Freelance In 40 Days [Day 12]: Project Bids, The Ticket To Getting Freelance Work

Posted: September 15th, 2009

Photo by Rob Barrett (Flickr)

Photo by Rob Barrett (Flickr)

This is Day 12 of the Freelance in 40 Days series where you’ll learn to freelance just by taking it one day and one task at a time. Today you’ll learn how to write a bid to apply for projects.

When searching through the job boards, the first step to finding freelance work is looking for projects that suit you. Then there’s that other step to making that project ours: the project bid. Don’t worry, its not some lengthy 20 page proposal to convince an employer to hire.

It is more like a quick letter explaining your skills, estimate and contact info. It’s not quite that simple though. Since your bids will be competing with many others for the same projects its important to get it right or it will be passed over for another in a hurry.

Let’s break down the bid some more with a sample. For this sample bid we create we’ll use the following project:

Project Description:

I need a talented, creative, efficient, organized, self-starting ghost-writer who can help me create web and published content for a variety of different topics.

I will provide the outline and ideas to which I’ll basically need website copy review, tweaks, and edits. Also, I will be needing a feature article for my next newsletter.

I need someone that is marketing minded not just a great writer. Someone that knows how to sell, write good ad copy, etc. I’m looking to outsource a few projects in order to find the right long-term relationship.

Subject Line

If you are sending a bid by email, it is important to catch attention with a catchy subject line. Some job boards, though not all, allow a subject line as well.

What luck! Now you have an expert ghost-writer published in successful websites!


Greetings, [or if you know a specific name Dear Xxxx,]

Thank you for the opportunity to bid on your project seeking a ghost-writer to create web content. I’ll be more than excited to take on the challenge and you will find all information relating to my skills and experience as well as my cost and time estimates contained in this project bid.

This is a fairly straightforward introduction but its good to begin with a mention of the project at hand.


I have ghost-written several ebooks including the sales copy on the websites used to promote them. A few of which are, “Search Engine Secrets You Never Learned,”  “The New Atkins is Here,” and “Million Dollar Jobs From Your Home.”

Here is what you can expect from me as your new ghost-writer:

  • Expert in writing content for ANY subject
  • Will meet all deadlines. Guaranteed or no charge.
  • Will accommodate urgent requests

Notice that this is as brief as possible, yet highlights only the experience that is relevant to the project, which is very important. Wordiness can be fatal here. Also, explain where the employer can find your portfolio and relevant samples of your work such as follows:

Please refer to the attached portfolio and work sample files.


For more information of my skills and work samples please view here:


Work Sample (New Atkins is Here):

Work Sample (Million Dollar Jobs From Your Home):

Cost/Time Estimate

I have a quick turnaround time for completion of sales copy which is three days for each 500 words of copy. Turnaround for newsletter articles is roughly one day for every 500 words of text. My rates are $0.50/word for search engine optimized sales copy and $0.10/word for articles.

Note that sometimes project descriptions do not have enough information for you to give an exact figure. In this case, it is beneficial to state “I can give you a ballpark estimate of $x” or a range of $x – $y. Then follow up this part with no more than three questions to the employer. More than three questions may be too much of a hassle to answer.

Contact Info and Closing

I am located in New York City and am able to begin working on this project right away. Feel free to contact me anytime at, in MSN Messenger under screen name example or by phone at (555) 555-5555. I look forward to working with you and turning your ideas into dollar signs like I did for my previous clients.

Best regards and I look forward to working with you soon.

John Doe

Don’t forget to give your email, instant message screen name (and IM type), phone number and location. You give the appearance of being an easily accessible human being.

Your Homework For Today

Here we covered the basics of the bid, but in the next tutorial, we’ll go over the little tricks used when bidding on projects. So for today, relax and take a breather or have a look back at previous tutorials or catch up on that portfolio or website. Day 13 will be here before you know it.

Here you can download the sample bid used in this post.

More on the author, Johnny Spence
Johnny is the founder of The Freelance Rant and a freelance web programmer with 8 years in the business. Have a visit at his company Oscarrr!web or see what he's up to on Twitter.

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