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How does a begginer bid on a contract?

Guest Mike

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I know how difficult it can be to bid on a contract, and how it can depend on several points. A designer must also become a salesman and sell his/her service to the client. But what should the designer sell that will have the most effect on the client?

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I think it depends on the sort of contract you are going for, who you are competing against, and your level of experience.


If you are absolute beginner and don't have any sort of portfolio to show, I would personally avoid bidding on contracts (and to be clear, I'm talking about a situation where there are multiple companies bidding for the same work.) If you don't have anything to show, and you have other professionals with proven experience bidding for the same work, I don't think that is a challenge you are going to be able to win. You'd be much better off finding work with family members or friends of family members; someone who knows you personally may be willing to overlook the inexperience side of things. Once you have some experience, then here are some "sellable" items:


-- Experience/Portfolio: If you can talk articulately about who you've worked with and have samples of work to show, that's the first item you can sell

-- Personality/Personal interests: If you and the client have something in common (a shared interest or hobby, for example), outside of web design, you may be able to form a stronger connection with the client

-- How professional you are: You can sell the client on the fact that you are professional/reliable/responsible/prompt at returning email, etc.

-- Support/Maintenance: after the website is complete, are you going to be around to keep it updated and to answer questions? Are you going to do a good job at explaining how to use the website? If you have installed a content management system for the client, can you show them how to use it?

-- Quality: There are a lot of web designers out there, but you can help distinguish yourself based on quality of work

-- Specific areas of web design that you specialize in: It often helps if you are very talented in one specific area. For example, in my own freelance work, I sell the "design" side of web design, since I have a portfolio of detailed, high quality design work.

-- Areas outside of web design that you have experience in that may help the client: graphic design, marketing, business skills, etc.

-- Price: you can always try to charge less than your competitors, but you also run the risk of appearing cheap and putting clients off. Price yourself too low, and clients may think you won't do quality work

-- Speed: if the client is in a hurry, you can sell the fact that you work quickly (but once you've won the job, you better be able to come through on the deadlines you agreed to)


One thing I like to keep in mind is the "project triangle" idea (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_triangle). Basically, it's the idea that the client can pick any two out of these three items: "good", "fast" and "cheap". If a project is going to be high quality and done quickly, it probably won't be cheap. If a client wants a high quality project done cheaply, it may take a long time due to other higher priority work. If a client wants something cheap and fast, it may not be high quality.

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