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Fiverr Etiquette Question


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Hi all! I’m new to this community, and I wanted to find out what the etiquette is when contacting one another. I contacted a seller, laid out my request, and asked if it was doable or if I needed to adjust my expectations for this forum. I realize these gigs are fairly inexpensive for buyers, so I wanted to ensure I wasn’t over asking something a seller couldn’t realistically deliver, or isn’t fair based on time/compensation. The seller simply responded by saying he would pass with no further explanations. This individual had a 100% rating with only one project in queue, so it struck me as odd s/he couldn’t be bothered to explain what about my project was a problem. I also felt it was rude. I told the seller it was too bad I couldn’t leave a review, that it seemed they were not a good fit for me, and then thanked them. It was not intended as a threat, but I think it’s important for buyers to know that sellers can/will arbitrarily pass on projects without explanation. This seller took it personally and sent me an email with a fair amount of caps letters saying how glad they were they passed, and they had a bad feeling about me, and not to threaten them. It seemed over the top for the situation, in my opinion, and I don’t think it would be a good idea to continue communicating with that person. But, have I missed a crucial piece of etiquette in this community that would cause an individual to 1. pass on my project, and 2. respond like that? Thank you!

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Sounds like you got a rude seller or a seller who perhaps was not the most fluent in English.

Some sellers love that you contact them first! I’m one of them. I find it very useful.
Others hate it and will generally tell you to just go ahead and order and fill out all the fields, rather than chat with them first.

I find that laying out your desires and then asking for a quote is what I find to be most polite, as a seller. I do voice work and recently have had a number of people contact me for meditation tracks. The exchange goes something like this:

Buyer: "Hi, I need a 5-6 minute visualization meditation with backing music. Can you give me a quote? Thanks."
Me: "Hi there; thanks for getting in touch! I have a few questions about your project before I can give you a quote. I’m making a numbered list to facilitate communication.

  1. Do you have a script or do I need to write one?
  2. Do you have backing music or do I need to find some for you?
  3. What does your timeline look like – when do you want the project done by?
  4. Will you be reselling this track and require a commercial use license?
  5. Is there anything else you’d like me to know about this project?"

Some sellers have this spiel all set out and ready to go at any time. Others use surveys they send you as a .doc and ask you to fill out and return. It all depends.

Overall, be polite, ask for a quote, and be prepared to hear “no thanks” a lot. You don’t even have to respond if they decline your order, just move on to the next person.

Oftentimes, buyers who have complex projects (like you, it sounds) have a number of people pass because it’s not explicitly what they offer or because big projects are hard to gauge. Plenty of sellers have accepted an order and later realized it was not worth the little money they were paid because the job was long and difficult.

Hang in there – it’s far better to find a great, communicative seller than it is to buy willy-nilly.

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You don’t tell a seller “too bad I couldn’t leave a review.” First of all, how can you leave a review for something you’ve never tried? It’s like leaving a review for a restaurant that you have never tried, or even been to.

I sometimes get alot of offers from customers who underestimate my abilities with low-ball offers. I get offended, so yes I do tell them I pass. Your message to them probably ticked them off so I honestly don’t blame them - I think the unfortunate turn point was you telling them that you wish you could leave a review, because that is very rude and not good etiquette on this site in my opinion.

They said they pass, so move on. No need to make a topic about it on this site.
Sorry for the rant but I don’t like it when I get buyers who don’t step into the sellers shoes too.

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Well, the etiquette is this.

  1. Only ask questions not answered in the gig. You don’t ask Pizza Hut if they sell Pizza, so don’t ask a logo designer if he designs logos.

  2. Don’t ask people, “are you available.” If the gig is active, they’re available. If the gig says “Notify Me,” then click that button or find someone else.

  3. Don’t ask them to do things that their gig doesn’t advertise. There are exception, a logo designer might be willing to do a book cover. However, if a writer has a gig for articles but not radio, chances are he doesn’t write radio or viceversa.

  4. If it’s a time sensitive project, order right away. Order from two sellers and see which one does the best job, and if you’re a decent guy, make sure they both get paid. Refunds should be rare, in fact, I can count with my fingers the number of times I’ve demanded refunds. The work has to be really horrible for me to do that.

  5. Sellers usually hate explaining how they work, what their gig is about, how they would deal with your project, etc. If you place an order, I’m less likely to say no because I see there’s money I can make. If you message me and your job doesn’t appeal to me, I’m very likely to say no.

