a lot more frugal with my bids. The alarming thing is that there seems to be this almost gambling aspect to bidding. I know this is just the way of freelancing but, coming from a background doing all my marketing and PR for myself, it is a little daunting. 


Does anyone have some useful tips on how to strategically bid on Upwork?


Thank you,



Community Member

I never bid on a job unless I'm confident that there's a clear reason I am a better fit for that job than all or the vast majority of the other freelancers who may bid on it. A lot of freelancers bid on any job they know they can do, but being able to do a job is not a selling point--that's a threshhold issue (or should be) for anyone bidding. It's only like gambling when you don't really have anything to distinguish you from the rest of the pool.

What if your ego doesn't allow you to believe anything than you are ALWAYS the best fit?

Smiley LOL

Mark F wrote:

What if your ego doesn't allow you to believe anything than you are ALWAYS the best fit?

Smiley LOL

What if it doesn't depend on your ego but on being always the cheapest?


Good clients exist but there are not easy to identify plus depending on what your business is, it can be time sensitive.  


You know how to do it? so what?

You're cheap? so what?

You're the first? may be you have a chance.

Can’t speak to that. I am never the cheapest.

Eric B wrote:


You know how to do it? so what?

You're cheap? so what?

You're the first? may be you have a chance.

You're the best at what you do, or have taken the time to develop a specialized skill? You have a very good chance. (And you don't have to be cheap. In fact, it's counterproductive)

Community Member



There a few things you can do to reduce your chance of wasting your time and connects. These are the ones I think apply to the types of jobs I apply to:


1) Don’t bid on projects posted by the client more than a few days earlier. If you can search every day for the specific types of jobs you’re looking for, do it until you're so busy you don’t have time for it, then just do searches as often as you can. (Clients have no obligation or incentive to close their Upwork ads even after they hire a freelancer and they have no intention of hiring a second freelancer.)
2) Don’t bid on projects where there are already 20 or more proposals. The competition will be fierce and unless you think your bid will be at the low end of the range of bids received by the client for that project, your chances of you sending the winning bid are low. (But always consider bidding on projects where you think you are the ideal freelancer, regardless whether you expect to be the lowest cost bidder. Some clients know they will get the quality of work they are willing to pay for.)
3) Don’t bid on projects that mention something like, “There is a lot more future work for the right freelancer.” This means the clients wants to lowball you on your rate for this job. And there is unlikely to be any future work from this client at a reasonable rate of pay, if at all.
4) Don’t bid on projects for clients whose historical pay rate is well below the range acceptable to you. If a client has paid freelancers an average of $4.00 on previous projects and you are looking for projects that pay $20/hour or more, it is unlikely the client will find your proposal the most attractive one (s)he receives. (It appears Upwork recently changed the form clients use to submit hourly jobs, so maybe the range you now see on such projects is more indicative of whether the client will look at your proposal.)
5) It can be smart for a new Upwork freelancer to submit proposals at pay rates lower than the range they want to earn over the long term, but don’t bid too low. Quality clients will ignore very low bids because they have low expectations of the quality of the work they’ll be paying for.
6) Don’t avoid submitting bids on fixed price projects if you prefer hourly projects, or vice versa. It is not unusual for a client to be primarily looking for the right freelancer and willing to revise the project type for that freelancer.


Hope this helps.


Good luck.

Thanks for taking out the time to write this; my account finally just got accepted and I found it very insightful.

This is very helpful information, thank you!

Dear Will,

This information is useful for all of us who are new to Upwork. Thank you. Please let us know if there are any other insights.

Community Member

Wow what an encouragement to us. I have been trying all through but I have not got any job. Please anyone has any point to add of my profile please tell me guys. I really need jobs 

Community Member

Like many others, I am trying to find more work on the platform. Having perfected my profile (I think), honed my skill at composing cover letters, and created some samples of my work to attach to the cover letters, I now conclude there is only one fundamental technique left to ensure success: Getting clients to open and view my proposals. Like most, my percentage of viewed submissions could be better. Someone here mentioned placing a "hook" into the first few lines of a proposal so the client glancing at the long list of bids is compelled to open it and read. And that is just what I have been thinking! 

Who else has thought about this? Have you experimented with this? What hooks have you used that prompted a client to open your proposal? I'm just looking for a few examples to inspire me - not phrases to copy.  Anyone?

Jennifer Neighbors
Microsoft Access Designer and Developer
My profile

Not few lines, TWO lines. That's what the client sees in the list, before clicking through to your proposal. I've always put my best selling point into those first few lines, and my conversion rate on Upwork has been great.

Thanks, Tiffany, for weighing in! Are you willing to share an example of the first two lines of one of your proposals that reflect your approach? I am eager to learn how to do this myself... (Please mark out anything personal. I only want a general idea of how you compose those first two lines.) Thank you!

Jennifer Neighbors
Microsoft Access Designer and Developer
My profile

I don't know that the format would be useful to anyone else, because it's really about highlighting whatever you have to offer that's most relevant to the job. For me, that is two specific types of experience I have that are directly relevant to every job I send a proposal on, but for someone not so niche-focused, it might be different from proposal to proposal. 

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