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When things fall through the cracks

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Has anyone ever had bad experiences from buyers contacting you for custom work? Or maybe it didn’t work out? What are your stories?

(Sorry for the wall of text)

One of my disappointing Fiverr Stories:

I was contacted through a personal message by a user who really liked my art. She was interested in getting illustrations done for a project. It was a set of oracle cards, around 54 images total. I was very excited when I got this message. I absolutely adore oracle and tarot cards, even though I’m not a great reader. I also love trading cards and card games. This sort of thing is right up my alley!

I know I’m not the most fantastic 2D artist out there, but I wanted to help her in what ways I can. I messaged her back and asked her if she had a budget in mind so I don’t over charge her. She replied asking me to set a ballpark figure for the project. She wanted me to be comfortable with the pricing.

To be fair, we’re on Fiverr and most projects cost $5 per piece. I don’t want to overcharge her, even though she asked me for a base price. I sat for hours thinking of a fair price and finally came up with $10-12 per image. That’s pretty much a base gig with copyrights. I could charge more, but I was worried I’d scare her away.

I also let her know I was willing to go all out for her cards. No minuscule paintings for her. I was preparing to order some Arches hotpress watercolor paper for scanning and reproduction. It’s a little costly, but it’s worth it for illustration. Plus, I didn’t care. I was going to be illustrating for a subject I loved.

She never messaged me back after that. Maybe I didn’t care enough? Was the price too high for her? Only $2 dollars an hour? I’ll never know because it fell through so quickly.

Once again, sorry for the wall of text.

TLDR: Some buyers will lead you on and dump you. Some of them think $2+ per hour is too expensive. Some of them just don’t communicate and tell you they’re not actually interested.

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I have had some potential buyers in the past who wanted a quote for a lot of work and didn’t get back to me, even after I followed it up. I think some buyers believe that if they order a lot, they automatically get a discount - I do that, but only for an existing buyer (because no way am I going to give someone 8-10% discount if they don’t like my work or leave an inaccurate review).

I also sometimes offer to proofread a portion of their work for free (say 300 words) if I’m not too busy - I suspect designing the cards you had in mind would take too long to do one for free, but you could always do a simple sketch and explain that the detail will be finer and colours added etc.

Sometimes if I have a feeling the buyer is on a budget or doesn’t want to spend a lot I say “it will cost this…this will include X, Y and Z” - that’s 100% always worked for me in the past as they can clearly see where I’m getting my cost price from.

I wouldn’t worry about it though - there are some (or maybe a lot more) buyers who message a few sellers to see who offers the best price/service. They might have found someone cheaper, but if you want to show your quality of work you should keep at your current rate, although when you’re new you might have to work for little pay per hour to start with so you build your rapport with clients.

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