In yesterday’s post, I talked about how I’m using a freelance site to get a high-quality logo for less than $100. In this case, the site I’m using is vWorker (Affiliate link). Today I want to talk about how to list your project. Do it the right way and you’ll usually get exactly what you want. Do it wrong and you’ll waste lots of time and money.
I’ve listed dozens of projects with vWorker (formerly Rentacoder.com) over the years and I’ll share some of what I’ve learned along the way so, hopefully, you can avoid some of the bumps and bruises I’ve encountered along the way.
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR PROJECT DESCRIPTION
Including the right information in your project description is a critical step. On vWorker, you’re initially asked to choose a title for your project, a project type, bidding type and to select if you require an NDA.
Keep the title simple. I simply used “Logo Design”. Project Type features a pull-down menu with several selections related to your budget. For a logo project, I’d either choose “Unsure of Project Price”, “Very Small Project (Under $100 USD), or Small Business Project ($100 USD and above). I chose “Unsure of Project Price”. I knew I’d get several low bids but I didn’t want to risk missing out on a really good designer that might exceed my target budget. For Bidding type, choose “Open Auction”. I’d leave the NDA box unchecked unless you’re working on something super-secretive. It will limit the amount of bids you get.
On the next screen, you’ll be given the choice to “Pay for Deliverables” or “Pay for Time”. You definitely want the former for a logo project. From there, you’ll be asked to choose your project’s category from an expandable menu. For this project, I chose Design Arts & Multimedia> Logo Design.
Next, you’ll write the actual description. This is just an overview of your project. You’ll get into the details about your business, color schemes and such once you’ve settled on a bidder. For a project like this one, this isn’t that complicated but there are some key things you’ll want to include. I’ve included the description I used for my logo project below, which will make me sound really picky. However, in addition to describing the project, I’m including information that will help me weed out a lot of unqualified bidders. And that’s important because you may end up with dozens of bidders, each of which will take time to evaluate. My logo project netted fifty-two bids.
Here’s my project description:
I need a new logo for a media company. The logo will primarily be used on a website and on business cards so I will need it formatted for both the web (.jpg and .psd) and print plus the original graphic design files.
I need something better than the type of logo that might be good for a local restaurant or business. It needs to be comparable to a national brand.
You must be fluent in English, not just understand a few basic phrases. I’m sorry but I have had communication problems with designers in the past with limited English skills. I’ll be describing what I do in some detail to help you create the right logo so it’s important that you can follow along.
Please include samples of logos you’ve done in the past.
Important: Please do not paste in a boilerplate message with your bid that says something like “We are a team of designers from _________ and will be happy to complete your project…” I don’t need an elaborate message, just an indication that you’ve read this and can follow instructions. I automatically delete any bids that don’t do this because it tells me the designer can’t follow instructions.
Thanks for reading and for bidding. I look forward to working with you and providing excellent feedback!
So, my description included:
- What kind of company the logo was for and that I needed it for both print and web.
- I asked for samples of logos they’ve done in the past.
- I let them know what file formats I needed and requested the original design files. I’ll need those if I ever want to make small changes to the logo down the line. You’ll want these, too. Even if you can find the original designer later, they may not have the original source files themselves.
- I mention giving them Feedback, which is very important on vWorker (more on feedback in a moment.)
- The rest of the message is designed to weed out designers that speak little to no English, which is common on vWorker.
The language issue is critical. Although vWorker allows you to limit bidding to workers from particular regions, I prefer to open it up to everyone. I’ve had success with designers from all over the world but I’ve also run into problems where the bidder only understood about half of what I was saying yet they won’t tell you that. So it only becomes apparent when they make numerous mistakes.
There are also several groups of designers, especially in India, China and Pakistan that operate under a single account on vWorker. So their company description, portfolio and bid may include flawless English but the person actually assigned to your project may understand little English.
These large firms usually bid on almost every single project posted on the site. When a bid is placed, the worker also is expected to include a message or pitch with their bid. The large firms usually use generic text describing their experience, skills and with links to their portfolio.
I don’t like to work with these firms because you never know who you’ll actually be working with. While the portfolio may contain excellent work, you have no way of knowing which designs, if any, were produced by the designer that’s assigned to you or the level of their communication skills.
