To maximize your success, your proposals should include thoughtful cost and time estimates. However, Employers sometimes post vague project descriptions because they don’t understand the full scope of their project or the costs involved. Employers look to experts like you to help them articulate their project and determine a fair price.
- Include a polite disclaimer: “This proposal may change when more details are available.”
- Make some assumptions about the Employer’s needs: “I see that you request a website for your small company. If you’re interested in a brochure-type website that includes the layout and programming up to 20 pages, I usually charge $X / hour or $Y per page.”
- Base your estimates on your relevant past work: “A recently-designed, tri-fold brochure for a Charlotte-based carpet reseller was completed in 20 hours and the final cost was $X. While I’m unclear about the full scope of your needs, I hope this example gives you an idea of my pricing and time estimates.”
- Make suggestions to broaden the service: “You indicate that you’re looking for a technical writer. Not only can I satisfy your writing requirements, but I can also provide design and layout services, if needed. I typically charge $X – $Y per hour for these services.”
- Ask questions in your proposal that will help you to provide a more accurate estimate.
Though you must first state your total estimated budget for the project, within the proposal you can present your cost estimates in various ways, including per hour, per project, per page, and per word.
For example, writers often calculate fees per word / page, but Employers may be unfamiliar with this standard. Instead, you may want to present your cost estimate in industry and non-technical terms, such as, “I submit a proposed cost estimate of $X [250 pages with approximately 750 words per page at a cost of $Y per word].”
Time estimates may also depend on many criteria. It may help if you break the work into its components.
For instance, “I propose completion in 3 weeks, including: 1 week of homepage design, 1 week of internal page design, graphic and text upload for up to 20 pages, 1 week of customer review and upload of the completed website.”
Use the suggestions below to determine cost and time estimates.
- Call firms that offer the same service and check their time quotes.
- Check with friends or colleagues.
- Check with professional organizations that cater to your profession.
- Base your time estimate on how long it has taken to complete similar work in the past.
Consider vague project postings an opportunity to convince an Employer of your expertise. Offer ballpark cost and time estimates and help the Employer understand the full scope and cost of their project. Employers hire Freelancers who demonstrate expertise, cooperation, and patience. A vague project posting allows you to prove your unique ability to cultivate success.