A lot of sellers come to the forum with problems and the situations are often due to bad buyers. I am by no means an expert seller but through Fiverr and clients offline I have noticed there are some different red flags and buyers you should avoid.
Some of these are more relevant to my field of graphic design or business outside of Fiverr but all of it should help you generally.
The TOS Breaker
This one is specific to Fiverr and should be obvious. If a buyer suggests talking off the platform, paying outside of Fiverr, or paying after the work is done then stop… I know new sellers can be eager to get sales, but another buyer will come. Just report them, block and move on.
The Discount Asker
Generally I recommend avoiding buyers who ask for a discount. I think negotiating a price and coming to an agreement is fine, but if a buyer repeatedly or rudely asks to lower your prices then they are saying your work isn’t worth what you price it at.
I rarely give discounts and only for loyal customers, buyers purchasing multiple projects or items, or for projects I’m personally very interested in.
For example one of my repeat clients outside of Fiverr receives a discount because they’ve been a stable and loyal client for over a year now. That relationship, the guarantee of multiple projects a month and paying for multiple projects at a time is worth the discounted rate for me. They didn’t ask for the discount.
The Rude Buyer
If they are rude, insult you or insult your work then avoid them. There is a big difference between criticism and insults. If they use phrases such as “are you serious”, “this sucks”, “your work is terrible”, “you aren’t creative” etc. then don’t work with them if possible. That being said, if you are working with a rude client, don’t bring yourself down to their level; reply clearly and kindly even though you may feel otherwise on the inside.
The Bad Communicator
If a buyer’s language skills aren’t good enough or they can’t effectively explain their brief in a manner that you can understand then it’s probably best to avoid them. These buyers can be more difficult in the long run if you decide to work with them and it takes multiple revisions to get what they want.
The Doubter / Prove Yourself Buyer
These buyers will question the quality of your work before ordering or question your abilities. Even if they aren’t rude it is probably best to avoid. If a buyer doesn’t think my work is good quality then even if I put 100% into the project then there is a high chance they won’t be satisfied, wasting the time of both of us.
This can be even worse with the “prove yourself” buyer. These people will ask you to prove your skills or quality, often asking for free samples or extras. Avoid these buyers. That being said, it’s completely fine for a buyer to ask to see a portfolio.
Asking for unlimited revisions
This is more relevant on Fiverr. If a buyer asks for unlimited revisions that is an immediate red flag. You will have no leg to stand on if the buyer wastes your time and keeps requesting revisions.
This buyer is one of my most disliked. In the graphic design field it seems like these are common. These buyers will state how much of an expert they are and how easy the job is. They might say “this job is super easy, why do you charge so much?” or “why is it taking so long, I know how long this work takes…”. They can often become micromanagers for the project. If a buyer says that the job is “very easy” then I am often cautious about it.
The Price Analyst
This is less common on Fiverr but can still be a frustrating experience. These buyers might ask you to break down your price or ask how many hours it will take you to determine your hourly rate. I’ve had buyers ask how many hours a logo project would take as they didn’t want to pay somebody more than $15 an hour. I told them that they would be punishing experts and efficient workers who could deliver better quality work in less time. These buyers will often try and get you to lower your prices. Normally I flat out refuse to tell buyers my hourly rate as that’s not how I work. Fortunately this is rare on Fiverr.
(Note this is different to buyers asking how long it will take to complete the project, I’m specifically talking about customers who want to break down the price)
The Unreasonable Buyer
These buyers are anyone who doesn’t respect your boundaries, your input or has unreasonable expectations from you. For example: “I need this done in 2 days” for a 2 week project or “I have a budget of $25” for a project that is worth over $400
The Exposure Buyer
These buyers will promise exposure or future work in order to get you to provide a discount or extras. I avoid any buyer who promises me that the work I do will give me amazing exposure to other businesses and future sales. Similarly if they promise to return back for future work be cautious.
These are just some situations and of course there is always nuance. You should try to be positive and make sales, but also don’t be afraid to stand your ground or to say NO to a bad buyer. I’d love to hear if there are any other buyers or red flags that you guys have experienced.