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Fiverr and Retainers. Here's How It Could Work On Fiverr (NB: Involves Work)


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Retainers. Now, Fiverr is not obviously geared up towards this with its 30-day gig limitations, but as so many retainers work on a monthly cycle, that doesn’t mean retainers are bad. It’s just that so much of the rest of the system make them a Bad Idea (other people, as usual, are the problem; I’ll get to that later).

Fiverr’s value offering works well with retainers. Outsourcers visit and use the site a lot: wouldn’t it be nice and convenient to pay a one-off monthly fee to have xyz of stuff every month? Instead of, you know, having to order a new gig. Passe. This is another improvement—instead of just a re-order button, have it on a rolling subscription that can be cancelled at any time. It could start at $5 for, uh, nothing pretty much and go up to whatever the current limit is. However, I’m thinking smallish packages of, say $300 to do a max of x hours work with y deliverables per 30-day period that can be configured by both parties in an initial discussion (and also changed later as needed).

Now, ideally, this would involve an overhaul, perhaps even a new category of gig works… a meta-category, I guess: “do you want a one-off job or to establish a long-term relationship?” Obviously, a smart buyer would test potential workers with small gigs, and then, if they had regular needs, find a good fit and keep them on retainer (your industry doesn’t matter: you need content, images, a webmaster, a VA… pretty much anything can work on retainer. Maybe not sitting in a bath of baked beans, but that’s the quirky cheap Fiverr)

Fiverr also gets some sexy new metrics to show off about how blah% of its workforce is engaged in successful long-term relationships; how this website has grown and developed, building futures across the planet by fostering mutual relationships with long-term benefits for both parties. Sorry, they’d just pick a new super seller who purchased a Samsung Note 7 with their profits. Oops, not the Note 7.

Now, I would also propose that Fiverr also bring up additional materials: an NDA form for both parties to sign. I’m not sure how legally enforceable that would be, but we all know this creates issues because out “outside contact” laws. So Fiverr, hire your lawyer to work it out and do one. Give people the tools they want, because if you don’t, they go elsewhere. Especially with sneak % increases buyer-side with no attempt to justify them.

Secondly, with a retainer, you’d need to also have terms of retainership. So allow those who opt to offer retainers to have a contract (details to be hashed out in a preliminary consultation—I can see a template with ‘fill the boxes’ working in 99% of cases here). This documentation can then be used should a buyer claim that you haven’t done whatever the contract says and you have (e.g. you haven’t met the word count, or hours of VAing. I’m sure there would be other issues that would crop up, but this is just me brainstorming at the moment)

I would like to start of some retainer gigs, which is why I have made this post after a couple of hours of contemplation: I believe it would increase my income—and give Fiverr a nice bit of extra 20% goodies without having to resort to overt revenue price gouging. But you know why I won’t, Fiverr? Because I don’t have much faith in receiving help should there be an issue, I do with regular gigs, but I am also very aware that if something goes wrong, the ax falls on my head… especially if it’s something not covered in TOS that I can’t use. So one bad review that you may remove or—joy—mutual cancellation that we all know affects us anyway. Superb.

Also—retainers should be limited to either TRS only or at least from LVL 2. Don’t want the nightmare of “I hired a spammer on retainer on Fiverr—and so have thousands more. Also, I couldn’t get a refund due to antediluvian credit policies AND they deleted my review and account when I found one weird trick to get my money back”.

Please. Sort it out, stop mucking about with silly social media frills and help us to make you more money. It’s really quite simple. Put that money to good work. Just like any taxpayer, we want to see our 20% put to good use. Listening to us and communicating with us and working with us is the deadliest, most efficient way to do this. So, why not?

EDIT: you could also incentivize this with lowered fees (see a competitor for ideas. As a bonus, competitor also did this move in a terribly shabby way against the wishes of just about everyone in their userbase. So much opportunity. As I suggested a long time ago on the forum, the genius boffins at Fiverr PR HQ keep missing shark attacks on their competitors. The market is getting smaller and monopoly is coming closer to the first company that can get it right–or do it smarter. Instead, it’s playing dueling banjos with people on Facebook who don’t know how to locate CS or have broken TOS. It’s a shame.

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I also have opinions on how Fiverr can do a PR dash that will help to offset the negative effects of increasing the barriers to entry into this marketplace (or, dealing with the scam problem). It will cost a tiny bit of money though. But it’s all very nice, conventional glossy magazine stuff.

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RE : Now, ideally, this would involve an overhaul

‘Overhaul’ just makes it sound too laborious. They already have that ‘custom offer’ function, they could simply add the monthly subscription option to it. Paypal already offers the API to use their monthly subscription feature to companies like Fiverr who are using Paypal as their payment gateway. All one needs to do is use it (surprise, surprise mothe…I mean, ladies and gentlemen).

If I was able to use it to create custom payment solutions for Wordpress ecommerce stores, Fiverr certainly has the manpower to get this done. It’s not more than a weekend worth of coding work. Even I want to offer monthly-billed services on Fiverr like web hosting services and monthly access to the apps that I have created and selling advertising space on the freemium apps that I own. It will open up a whole new market of SAAS sellers if Fiverr adds a monthly billing system. Maybe then, even I can live like a Maharaja and get a bronze certifi…umm…never mind.

Great ideas, Emily

Also, I am sensing, and I may be wrong, that experienced sellers are increasingly getting frustrated with the core services provided by Fiverr. This is most probably because Fiverr stopped concentrating on core services and jumped on the social media clickbait bandwagon as a business strategy.

