Edit: Before you read this, I wanted to point out some recent issues in buyer requests. At least in the writing section, there have been a lot more spam offers in the last few weeks. So, here’s some buyer requests you should avoid:
Vague Requests : If the buyer request lacks a prompt, word count, clear sense of direction, etc, do not send an offer. More likely than not, the buyer will struggle to provide clarity during the actual order, or they are trying to trick you into doing an order you would not typically do for the timeframe/price.
Bulk Requests : At least in the writing section, there have been a lot of bulk-sized requests lately. Essentially, they will have a budget of $100, so you think it’s a good request to respond to at first. But when you look at the description, they expect you to do something like twenty 1,500-word articles in a month. Along with actually being pretty cheap, you risk having a nightmare order if the buyer lacks communication and you have a long-term project on your hands.
Even if the request is fairly priced, I would personally avoid long-term orders through buyer requests, just because they may scam you out of hours’ worth of work if you’re not careful.
Along with these two issues that have been popping up more lately, avoid the basic signs of scams: overly cheap requests, asking for free samples, asking to inbox instead of sending an offer, requesting work that violates the TOS (especially academic/unethical work), etc.
If you have noticed some other common scams in buyer requests (especially if you’re in a category outside of writing/editing), feel free to mention them in the comments.
I have noticed that a lot of people have been asking for tips with buyer requests lately. Because I am honestly a bit lazy and don’t want to answer each question, I figured making one in-depth post would do the trick.
Why you should use buyer requests:
I know that a lot of people have warned about buyer requests, and I understand their reasoning with so many scammers, but I have personally found it to be a very useful tool. The majority of my orders have come from buyer requests, and all of them have been excellent experiences. Especially if you’re just starting off, or if you hit a plateau with orders/impressions, buyer requests can give you the momentum you need.
The actual tips:
First of all, always ensure that you are able to do what the buyer is asking. It may seem frustrating to ignore all of the unreasonable/irrelevant requests. However, if you receive an order from the buyer who made the request, you can guarantee that either your work will be low-quality or you will deal with a scammer/frustrating buyer.
Secondly, when you submit an offer, take an extra moment to read through the offer again. In your offer, clearly write that you can deliver that specific service, and ask for clarification if needed. This will help the buyer see that you have read their request, and requesting clarification will protect you from any buyers trying to trick you into giving them an unrealistic service.
Finally, always take an extra moment to read through your offer for grammar and clarity. It is always better to have the highest-quality offer than the first offer sent. On this note, avoid making copy-paste offers. Each buyer is different, and you need to customize your offer based on their needs.
Hopefully this helps! The main point I have here is to take an extra moment, so you can set expectations up front for both yourself and the buyer. Even if you are not the first offer sent, high-quality buyers will be searching for high-quality sellers rather than the fastest responder.