Tag Archives: employer

Which bid on a freelance project is most likely to be picked?

If you are placing a bid on a project on a freelance job site such as oDesk, Elance, or freelancer, what bid number do you think would get the most bids? The first bid, the third bid, or the last bid?

If you said the last bid, you would be correct. According to research done by Yu Wu of Stanford University, Hang Ung of Ecole Polytechnique, and Christina Aperjis of HP Labs, the last bid is the most likely bid to be picked. All other bid numbers were chosen with the same frequency.

The researchers believed that the reason that the last bid was chosen more was due to “sunk cost fallacy” reasoning. What this means is that the employer selects the last bid to justify the time spent waiting, even though the last bid should not be held in higher regard than the other bids.

After thinking about the situation, I think that there may be two additional reasons that the last bid is chosen.

Reason number one:

When people say “It’s always in the last place you look.” Of course it is. Why the f#%@ would you keep looking after you’ve found it?
- George Carlin

Once an employer got a good bid, they would select the bidder and stop the bidding process which would prevent additional bids from being placed.

Reason number two:

Careful bidders. A bidder on a fixed price project needs as much information on the project in order to determine a good price. A bidder like this is likely to contact the employer earlier in the process with questions, while the other bidders are placing bids. As they get more information, they are able to place an accurate (but late) bid, but in the process, they also build a relationship with the perspective employer.

The research paper is available here:



Project works in the freelancer’s system, but not the employer’s. How do you fix it?

This issue comes up frequently in arbitrations regarding websites. Typically, the freelancer has done the work on their own server, but when they transfer the work to the employer’s environment, it doesn’t work. Usually by the time the project comes in for arbitration, it’s too late to fix it because both parties hate each other and no longer want to work together. Before it gets to this stage, there are a few things on both the freelancer’s and employer’s side that can be done in order to prevent this type of problem.

Both Parties

  • Use a screen sharing service like www.teamviewer.com so that both of you can see the issues at the same time.


  • Make sure that double check that the employer’s environment and your development environment is compatible before beginning work.
  • Many times, these issues are a result of incompatible versions (such as PHP version 4 versus 5), settings, or directory structure.


  • Take a screenshot of the problem, there’s many free way to do this, including Alt+PrintScreen in Windows.
  • Take a movie of the problem. Again, there are freeware programs that will do this.
  • Make sure you are giving good feedback – make sure that you indicate the browser that you are using, the exact error message, and the steps that you took that caused it.