Tips on Writing Proposals

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Brownout, Jun 9, 2014.

  1. Brownout

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2012
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    Does anyone write proposals on those "freelance" sites? I struggle to do that because it seems most projects are so poorly defined and often just weird. So, I usually just write a short introduction and paste in my resume. I'm not getting much action from that. Not that I care all that much because most of the jobs don't pay squat. I'm considering more of the jobs just because I've been out of work so long, and I want a project just to stay in the game.
     
  2. strantor

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    Oct 3, 2010
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    I think a proposal should be less about you and more about the work you intend to do and more importantly, how long it will take and how much it will cost. The proposals that my company writes are several pages long, and the only thing it says about the company is a quick blurb a couple paragraphs long on the front page about "been in business 35 years, we are awesome and more gooder than anybody else, etc." The rest of the pages detail the parts required, engineering man hours, install & commissioning man hours, services to be subcontracted, documentation to be provided, etc, and the the estimated time to completion and down time for the install. Maybe some more ranting about how the new parts are more gooder than the old ones and than anything else available and a prediction of how much down time will be saved, and energy efficiency cost savings by the proposed upgrade.

    I think in a ranked order of a customer's give-a-damn, how awesome YOU are is low on the list. They care about: does it do what it's supposed to do, dollars, quality, and what you will guarantee/warranty.

    I know it can be hard to write a proposal for a job for which scarce details are provided, but that's part of the challenge. You have to tease these details out over a series of visits to the customer and talking to different people. You have to decide what they want and brief it to them and wait for the rebuttal and revise, because they won't usually come right out and tell you what they want, because they have no idea what they want. Only what they don't want. You may have to make several visits and many revisions of a proposal until you get it dialed all the way in to what they know they want, none of what they don't want, what you suspect they will want immediately after you deliver that they swear up and down they don't want, exactly what parts/materials will accomplish the job, and how long you think it will take (X 1.5 for margin)
     
  3. JoeJester

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    http://www.guru.com/d/freelancers/c/engineering-architecture/skill/electrical-3097-engineering-3203/

    Is an interesting site that shows the service provider, their hourly rate, and their earnings.

    http://architectures.danlockton.co....-as-a-freelance-designerengineermaker-part-1/

    http://blog.engineersimplicity.com/2006/08/you-do-what.html

    Are two blogs about their experience.

    https://www.odesk.com/o/jobs/browse/skill/circuit-design/

    That is one of the "market places" looking for services.

    Interesting viewing ...

    In the end ... "To thine own self be true."
     
  4. Brownout

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  5. Brownout

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    You get a description like "I want a blue-tooth design for industrial control" and you have to write a proposal based off this description, including budget and schedule. I can't even imagine where to start.

    A couple times, I wrote to the poster requesting a specification. I told them I don't know much about what they are trying to build, but I could deliver a design to a spec. I have enough confidence that, depending on what the electrical design is, I can deliver if the spec is complete enough. But nobody seems to want to do that.
     
  6. JoeJester

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    Brownout,

    I saw someone was offering $5.00 as their budget for some project. I felt like writing them saying I looked over your project and I won't spend $5.00 of my time on it.
     
  7. Brownout

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    It seems to me that most job posters have very unrealistic expectations. Most jobs post for $250 or less, and they want the design, program, BOM, etc. It's a little discouraging, and the article you linked said posters are looking for low cost engineering. I hoped for more of a wider area talent search, you know, a 21st century distributed workforce situation, rather than just a bunch of bottom feeders. I suspect that many are startups without any real knowledge of what it takes to develop electronic systems. The only way I can really see meeting their schedules and budgets is by delivering some OTS system with maybe some programming.
     
  8. GopherT

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    My son was doing this and it was obvious he was bidding against 3rd world/developing world engineers. He started emphasizing US location, US engineering school and Work Experience.

    Then, he made a generic proposal - open to discuss details of project and refine the pride appropriately to the refined project.

    He gets a hit about once a month and, of those, he lands about 1 in 4 projects (3 to 4 per year). Not much but it offered some variety in projects.
     
  9. Brownout

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    My pride is not negotiable ;)

    Just kidding. Good advice. I'll give it a try.
     
  10. GopherT

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    Ha! I love the iPad and my lack of quality focus.
     
  11. JoeJester

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    Well they're opinion may not be correct. I never tried that route, but the recommendation by GopherT seems to be inline as you are setting your expectations in a generic project. That could reorganize the client's thoughts towards the reality of projects, from A to Z.

    Good luck in your endeavors.
     
  12. loosewire

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    Apr 25, 2008
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    How about a think tank on the forum for creating new Idea's for new products.

    Also where jobs are ,some members would relocate for a good job.

    It is possible that there is under ground sales to members now, like curcuit boards.
     
  13. loosewire

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    Change of career , get a( C.D.L. A) driver's license,there is a big demand for driving

    teams. Some husband and wifies are driving teams ,two pay checks...see the country.
     
  14. strantor

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    My attempts have been unsuccessful. Requests for a printer that prints copper circuit traces directly onto a substrate have gone unanswered. As well as the DIY torroid winder challenge and the field weakening EV.
     
  15. sirch2

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    Jan 21, 2013
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    Ideas are cheap, getting them to market is very hard. I saw some figures many years ago from Kodac which said that for every 100 ideas they had for products, roughly 10 would go to R&D and one would get to market.

    So I guess what the forum really needs is an "implementers and marketeers" section!
     
  16. Brownout

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    Believe it or not, I've seriously considered this. I'm looking for something to do between contracts.
     
  17. loosewire

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    @sich2 ,you need a computer to write an app that will work ,one of the giants

    like Google or Microsoft will buy it down the road. What...don't they have an app

    for already. Who is working on an app or thinking about one. How about thoughts.
     
  18. loosewire

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    For fun ,a menu for Mars living....the government has a grant to create what to

    eat on Mars. What would you take....how does salt adapt to Mars surroundings.
     
  19. Brownout

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    Thanks a lot Joe. Lots of stuff happening the last few days. I was waiting to see how they turned out before replying. Should have some news in the next few days, although it might just be another false alarm.

    I was looking for some short projects while I wait for a long term contract, where I make my real money. Things are starting to heat up, little by little....
     
  20. JoeJester

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    I wouldn't doubt that for one minute.

    Idea's that would generate a lot of money for all involved certainly are the 1 in 100. Those are the ones that get noticed.

    As far as APPs go, you can make it as simple as you want, or to satisfy a perceived need, or create the "need", and sell it via the app stores. The same applies to eBooks. You could author one and put it on kindle or smashbooks, or any number of ebook sellers. If your idea "sells", you will have the metric you desired in the form of cash. The quantity of cash or the lack thereof will judge your idea. It might take 100 apps or eBooks to get that one that provides a good return on your investment.

    Marketing will be your assistant in these endeavors. This isn't a "field of dreams" where if you build it they will come. If you build it, it might not sell. If you write it, it might not sell.

    One hundred little jobs can keep you busy and have some cash flow. They also can be the trumpet of your successes or the scourge of your failures.

    Keep plugging away and keep having fun.
     
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