I would love to see more buyers posting on the forum in general and also specifically discussing their process for selecting sellers and how it works for them. This would be exceptionally useful for both buyers and sellers to learn from and find out what works in different situations and probably in different categories.
In a way, some of my responses to your questions on the forum could be incorrect and the same could be true of any “guru” who tries to tell you what to do.
To explain, I stand by what I have said to you as these methods are what work for me. What you are buying is different to what I am buying and so I think it is important for you to experiment more. You have over 200 completed orders so you should have a good idea of how to do things but if you are still having the same problems then something is seriously wrong. At this stage, I have certain people I will ALWAYS go to for certain things. In fact for some things I have a backup and second backup, just in case some are not available when I need them or price is an issue for certain projects. The fact you don’t have this established yet concerns me. Have you ever had a good experience for the main tasks you need done on a regular basis. If so, why not use the same seller(s) again. I know that occasionally sellers do disappear (hence my backups) but in general, most decent sellers are fairly permanent.
My advice would be, rather than outsourcing the job to me or searching for a magic formula from a guru, spend the time and money you would spend on those things on seeking out, trialing and evaluating a larger number of sellers. Find 10 sellers who have profiles that match what you are looking for and who have reviews which are good. As I mentioned before, I stay away from the Buyer Request section for my purchases and I suggest you do the same. Instead, send custom offer requests to each of them and see who responds with a price which is more or less your budget. Place the order with each one and see how the jobs work out. Eliminate those who are less than satisfactory and then from there, give bigger jobs to each as you go on. Upon completion of those bigger jobs, give tips to those who are up to your standards. For any who have done well but not quite to your liking, you should point out how they can improve/change it to the way you want it done.
Depending on the size of the task, this should take you approx 2 hours to find them, 2 hours to order and respond to queries and then a couple of hours to evaluate what has been done. The second round of orders should take less time. In total, I would estimate around 12-15 hours would be spent on this process and I would allow approx $300 split between 10x $10 orders and then 3-5x $40-50 orders.
At this point you may have one, two or more people to choose from. The initial cost of paying for orders that you don’t need will be repaid to you as you go on with less time spent chasing up bad sellers and as your relationship grows with the seller(s) they will work better with you and probably be glad every time you order from them.
For me, $300 is worth approx 10 hours of my time, adjust your budget to whatever would be similar to your situation. This approach has probably saved me a couple of thousand dollars in the course of the last year. It has also probably saved me a couple of weeks of my own time in that I can place orders with certain people and just forget about it until it is delivered rather than wasting time in trying to deal with new people all the time. The sellers I work with regularly know what to expect from me and I know what to expect from them so it works for us both.
To anyone seeking to become a Guru, you can go ahead and sell what I have written above, I would love for buyers to use my approach more often rather than the all too common approaches of “I have lots of work if you are good”, “give me a free sample”, “another seller is cheaper” etc.