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How to Have a Great Buying Experience


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I’ve had mixed results in using Fiverr to find illustrators and graphic designers. Over a year ago, I was using Fiverr to find somebody to make a banner photo for my YouTube channel. I didn’t have the time to sort through what felt like millions of different sellers, so I posted a request. Offers flooded in, but the offers I was getting were for work that I didn’t request. A lot of the offers were asking for much more money than I had specified in my budget, and of all offers that were sent probably three quarters of them were written in broken English. I got so frustrated sorting through the dozens of requests that I received from sellers who either hadn’t even bothered to read the work I posted, or who were expecting me to pay 10 times what I had said was within my budget, that I gave up and made my own banner photo.

But that was also one of my earliest buying experiences on Fiverr. Now that I’ve been around the Fiverr buyer block a few times, I’ve learned what to expect and accepted that I’m going to have to interview multiple sellers. So what I did this time was I posted a $5 request for the Photoshop work I wanted done and specified that it was an interview: if you can do this work, there’s more to follow.

Predictably, I got flooded with offers from people who clearly hadn’t even read my request; offers for literally more than 10 times what I had specified in my budget; and offers from people who may as well have been mashing random letters on the keyboard.

After a few dozen offers came in, I narrowed my selection down to a handful of likely candidates. From there, I placed a $5 test gig with a couple sellers to see what they could do, but one of the candidates immediately jumped to the front: @vickydavid . Why? Because when he responded to my buyer request, he told me that he’d already done the work and could send me a watermarked image to review. Wow. I was really impressed. After waiting for the other candidates to respond with the paid sample gigs I ordered, I was ready to make my choice, but in the end I picked @vickydavid - not just because he sent me a proof to demonstrate his ability to complete the job, but when I expressed concerns about how he would handle other images with different color palettes, he did another proof - free of charge. On top of that, he communicated quickly and never left me waiting.

Based on all those factors, I accepted his quote for the entire job. He marked the order as taking 3 days to complete, but he delivered in less than 24 hours. There were three minor modifications I wanted to make (which is to be expected in any graphic design project), but otherwise he did the job exactly as I requested. I was absolutely delighted, and he’s won a customer for life.

For me, this buying experience was a pleasure. I had to do some work at the start to narrow down the best candidates for the job, and I spent a little bit of money to interview the final candidates, but @vickydavid made this a breeze. I know it’s not possible for every graphic designer to do free work to win a client, but in this situation the work as small enough that he could do that. The fast, friendly communication and speedy delivery has been the best buying experience I’ve had on Fiverr.

So, if you’re a buyer who wants to find a seller for life, this is what it takes to make sure your seller gets it done right the first time:

  1. Post a clear buyer request which specifically outlines what you want done.
  2. After a few dozen offers are made, pause your request and find the best sellers.
  3. Accept that you must spend $5 per seller on test-gigs to find the best one.
  4. Quickly reply to the seller’s questions if he or she needs more information to do the job.
  5. Be patient and accept that good work takes time to deliver.

If you’re a new buyer on Fiverr, then this can feel slow and frustrating - after all, isn’t Fiverr supposed to be fast and easy? - but if you want the work done right the first time and you don’t want to waste your time and money on sellers who can’t or won’t do the job as requested, you’ve got to do this. Spending $5 on test-gigs to interview sellers is part of the process, and you need to budget $10 to $15 to get a good look at your final 2 or 3 candidates. And of course, don’t forget that your seller is a living, breathing person who probably pays his or her bills and feeds his or her family with the money he or she earns on Fiverr - you’ll be amazed what a seller will do for you if you’re both patient and polite.

And if you’re a seller and you want to win a customer for life, this is what it takes to ensure a happy buyer:

  1. Listen to what the buyer is saying.
  2. Have your portfolio of work ready for review.
  3. Don’t push to get the full job right away: be ready to do a $5 test-gig interview.
  4. Be a fast and friendly communicator.
  5. Deliver on time.

I know that this is silly - aren’t these things obvious? - but I’m telling you that based on my experiences as a buyer, this isn’t so. It’s true that there are buyers who treat sellers like crap and bully them for free work, but there are also sellers who treat buyers like crap and bully them to accept bad work. Here’s to a great seller, @vickydavid - you made my life easier today.

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I’m not quite sure if this was a subtle pun or not.

But either way. Here where I live it doesn’t FUNCTION properly for days. Old requests are recycled all the time. Sometimes there’s over 1300 requests in the next instant the number drops to about 60.

This sucks. Especially for pitiful new users like me.

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What I mean is that you can’t just post a request for sellers to do your work and just click “buy.” If you’ve got a project that’s anything more complicated than “What’s 2 + 2?,” you’re going to have to make a list of your top 2-4 sellers and then further evaluate them based on their completion of a $5 test gig. Anyway, this advice was written primarily for buyers - not sellers.

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I’ve been saying this for ages!
If you are looking for a reasonably sized, subjective result type gig (writing, graphics etc) then you need to budget for a couple of sample gigs.
The idea that you can get exactly what you ask for in “Just one click” is very misleading, Fiverr needs to dump that slogan.

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It is very interesting to read things written from a buyer’s perspective, even if it´s adressed to buyers and you´re a seller (or both).

“.Why? Because when he responded to my buyer request, he told me that he’d already done the work and could send me a watermarked image to review. Wow. I was really impressed.”

I had actually considered doing that with the text of a translation request that had been posted in the buyers’ requests section, but I didn´t, because I felt that it might come off as pushy, and that the buyer might feel obligated to give me the gig.

