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Bid for a freelance project without scaring away clients

Bid for a freelance project without scaring away clients Exclusive

August 23, 2012 | By Staff

When you're a freelancer in any game development field, the first thing a new client often asks is "How much do you charge?" Here audio designer Harry Mack (Spiral Knights, Braid) explains how to approach that difficult question.

It's difficult because the answer is almost always "it depends" -- it depends on the project, the size, amount of assets, how fast the client needs them, what platform it's for. And even after you hammer out all the details, clients will want a bid to compare with other freelancers.

"I've found the most successful tactic is to present a bid with a best-case and worst-case scenario," says Mack. "They'll likely have a number in their head before contacting you, so if you overbid you'll lose before even starting, and if you underbid, and underbid consistently, well, that's a hard life to lead."

If you're submitting your bid for an audio contract, make sure assets are clearly defined in terms of per sound effect and per minute of music. You'll want to have price ranges so clients know you're quoting a ballpark figure, implying that there's some room to go down if they have a lower budget in mind.

Mack adds, "In the end, everyone wants a game to ship with great sounds and music, but if they're looking for the cheapest possible, nowadays there's plenty of students who will do it for free just for the credit. Don't get discouraged if you don't hear back -- sometimes the process takes some time. Check back in one or two weeks and politely ask if they received your bid."

Gamasutra's latest feature offers more valuable advice on how to build to build a freelance career in the audio field and other game development professions.

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