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Getting more than trash in Buyer\'s Requests -- Tips for Buyers


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Warning: Wall of Text
tl;dr = be specific, think globally, respect sellers, pay reasonably, be professional.

Ahhh, the Buyer’s Request page. The base of newbie activity and the land of opportunity on Fiverr. It promises to be so easy – post what you’re looking for and be inundated with offers from sellers from whom you may cherrypick to do your task. Even better, the offers tend to be less than the seller offers on their gig page. Perfect! Excellent responses, brilliant offers, all you have to do is choose one – any one! – and you’ll have beautiful work for your business or personal use.

WRONG. Instead, you get flooded with spammy links, unrelated gigs, absurd offers, and general trash… or, you don’t get much of anything. What went wrong? What happened the the land of opportunity?

As a seller, I spend the majority of my Fiverr checking on BR because it has been fruitful for me. However, there are so many poor options when it comes to the requests. Here are some examples of what I see and why they’re wrong, and how to fix them. (Note: these are writing related because they stem from my personal experience and this is the niche I work in).

For the sake of staying on topic, I’ll ignore sellers who wrongfully post in BR, soliciting for gigs. We all know it’s wrong and annoying, so what more needs to be said?

  1. Vague Posts
    Ex: I need a writing done by (time or date) and it has to be completed by a native English speaker. Don’t bid if you aren’t native. Topic will be given once candidate is selected.

Why it’s wrong: This gives experienced writers nothing to work with. I love writing and I write well, but I am not going to accept a job on writing when I don’t know the topic, length, or rate. Maybe the buyer wants an article of the fall of Rome, or the moon landing, or Brexit, or quantum physics – I don’t know! And because I don’t know, I’m not going to waste my time and one of my 10 offers a day, chasing it.

Also, in regards to timestamps on ads, please keep in mind that sellers generally can’t see the date the ad was posted (unless they’re on the app). We certainly can’t see the time. Fiverr is a global marketplace – do you mean 3pm your time? My time? Who knows? I don’t love time-sensitive projects and I’ll avoid you if I can’t figure out what you mean.

Make it better: Give an estimated word count (or gig-relevant measure of length), date-time-timezone detail if it’s time sensitive, and the topic or idea. Sellers find it frustrating to work with buyers who don’t know what they want and will avoid you if we think our time will be spent chatting instead of working.

  1. Lowballers
    Ex: I need a 5000 word essay on why Pluto should be a planet again. My budget is $10. Do not contact me if you cannot do this within budget. Must be a native English speaker. Must have PhD is astronomy.

Why it’s wrong: Fiverr sellers are people who deserve to be treated with respect. Part of treating them with respect is paying them fairly for work. Requesting a lot of work for little money will not attract sellers who will knock your project out of the park and if you get someone to bite, you will likely not be happy with the outcome or they will hate themselves for overworking themselves for $8 (the seller’s cut).

Additionally, specifying someone have a PhD or something for a non-niche subject is a bit ridiculous. You want to hire a PhD to do your writing, go elsewhere and pay hundreds of dollars. But you’re on Fiverr and you want the best deal… You have to find the balance between quality and price and if you’re lowballing, you’re not going to get quality. Also: how do you plan on validating someone’s education credentials? Do they really need a PhD to find your grammar errors, or are you being an elitist?

Lastly, “price firm” types make a buyer seem unreasonable; add it to a lowballing move and suddenly, I have no desire to work with you. Being inflexible about price suggests you’re inflexible over all… and my seller’s mind, that means you’re a pain in the butt.

How to fix it: Offer reasonable pay for reasonable work! Your sellers will be happier and provide you with better work if you don’t try to take advantage of them.

  1. Runoff Posts
    Ex: I’m looking for content for my website and want to hire 5-10 writers to work on a monthly basis. The business is for (something something) and I want articles on (something something) so if you cou—

Annnnd you ran out of room.

Why it’s wrong: You didn’t check to see if your request fit the character limit; maybe you just copy-pasted it from somewhere else, I don’t know. Still, looks unprofessional and suggests that there’s more information that I’m not getting. Now your post is vague and I have to weight the options – are you worth submitting a bid? Do I want to work with someone who can’t check a character count?

How to fix it: Look. Check before hitting submit.

  1. Circumventing Posts
    Ex: We’re a company looking to hire people! Check out our website (www.blahblahcircumventingfiverrstos.com) for more details.

Why it’s wrong: You’re actively trying to get business away from Fiverr, which is against Terms of Service and can result in an account ban. There’s no way I’m touching that with a ten foot stick. Plus, posting websites can be fishy – especially in vague posts. I don’t want to visit your site and get a virus or what have you.

How to fix it: Work within the ToS. They aren’t unreasonable at all. If you’re looking to hire freelancers for your freelancing website, don’t steal from Fiverr – go elsewhere.

  1. See-attached Posts
    Ex: See attached document.

Why it’s wrong: I don’t know what you want at all. You’ve probably made the smart choice to include a document that best explains your work and I appreciate that. Now if you can only add a title to your ad, like “Writer needed for long-term project; see attached document” then I know it’s relevant to me. Usually I’ll click these on a laptop, but if I’m on mobile then I don’t really have the capabilities on my phone to download and read through your document to see if it’s even relevant to me.

How to fix it: Just add a few words so your post isn’t vague. Otherwise, good job on using the document to better explain yourself!

  1. Send your Sample Posts
    Ex: Want a writer for (blah), about 2k words. Want commercial rights. Send your samples in your bid.

Why it’s wrong: Sellers can’t upload files to a bid (or if they can, I don’t know how). Often we have examples in our gigs specifically for this reason. If you want us to send you anything, you have to message us privately.

Asking to see previous work is not unreasonable, especially if it’s a large project. However, asking a seller to provide you with a free sample made just for you is rude. That’s like applying to a job and then being told that you’ll need to pay $50 just to go to the interview. Not good business practices. If the project is so special that you need to thoroughly sift through people then set aside 25-50 dollars and ask your best responses to do a sample writing for $5 or $10. You’ll get better work and sellers will respect you for respecting their time and efforts. Asking for freework is akin to lowballing. Saying “if you’re chosen, we’ll pay for your sample, too” is also rude, because most people won’t be chosen.

How to fix it: Make your post about finding a seller by a small project and create a working relationship with them. Have your seller do a few small tasks first to ensure they’re up for your job (and pay them for each, to build rapport). Then ask them if they’d like the big project and negotiate with them personally. This way, if your seller isn’t up to par, you know that before you sink $200 into the project and have to cancel. It’s a better situation all around.

There’s my wall of text for buyers. I hope it’s useful to those of you who aren’t getting enough responses or are not getting enough quality responses;. Unfortunately, it’s doubtful we’ll stop all the spammy things you get, but hopefully following the above will provide you a few diamonds hidden among the rough.

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  1. Be specific in what you want.
  2. Don’t be an a*****e; pay people appropriately.
  3. Ensure your words don’t overrun the character length.
  4. Work within the TOS; don’t ask to go offsite.
  5. Give info within “see attached” posts regarding topic (see #1).
  6. Sellers can’t upload samples in response to BR; don’t ask.

This post is long because it is intended to describe /why/ something is wrong and how to fix it. I find people respond better when they understand.

I also recognize that this is an abnormally long post, which is why there is both a warning and a tl;dr at the beginning.

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