  6. Read the entire gig, if they have a frequently asked questions section, read that as well. Try to use your head, try to think before you ask questions. Think of yourself at work, do you bother the boss with stupid questions? No, you don’t because then the boss gets angry and you don’t want that. While you have the right to message sellers, this should be avoided as much has possible.

  7. Don’t haggle. If you message me and I sent you an offer for $20, don’t ask me to do it for $15. If you haggle that indicates to me that you’re cheap, and I don’t like cheap buyers.

  8. Your first order should rarely be above $10. You don’t know the seller and he doesn’t know you.

  9. Don’t confuse directness with rudeness. Maybe in your culture everyone is called “dear” and the client is King. In my culture, that’s not the case. I’m not being rude because I’m not treating you like you’re the son of God.

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Your questions I think is less about etiquette and more about understanding the market place culture of Fiverr I think. Your response to the seller who passed on your project was inappropriate in this culture.

I pass on roughly 50% of project requests and I do so for any multitude of reasons, and most of my passes are quick, to-the-point, two sentence pre-written generic messages, and not something individually crafted to you and your project.

If I pass it’s probably for one of the following reasons:

  • I have stuff I need to do that isn’t Fiverr so i don’t have time
  • I may only have one order in the queue but the work I do takes on average 10 hours per order so one order is actually a big commitment
  • The buyer requirements are not clear and it seems as if making the requirements clear won’t be easy (phrasing of the request etc. might indicate this)
  • The buyer requirements aren’t clear and getting the requirements clear will take longer than doing the gig and I can’t charge for that time
  • the project is complex and I won’t be able to do it for a price that is reasonable
  • the project is complex and I just don’t feel like doing something that complex at the moment for whatever reason
  • the buyer keeps adding requirements during a conversation (they’re not clear what they want)
  • the buyer haggles too much on price, especially for small gigs
  • the buyer is rude
  • I have ethical problems with the project. There aren’t many of these, but doing someone’s school or college homework is one.

I get that some of these are arbitrary but I don’t care.

I don’t want to, and don’t have to, explain which of these is the reason I am passing on your project. I get paid way less than most countries minimum wage and I’m okay with that for the luxury of being able to pick and choose when I work and what I work on. I don’t want to spend time explaining why I’m passing on your project, and I don’t want to get into a conversation about it. You shouldn’t be offended by this. In most cases I would probably love to work with a buyer on different projects and/or on different days. My short response is a time-saver for both of us, nothing else.

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Another question is, why do we have to explain why we don’t want to work for you? Unless the seller literally said “I pass this project”, there’s nothing wrong. And even if they literally said that, the only thing you can complain is they were a bit rude. If they said something along the line “sorry I can’t work on your project at the moment.” you have no right to complaint.

As for the follow up message they sent, you brought that on yourself. I kind of think that seller actually successfully dodged a bullet.

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I think one of the frustrations for buyers is that they are taking on the role of a project manager or contractor. They have to go and find talent that will be the right fit for their project. And sometimes this might be several people (voice over, graphics, script writing) You can save alot of money piecing out the work, but it is frustrating and takes time to comb through the offers and figure out who is a good match. It is much easier to post your job requirement and request bids on a bid platform. Then look through the project bids and pick one that works for you. The bidding process is expensive for the providers and the cost of the projects will reflect that. I think removing the bid process is the number 1 reason that Fiverr is cheaper. I don’t have to build quotes and bid on your project. I just show you what I can do and you place an order. It literally makes a $300 job with bidding cost $35.00 without bidding. It also removes alot the consultations, meetings, discussions and collaborations. That is why I’m a little concerned about buyer requests, because it adds bidding back into the equation.

I will have to give a customer all of their money back if they don’t absolutely love what I deliver. So it should be fair that I should be able to turn down any order that I am not sure that I can provide exactly what they are needing. I think that we need to be incredibly polite. The next project might be a perfect fit. I have only cancelled 168 projects in 2800 projects. A cancellation rating of .06%.

Sometimes I receive 3 pages of notes for a job that will take 15 minutes to complete. So it is clear that it will take 45 minutes to figure the notes out. And there is no guarantee that I will be able to figure it out.

I don’t want to start a project until I have a clear idea of what finished looks like.

I agree with your frustration. It is always better to be polite. I have had success because I have tried to be the friendliest provider on Fiverr. People like to work with people they like.

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