You have a lot of valid and helpful points there, I´d like to add to your 1st point that it´s really very important to be precise, if you want your expectations to be met. Or to even get applications from sellers to do your job in the first place, some won´t reply, if they have no idea at all of what you want.

Please be as precise as possible, when you post a request. Don´t post things you only want the person to know you´ll give the gig to, obviously, but…
I saw a few requests I might have wanted to make an offer for, but I couldn´t, because it wasn´t clear at all what the buyer expected. An example: “Translate my website <link>”.
You look at the website, thinking 'Okay, the budget isn´t really even worth looking through that website, but if it´s just a handful of pages, or it´s a really interesting site, or a charity thing or something, I´ll do it, because I´m new and all"…
Well, turns out the website doesn´t only have a handful of pages, but a lot, with subpages, and a blog (A blog! Am I supposed to translate all the blog posts as well, included in the 5$ gig?), and some complicated TOS, obviously.
The thing is, knowing how some people are, you just can´t know. And you´re afraid to click ‘Send’ on the offer form you have to fill out to react to the request, because some people really do expect that you work for barely more than nothing.

The tips for communication, for both sides, are right on too. If you´re a buyer, yes, sure, you´re the one who pays for a service, but friendly, or at least polite communication is not a one-way road and shouldn´t be optional, and surely will inspire your seller to go the extra mile even faster (we´ll assume the quality of their work isn´t influenced by this factor at all) too, but should be worth it already just because. Friendly work atmosphere isn´t just a thing for offline. Talking on the internet and via text doesn´t mean you´re talking to a machine.

And yes…all those things should be obvious, but I guess…sometimes you miss the forest for the trees, or just need a fresh perspective. Me, I´m certainly inspired by posts like these to work on what concerns me, so thank you for this helpful post.

I know there are lots of awesome buyers and sellers out there, and I´m sure there´s room for improvement for some. A good night to everyone in this thread, or a good day. 🙂

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I’ve found a great illustrator on fiver, but he’s late with my order. He’s very polite and competent, keeps saying that he’s doing his best, but he had a month to complete 24 illustrations, and he’s almost a week late now. Is there anything I can do about it? Thanks!

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After two highly frustrating buying experiences that have netted worthless and unusable results, I came to this forum to try to find guidance and found your post both helpful and entertaining (mashing random keyboard letters indeed!). Sadly, I did several of the things you noted, posted a Buyer Request with very specific parameters, narrowed down designers based on semi-literate responses and even provided examples, yet what I received showed that the two sellers had neither read the request nor had a basic command of English or graphic design terminology (one of them had to look up the word period, the simplest punctuation mark). Btw, both of these sellers misrepresented themselves as residing in the US which time stamps of nine-hour differences proved differently. Do you have any advice as to how to weed out these sellers prior to investing in numerous test gigs? The work I’m requesting is for a nonprofit and I can’t afford a blanket approach. Thanks in advance!

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Regarding the self-reported nationality of sellers, it’s best to just ignore it. There are terrible sellers from all over the world who’ll say they’re from the US just because they think it’ll work in their favor, and then, there are plenty of bad sellers who actually are from the US and it’s still not doing them any favors.

Flags =/= expertise.

Each seller has to be evaluated on an individual basis, and if you don’t want to spend $5 on a test-gig as a second-stage interview, then you can try having an extended conversation with them via Fiverr inbox. If they’re not as literate as they let on, then that’ll come through in their communications with you.

Or, you can write a very short questionnaire - unrelated to your requested work - asking them to talk about almost anything. If you’re looking for a sample of their writing style and to see that they understand what you’re saying, that’s a good way to go. It has to be short enough that it’s not a major burden, but just long enough that the sincere, genuine sellers will be motivated to complete it.

Plus, if you hire a seller who does great on the questionnaire and delivers crap work, then you have grounds to open a ticket with customer support. Show the quality of the seller’s survey compared to the finished work and you can make the argument that the seller cheated you - customer support might refund your order.

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Thanks ever so much for your thoughtful response! I apologize for the delay in responding, I erroneously believed I would receive a notification if/when you replied. In any case, I will try your multi-pronged approach to see if my experience in this marketplace improves. Again, thank you for taking the time.

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Looking at a seller´s profile and gigs might tip you off about a few things.
As an example, I´m a translator, bilingual German and English. I speak a handful of other languages well enough to communicate, read books etc., but I just offer German and English, cause that´s what I´m really good with.
But I regularly see gigs of people who offer things like ‘I translate all languages in 24 hours’. And all that for a good price and a shipload of words included to boot. (And, astonishingly, those people often do have lots of reviews, seem to make sales.) This might be an extreme example, but, well, you get what I´m saying. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn´t true.

Regarding investing in test gigs, it depends on the kind of service you want to buy of course, in how far that´s even possible, but if a seller would ask me for a short test gig in a nice way, and seem serious and a nice kind of person, I’d just do it, for free, so it would just cost the both of us a bit of time to find out ‘if we have a future’ 😉

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Good post. I too have had a mixed experience. A couple have been good, others I have lost money, time, wasted energy and deadlines have been missed impacting on the rest of my work.

Trialling sellers on a small gig is a good idea.

Feeling frustrated and despondent with Fiverr. I have asked for refund on 3 failed jobs, I received zero response from Fiverr.

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Hahahaha, yeah - all those buyers who really think that a seller has the knowledge to do all that translation work are as dumb as the day is long. You know, of course, that they’re just copy/pasting from Google Translate - which can’t even correctly translate Esperanto, a language that’s totally regular and absolutely consistent.

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