I wasn’t really sure what to write this week, but the topic dropped into my lap this morning.

A freelancer contacted me (no, I didn’t respond to an RFP) asking what I could do to help her improve her proposals. Well, that was vague, so I asked for more information, such as what services, exactly, did she want? Did she want someone to edit existing content or write (or rewrite) content? They’re distinct and separate services.

She replied with even more information, explaining that her proposals to provide proposal writing services weren’t generating her anticipated response from potential clients. She admitted that her boilerplate content might need a total revamping.

OK, I replied. Are you submitting privately or through a platform? That’s important, because bidding on RFPs through a platform is 1) convenient and 2) fiercely competitive. It often boils down to whoever quotes the cheapest fee. If using a platform, what’s the maximum character or word count permitted? I asked that because it’s best to know what we have to work with; limits on response length can and do restrict detail.

Again, I received a prompt reply. This was looking promising. She attached a sample proposal and asked for my opinion. Well, I wrote back, it’s generic. I offered to rewrite her proposal boilerplate, provided she supply the necessary information and posted my fee for the project. The fee I quoted her was about 20 percent of my normal fee for writing a business proposal–a courtesy extended to a fellow freelancer.

And…you guessed it. She declined. I didn’t think my fee exorbitant in the least, considering that this project would take about a week to complete, considering all the back-and-forth we’d need to go through to ensure that it satisfied her requirements and fit within the average limitations for document length.

What she did want was for me to point out just what needed to be fixed and to tell her precisely how to fix them. In other words, she wanted free consulting service.

It’s bad enough that people hiring “content consultants” don’t value the time, effort, and skill that go into crafting their documents; but, having a fellow freelancer try to take advantage of me really stings. I’m sure she’ll manage to sucker someone else into providing her with free consultant work.

Sometimes it’s hard to take the high road.