Thus, my request not to include the boilerplate message. Even with that warning, 75% of the bidders still include it so I eliminate them right off the bat. vWorker gives you the option to hide any bidders you’re not interested in to make it easier to narrow down the list. You can restore all hidden bidders at any time, though, in case you hide one by mistake.
Some bidders won’t use boilerplate text but instead post comments that make it obvious they didn’t read the whole description. I cross them off the list, too. While it may seem super-picky, my experience has been that the designers that just skim the bid description tend to do the same if you hire them. They may create great art but they overlook too many things. So if you say, “I like this, can I see it in red and please make the widget smaller?”, they’ll send it to you in red but overlook changing the widget.
The line about including samples of their logo work helps here, too. Many will include links to their portfolios or attach samples of their work. But quite often, these will be large collections of all kinds of artwork like web designs, banner graphics, flash presentations, business cards, brochures, etc. They do this because it’s easier for them to just link to their entire portfolio or send the same zip file each time they bid on a project than it is to just send logo samples. But it can take a lot of time to weed through all of these so I ask specifically for examples of the type of artwork I’m hiring them for.
I don’t automatically rule out those that send the entire portfolio but those that take the extra time to send what I asked for get first priority. I’ve also had designers offer to create a mock-up for me in advance just to show me what they’re capable of. Usually those are the workers that get the bid or, at the very least, get pushed to the top of the list for consideration.
After you fill in your project description, you’ll see a section called Deliverables. Part of this section will already be filled in with some legal language. I suggestion you leave that in. Below that, you’ll describe exactly what you expect to get from the vendor. If you’ll be using the logo for both print and web, you’ll want the logo in a variety of file types.
For print, you’ll want what’s called a vector based version. These will have file extensions like .ai, .cdr, or .eps. If you plan to have business cards, brochures and stationary printed, it’s a good idea to check with them before posting your project to see what format and specs they prefer. For the web, you’ll want a pixel based version. These will have extensions like .jpg, .gif, .png and for photoshop, .psd or ps. For more detail on these formats, read this article which explains this in more detail. I also recommend requesting the original photoshop files so if you ever need to modify the logo, you’ll have them on hand. Most commercial logo designers won’t provide these but the vendors on vWorker will if you ask.
Below the deliverables section, you’ll see a section called “Platform”, that won’t apply to your logo project so just type N/A there. You’ll also have the option of attaching any files you want to include. If you’re having an old logo updated or have something else you want potential bidders to see, include it here. The files must be in a .zip folder to upload to vWorker.
Final Steps to Submit Your Project
On the final screen, you’ll be asked to set a maximum bid you’ll accept. Workers can bid lower but not higher. If you’re not sure what to put, you can leave it blank and see what the workers suggest. They can’t see what the others are bidding so you’ll usually get a wide range of bids. My project’s bids ranged from $4 to $400 with most being below $100.
Next up is your Bid Closing Date. Pay attention to this one. By default, vWorker will enter a date and time nearly two weeks away. You don’t need anywhere near that much time for a logo project. I recommend 24-48 hours max. Maybe 72 hours if you post your project on the weekend. I chose 24 hours and got 52 bids. Note, if you choose 24 hours, when you change the deadline date, you’ll probably need to change the default time by 5-10 minutes because vWorker doesn’t allow a deadline less than a full 24 hours.
Also, regardless of when you set the deadline, you can end bidding early by accepting a bid. I once posted a business card project where the designer did a free mock-up within an hour of me posting the bid. I accepted her bid immediately and had the finished card design a couple of hours later.
After selecting the bid close deadline, you’ll see a couple of check boxes regarding expert level designers. You can read more about what those mean on the site but, these are more relevant for hiring someone like a software programmer. For a logo project, I leave them unchecked.
That’s the final step. If it’s your first time to use vWorker, your project may not appear right away. First, it’ll get reviewed by vWorker’s staff. Once they approve it, which can be in a matter of minutes, you’re project is visible to all the potential bidders. Once you’ve done a few projects, vWorker will automatically approve your projects without the review process.
Now it’s time to watch the bids come in. Within an hour or two, you’ll probably start getting a bunch of emails notifying you of new bids. In part 2, I talk about how to go about choosing the right designer for your project.
Do you have any questions or comments about the process? If so, please leave a comment below. I’d love to see your opinion.