‘X lost his job in the recession, he joined Fiverr, what happened next will stun you. Please click here to read more’

‘Witness how Y is changing the world one caricature at a day, click here’

‘Love cartoons? see how one Fiverr seller turned her life around with her drawing skills…’

Yeah, yeah we get it, you hired a hip marketing grad from one of those fancy schools, who knows how to throw around jargon and has a major in social media strategy. I miss the old days (I’m talking 2012) when Fiverr used to say ‘Umm…guys, we added a new feature, fell free to check it out and let us know’. This is what happens to a lot of good companies which allow their engineering department to be overshadowed by the marketing department. This is also what happened to Quora. It used to be about knowledge sharing, I used to be a top writer, now it has become just Yahoo Answers ver 2.0. where emo teens share dating tips.

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What a surprise, then, that Fiverr isn’t utilizing its own workforce to bring about imrpovements. Thank you for the post! I can obviously do the “shouting into the wind” post, but it’s nice to have another expert pitch in with just how bloody simple some of these fixes are. Fiverr. You need to pay attention. Coattail-riders are rightfully derided, especially when it’s at the expense of others. Maybe it’s nepotism, maybe it’s laziness. But you have a good core community here who is raging about the various issues. FIX THOSE.

And some v. good points re: Quora and other companies who scaled up too fast and are playing catchup while pennypinching. I used to enjoy it (Quora), but… it’s gone downhill a bit now. My eyes narrow at every other vanity post (usually a question about physical looks dragging someone who is young and fit with no story other than some psychobabble and of course, the old ‘join my insta page to see more acres of my skin and this cool new product!’ STOP. I go there to read the tru-life psychopaths being nice and “I’m a psychopath, but I’m harmless because I don’t do psycho stuff even though I’ll post weird psycho stuff”. At least that’s somewhat interesting.)

PS, Emma, not Emily 🙂 But thank you for your post, it was very informative! Alas, for who will read this and take action on it?

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Okay, edited the Emily part (and also the whole paragraph about Paypal disputes, pasting it below.)

RE : an agreement form for both parties to sign.

It is legally enforceable even now. Since Fiverr uses Paypal as a payment gateway, I can tell you the experiences I had with Paypal. They honor digitally signed contracts and as a seller of services who has no shipping/tracking ID to provide as proof of delivery, you can use this contract as evidence and even win disputes. It allows you to create a de facto escrow system. It will allow Fiverr to trim their own losses by stopping fraudulent buyers from initiating refunds after services have been delivered. As long as Fiverr is able to provide proof that the buyer and seller agreed/communicated to buy-sell a thingamabob and the seller delivers that thingamabob, the buyer cannot claim a refund from his credit card company/Paypal on the grounds that his “credit card was stolen/Paypal was hacked/ I didn’t order this thingamabob”. If only Fiverr follows through, it will start winning Paypal disputes and the trust of the seller community as well.

For generic Paypal disputes, if it is a service or software download, you have greater chances of winning if you create a ‘payment in stages’ kind of arrangement and get the buyer’s acknowledgement instead of asking for an all-in-one-go lumpsum payment. Even a digital signature is not required, just an email from the buyer stating ‘I acknowledge that you delivered phase 1, you can begin working on phase 2 of the project’ is counted valid grounds for the dispute to be resolved in the seller’s favor. I use this as an escrow system for my larger projects. Also, if your contract mentions X$ as upfront deposit fee, the buyer cannot dispute it.

You will never lose a Paypal dispute if your contract/communication is in the following format :

X $ non-refundable deposit
Y $ first installment
Z $ second installment

The first X$ seals the deal because a person whose CC/Paypal is hacked doesn’t usually communicate his wish to proceed with phase 2, if in fact his premise is that the phase 1 was fraudulently billed to him. It immediately puts the buyer’s premise on murky ground.

Since technically, Fiverr is the seller here in all cases of disputes with Paypal, all they need to do is provide screenshots of the conversations the buyer had with the seller plus the seller’s landing page serves as a contractual agreement.

I’ll provide ABC service for X $, hit the order button is a contract,

“Hey, these are the gig requirements, please write me an article about fluffy cats” is an acknowledgement that the buyer ordered it consciously and provided you the requisite details to proceed.

“Hey thanks for the article about fluffy cats, I’m not in a mood to pay though” Is still an acknowledgement that the buyer had ordered the item consciously and the seller has delivered. Now, if the buyer goes to Paypal and claims that they need a refund because their CC/Paypal was stolen, it’s not going to work. It’s the same with monthly payments because a buyer cannot simply claim one day that they didn’t order something for which they have been paying for months, just like they cannot simply walk into Mordor. It only works because Fiverr does not follow up.

Here are some links you may find interesting :

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Dealing With Clients Who Refuse To Pay

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How to Make Sure You Always Get Paid as a Freelancer

Wondering how freelancers get paid? Here's how to make sure you get paid for every project and contract.


Paypal sellers - You can win more Paypal disputes than you think

OK, I'm not going to dig up old laundry here, but suffice to say that I did some work for ...

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Dear Emmmma (Fiverr and Retainers too),

after pulling myself together and reading your post past the frightening ‘Involves Work’-worst-case-scenario, I have to say it doesn´t sound unsensible to me. agrees with most of it and up-thumbs

Also, Paypal can be very problematic, but as countless tales on sites like BBB and such tell, that´s just the same for Skrill or any other company that internet people have knowledge of it seems, so probably it’s mostly a choice between the lesser evils for such things.

up-thumbs other comment too for interesting info

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