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How I Decline An Upwork Proposal Invite & Maintain Relationship

Getting project invite is quite common on Upwork but that does not mean you can work on all of them. When you are declining an invite this is how the invitation decline screen looks in Upwork.

Often people select a checkbox that best suits the reason for declining the project and click the decline button.

“Message to Client” is not a required field but I think if you got an invite, clients have done a search to find you and has selected you among other developers. So they deserve a line or two about why you are declining the request.

I always do that and it has really worked well in my favor as well.

So let me share with you what I write to clients when I am declining their invite and how it works for me.

Often reasons are:

  1. Too busy on other projects.
  2. Job is not fit for my skills.
  3. Proposed rate or budget too low.

So I have a template for them.

1. Lack of My Availability

If I am not able to meet a deadline or if I am not able to start as early as the client wants me to then the reason for a decline is:

Thanks for an invite to your XYZ requirement here at Upwork and I am really honored but it seems difficult for me to be able to REASON

Where REASON can be either one of the following

  1. Meet your deadline of … (weeks/month)
  2. Start before … (date like 15th of Jan 2017)

See also:

2. Lack of My Expertise

There are certain invites where requirement does not completely suit my expertise and the decline reason is

Thanks for an invite to your XYZ requirement here at Upwork but I am not an expert at XYZ and only know about it. My expertise is in YOUR EXPERTISE. Let me know if you need anything in my expertise domain.

If a client has multiple technology requirements and if I do not work in each of them, I do not reject it but let the client know in proposal what I can work on and what they may need to find other experts for.

3. Client Low on Budget

If client budget is low budget than what I am comfortable working my reject template is

Thanks for an invite to your XYZ requirement here at Upwork but at my hourly rate of $XX it will really tough for me to be able to get things done within your budget.

See also:

3b. Budget and Requirement Mismatch

I follow a template when writing Upwork proposals but price is a required field in a proposal and it is prefilled with client’s budget.

It wasn’t the case in Elance and I could send a proposal in Elance without a price to clarify further requirements and add price at a later stage.

Often client selects a fixed price jobs and if requirements are not very clear, it becomes tough to apply. In my “message to client”, I make it clear that it isn’t the budget that is an issue but I am not able to understand what is required and so cannot put a price upfront.

It happens to me often and here is a recent incident where I had an invite from a client where I could not understand what client needed and was a fixed price job.

Explained things in the decline reason and this is how client responded to my response.

Since then has already completed his first job where he has shared an awesome review and has started working on his next set of requirements.

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