Here’s how it is supposed to work: A company crafts a highly detailed job description for a specific project. Contractors write highly detailed and attractive cover letters to capture the attention of the company. The company chooses a contractor from the field of highly qualified, well written contractors. The contractor accepts the job and performs up to spec and within the time frame. The company pays the contractor a fair price for the job in a timely manner. Good reviews of each other’s performances are given out. Everyone is happy.
Here’s how it actually works: Companies cobble together a low balled job description which has been cobbled together using previous job descriptions from other companies. Contractors send out equally cobbled together job responses because they have no idea what the company is really wanting – and they are forced to lower their standards because of the competition. The ones who get the jobs are the ones who spent half an hour replying to the job proposal, and even then they might not get noticed because there are so many unqualified applications to sift through. Because the company wanted such a low price, the contractor feels that they don’t have to offer quality – after all, quality costs money. Company and contractor struggle back and forth to produce the product, and hope that neither party will screw the other. Nobody is particularly happy, but they are willing to accept the ‘good enough’ situation as it is because they don’t want to go through the dance of bidding and selection again.
Related post: Freelance make money
Companies who have never hired an IT professional, web developer, copywriter, or graphic designer have difficulty knowing what they should be asking for in the first place. They have been advised that Freelancer and Upwork are the places to go to find people who can do the job, and so they go there. Being that they don’t entirely know what they’re looking for, they borrow text from the other requests in the hopes that the contractors that they find will hit the nail on the head. Another tactic is to write something as vague as ‘I need a website.’ These companies are pressed for time, so they usually do not put the emphasis on specifying exactly what they want, cobbling together a job description from other companies.
The contractors themselves immediately know and understand that the companies didn’t want to take the time to understand what they were asking for. Being that the contractor doesn’t want to waste their own time explaining and clarifying the company’s needs (both are busy, you see), they use a boilerplate job response which they sincerely hope covers all of the needs that the company is requiring. Being that it’s easy to copy/paste a boilerplate answer, many contractors, some of whom aren’t qualified for the position in the least, will apply for the job.
The company is forced to read all of these crappy boilerplate responses, and hopes to find someone who is willing and able to decipher what was asked for in the first place. This takes up more precious time, and is usually found to be fruitless. After all, who wants to pay a contractor who doesn’t care enough to actually pay attention to the job requests in the first place? When the company doesn’t find a qualified applicant, they are forced to go through the process again – made to create another job description, and left to feel frustrated that they cannot get what they want.
Because the company has no idea what they want, they have no idea how much the project is really going to cost. They want to get the lowest price and the highest quality, and read some of the other (what they feel) similar job requests which have low rates, and offer those same low rates because they consider those rates to be normal. The good freelancers become insulted with the low pricing, and the ‘good enough’ freelancers stay but don’t feel that they have to provide quality because the price is so low……..