Fiverr Community Forum

Do you ever realise a particular potential customer is just wasming your time?

Experienced Fiverr sellers: I’m interested in how you handle this and whether you have a way to screen such early on. I can be very nice to someone, give them info, details, offers, then it turns out they needed it quicker and someone else did it for them, but they have another request. So I give an offer for that, wait for their reply, go out of my way to reserve time for them in case they need that translation because it “has to be today”, but they don’t reply until this job too is irrelevant for them.

This isn’t my main experience but I have had several such, and I wonder if I need some way to be more assertive from the start, or refuse to do “fast stuff” so this it is not an option for someone to “just pester me” for info only to find out they won’t pay or that 20$ is too expensive for them anyway, and all that without losing my credibility or general good customer relations.

I do have many years’ experience, just not on Fiverr… (been here ca. 6 months).
Any tips?

From the buyers I’ve interacted with, those who are serious generally give significant amount of details on what they’re looking for, when and how in their first two messages. If they are pestering you for info or details, then they don’t have a clear idea what they’re looking for and are 99% chance wasting your time.

Hope that helps :slight_smile:

I’m also a fairly new seller on Fiverr (have had an account for a while, but only started using it recently), but that’s what I’ve got from the last two months. It’s also my experience in general from previous freelancing experience elsewhere.

Thanks for your swift reply :slight_smile: yes, it makes sense and I appreciate it. I also came to think that perhaps I myself should do better screening to fit my needs, e.g., ask right away how urgent something is for them, because like 2 nights ago, it turned out (too late) that they needed it for the same evening, preferably on the spot, which was very inconvenient for me that evening. It didn’t occur to me someone would not be able to wait until the next morning (they contacted me at about 8 PM! )

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There’s a lot of different trains of thought on this and I guess every buyer is different.
A buyer might have an urgent need as they were let down by someone else for example. I have had this and gained new regulars who switched their custom to me for future (not urgent) orders.
On the other hand, there can be disorganized people who are generally the worst to deal with (even worse than grumpy people or cheapskates).

My solution is to send an offer saying “must be ordered within X minutes of this message”. This tends to help them focus and realize that yes, I appreciate they are in a hurry but I also have restrictions that they need to respect. Tends to sort the time wasters from those with a genuine need.


This is great advice, thanks, I really appreciate your taking time to respond !

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Oh and the person in question has just made the order, so obviously it was serious after all… :slight_smile: :sunny:


Yes, I think people often use Fiverr as a rush order type of platform, where they can get something decent cheaply and in a short time.

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Yes, I think you’re right, certainly some use it that way, and the question I’m asking myself is whether this is an image I want to play along with, because there’s something kind of despearate in wanting to take on any and every little job, however inconvenient…

I guess it depends on how you think about it and what your aims are!

For me, I’ve been using those small random jobs to build my portfolio. But I don’t take those kinds of jobs if they’re off-brand or too time-consuming. :slight_smile: (Mostly because I do have other commitments, and it’s just not worth it.)

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You have to streamline your process.

Write a short list of questions you need to start working on the project. It’s important that it’s as short as possible because people do not read.

Add a few disclaimers (no extra fast deliveries, no unlimited revisions, etc.). Pepper it with “please” and “thank you” if you’re worried to sound too direct. Don’t overdo the “please/thank you” part, though.

Every time you’re contacted for the new project, just copy/paste this message (customizing it for every inquiry, of course — i.e., remove the question if it’s already answered in the initial inquiry).

If they ignore questions, just copy/paste them again.

Say “no” to something you don’t do. Just “sorry, no, I can’t help you with that”. Don’t explain why, don’t apologize repeatedly. If it’s not what you sell, it won’t get done by you, period.

The more you focus on specifics and the more impersonal you make it, the more people respect your time and your work and the less space they have to emotionally manipulate you or use you as a free consultant. Specifics scare the time wasters away.


You can send something pre written to all new messages explaining your service. You can also send a custom offer, and not give discounts ever to anyone, as screening tools.

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This seems like a great approach. Building my portfolio is actually one of the reasons I do want to take on such little jobs, and I like your considerations. I think I may need to be clearer about what is “off brand” for me, I tend to extend rather than limit it…

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Thanks this is really helpful, Lena (am I right?). I find this kind of thing hard to do - so it’s probably causing me problems. For example, if I as much as suspect someone is a student, I tend to think in terms of giving them an automatic discount or else they won’t be able to afford it, then wonder why - after 20% fee - the final sum is too low. … :cry:

Thanks, these are great ideas, do you do that? I always send custom offers, but I do tend to give discounts, I’m always afraid the 20% fee will be prohibitive to people, and it is to many, it really is a problem to many, but then of course I’d rather take the other type of customers who are able to pay these extra dollars…

I did this birthday postcard for a newborn baby a few months back for a first time client with a heavy discount. I was also more accommodating to their response time and revisions than I usually am. I basically broke every rule I had because I’m very sensitive about the topic and it clouds my judgment.

Then, after a while, they came back to get another postcard done. I have a “basic” selling price that I can’t go lower than. I took 10% off of that and told them that if they were comfortable with it, we could proceed.

Then the husband showed up in my PMs (I was talking to the wife the entire time before) and told me I was using them for money because they liked the initial artwork and were now dependent on me because of that. :slight_smile:

And the moral of the story is, you’re not a charity. If you have regular clients, by all means, show some good faith, give them discounts every once in a while for staying with you and having trust in you as a professional. Give (reasonable) holiday discounts. But don’t just throw your time and effort to the wind, it’s very rarely appreciated.

PS Lena, that’s correct. :slight_smile:

That’s the wrong way to look at it. No reason ever to give a discount unless 1. you really haven’t had a sale in a while, 2. they are a long time excellent client, then only a very small discount.

Stop giving everyone a discount for no reason please. It makes it seems like you are desperate or not confident about what you offer.

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I’m sure you are right, it really did happen because a big client offline and I did feel a bit desperate and it was also my first months here, so I didn’t want to seem unreachable… but of course this can’t hold for very long, so I’m having a hard think about boundaries now…

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Hi Lena, thanks so much for sharing, this is very helpful and a great example for me!

Are you a graphic designer?

Hi again, the thing is that really, for student clients this is just not necessarily the right platform. If someone is really hard for money then 20% less can be a lot, and paying the fee to a site instead of to a freelancer can be really hard on some. So I often feel this is just not quite the right place for someone like that. But my real concern is (or should be…) how to do well myself and not feel bad I can’t necessarily provide moneyless people with great services through sleepless nights… :slight_smile:

Well, I consider myself more of an artist (I’m kidding). But yes, graphic design/illustration is what I do most of the time.