How to Approach Bidding
So, now we're gonna get into bidding on a job. And I wanted to cover this because a lot of times what happens is, most of the time when you get an inquiry from a potential client, they want to work with you. They've already chosen you. They might have a backup list if you say no, but they want to work with you and they want to know what you're going to charge or if you're available, but you're basically being offered a job. But there's another scenario that happens probably about 10 to 15, sometimes even 20% of the time. When a client comes to you and wants you to bid on a job, and I think this is actually more true for designers than it is for illustrators. I'm not really sure what the world is in this regard for photographers, but what that means is they've got other people interested, or they're interested in working with other people besides you, they're interested in a slew of you, and they want to see, they want to base who they're going to choose on what your bid is, how much yo...
u would charge, and maybe another question they're going to ask is, how long would it take you to complete the assignment? So, here are a couple of acceptable bid questions. Name your fee, and how quickly can you turn the job around? These are very normal, acceptable questions for them to ask you. And again, I think I used an example earlier of I had a little bit of reservation when I got a bid opportunity recently. So before I even gave a bid, I wanted to know more about how they wanted to work with me and a little bit more about the assignment. So if you can get that kind of information out of them initially, because sometimes coming up with a bid is a little bit of work. Especially as in the case that I named earlier, it was kind of for a large amount of work, and so I wanted to make sure that I did some calculations that led me to a good number, and I knew that was gonna take me some time, so I wanted to make sure that it was potentially gonna be a good job for me before I did the work of coming up with a bid. So, it's okay to ask other questions before you name your fee, or how quickly you can turn a job around, or whether you even know whether you want to bid on the job in the first place. However, unacceptable bid question. Well, there's actually just one. Give us some samples of what you would do or how you would approach the assignment. What are they asking you to do? Work, they're asking you to work, and that is called work on spec. So you want to avoid any work on spec unless the client offers to pay you, okay? So, bidding should just be, how much would you charge and how long do you think that this job will take you? Those are totally acceptable questions for them to ask you up front. And just know when you bid on a job, other people are bidding on it too. Just because you submit a bid doesn't mean you're gonna get the job. So be sure to ask for what you think you deserve. If you think it's gonna be a competitive bid and you really want the job, maybe you go to your bottom line. Figure out your strategy, but that's what bidding means. Now, work on spec is fine if the client offers to pay you. So recently, I did some work for a big outdoor company, and it was a situation where they had a campaign around a particular topic, theme. And they wanted to make some T-shirts. And they wanted the T-shirts to have a particular saying on them. And they didn't want to do it internally, they wanted to invite some artists to submit designs. So, in that case, I wasn't actually bidding for a fee, there was, the fee was up, they were up front about the fee. But the bid was really for the design. So, they asked if you were interested, we could submit a sketch. Or if we wanted to submit more than one sketch, we could. That's called work on spec, but they paid for the sketches, so I got every artist who submitted, who was asked to submit and submitted, got a fee for that. Now if your submission was accepted and your design bid was accepted and printed on the T-shirt, then you got an additional fee. And I was one of the people whose work was accepted, so it was worth it for me. And being paid to sketch something is also great. So, make sure you're being paid for work. One last thing about bidding. Just because you bid on a job and your bid is accepted, doesn't mean you need to take the assignment if they accept your bid and offer you the assignment. Okay, so sometimes you'll be asked to bid on a job, but you won't actually have very much information about it. You'll be able to gather a little bit, but you won't necessarily have enough. And then let's say your bid is accepted, and then you start really asking questions about the assignment and you decide it's not for you, you can always say no. So you're under no legal obligation to take the job, even if they accept your bid. So just know, there's really no loss in bidding on a job if you're interested.