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I live in the United States. i have used dozens of bidding websites to try and win contracts. However, I keep losing out to foreigners charging vastly less. I currently price using data from Dpt. of Labor on national averages, and going below those averages. Also using assessment tests that I've taken from companies like Modis. However, the end result is always no contract. I don't want to give up on software development, given I enjoy it, but it's almost to the point that I'd make more at McDonalds than trying to outbid. As for my choice in freelancing: my area is dead in terms of technology and the areas that are hiring want criteria that I do not meet. (i.e. Sr. Level)

What can I do to convince clients to hire me?

  • Why should you be paid more? What do you have to offer that they don't? Price is the USP of these foreign contractors so of course on a site where 9 times out of 10 the client just wants the cheapest price, they're going to win. Find out what your USP is and find out who wants it. This doesn't seem the best method of gaining new business for you. – hkaube May 28 '15 at 11:47
  • What programming area are you in? – Peter MV May 28 '15 at 13:08
  • @PeterMV LAMP (Info-sites/ecommerce) – Loumil4 Jun 3 '15 at 22:53
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I'm in the US, started on Elance and oDesk and am happily making excellent pay on both sites now, with steady work to keep me busy full time. I charge much more than overseas freelancers, so how do I regularly land contracts?

The answer is simple - you have to sell yourself as better than the competition. I land contracts regularly because I am

  • faster
  • more honest
  • more reliable
  • better at communicating

and I know how to convey this to clients. I am not trying to brag, but merely to demonstrate that it's possible.

Your target market is not every client on the site. Your primary target market is U.S. based clients who have been burned by outsourced freelancers in the past and are looking to get the job done properly and domestically. In fact, many of the projects I've been hired on have been to fix or rebuild programs that were botched by overseas freelancers.

You need to explain why you are better and why you're worth the higher rate. You need to actually be better, or you'll get bad feedback on your first few projects and never land any additional work.

Charge much lower than you want to for your first few projects. When you have zero feedback history, it's better to get the contracts than to make big bucks. You don't need to go as cheap as the overseas guys, but don't try to start at $40/hr.

One final tip: if a client interviews you, but hires an overseas freelancer instead, wait a few weeks and then send them a polite message asking how their project is going. Three times this has gotten me a job that I was originally turned down for, because the freelancer they originally hired didn't deliver.

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  • "Your primary target market is U.S. based clients who have been burned" I've seen a lot of postings now that say "US providers only". – tcrosley May 29 '15 at 16:51
  • @user45623 I'm going to roll with this and see how it works out. Thanks. – Loumil4 Jun 3 '15 at 22:56
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You can't compete in term of price with freelancers in India, Vietnam or similar areas, the cost of life is vastly less expensive than in how is USA or Europe, so in my opinion is not a good idea to look for jobs in these sites.

You should look for local clients, offer yourself for consultancy and development for small/medium companies and then if you have too much work to do you can even hire yourself foreign developers at lower rates that will develop for you at cost of 1 when you will sell the work for 10.

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  • This is a bad answer. You can absolutely compete on these sites. It's how I make my money. Not to mention that hiring foreign developers to do your work is going to end in disaster. – user45623 May 28 '15 at 18:22
  • user45623: This is not my experience. I regularly hire freelancers from India for certain jobs, they are serious workers, they are very accurate, fast and charge impossible low rates for US or Europe. – Mario May 28 '15 at 18:38

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