Fiverr Forum

Free Samples? Paid Samples? What Say Ye?


I have been having a debate with myself for about an hour now and got nowhere so I thought I would invite some opinions of others.

It is to do with samples. More specifically, to charge or not to charge.
My opinion on this has always been to charge for samples. When I first started, I did do free samples, just to get orders and it generally worked around 50% of the time. Once I got some orders I stopped doing it, mainly because there were so many people trying to get things done for free.
This has always been my advice to others - don’t do free samples, get even a reduced fee to ensure that the buyer is at least somewhat legit.

The thing is, despite the recent slump that we all know about, I got two reasonably large orders today. Both of these were orders I had done samples for back in March/early April. In general, I think I get 80-90% of the orders for which I do samples so my conversion rate is excellent on them.
However, during this slump, I have had at least 10 requests for free samples which I have rejected/insisted on an order being placed. When they refused, I wished them luck.

My debate is this. Most samples for my gigs would take me 10-15 minutes of work. Is it worthwhile to allocate say 20-30 mins per day to do samples? Looking at the stats (my usual decision method), it seems to be an obvious yes but on the other hand, I wonder are my stats that good because I “vet” the buyers by insisting they pay first.

Am I leaving money on the table? Is it not worth it to invest some time in free samples (in the same way I don’t get paid when I work on self promotion)?

Perhaps I just need to try it out again and see what happens but I would appreciate other thoughts on the matter.

What do buyers mean when they say provide samples?

IMHO we need to charge for a sample


Do you leave money on the table? Yeah probably! But if a client can’t spare $5 for a sample which can lead to a bigger project than it’s probably not worth it.

A serious client will never expect you to work for free. They are out to get quality and service and that should be valued.

What about this. Set up a live portfolio via PDF. You can deliver the main gig and also attach a short paragraph of your translation work into a separate file which you can label as “Portfolio Sample Legal”, “Portfolio Sample Medical”, Portfolio Sample Website Translation" etc.

Just a thought :wink:


My straight forward opinion -
The site is called Fiverr…nor Freeer!

I don’t so samples, demos, reads, sample reels for free. Never have, never will…but I also don’t pay too much attention to rankings either.

Its all about ROI. I have enough actual work to showcase my style, tone, and skills. If someone wants a sample I send them to my demos and portfolios. That’s what they are for.


If I am understanding this correctly, the samples you provided before which got you the large orders, and which get you a 80% return on as the clients return and place orders, were paid samples.

It sounds as if you have a good method of weeding out actual paying clients by charging the minimum for a brief sample.

It may be that if you give free samples you will not even hear from the people or they might expect a very low price for your work.

However, there is no harm in experimenting to see what happens.


I get maybe a 50% ROI on paid samples and maybe 10-20% on free ones (that I only do rarely and only tend to do for large jobs - if I have a good feeling about the client/job OR it is quieter than usual).

In 98% of situations for voiceover, I have found when people genuinely want a sample, it is agencies/other creatives who are wanting something to give to their client, rather than the actual client themselves. So I sort of get it - but in those situations, they are also likely to be onselling the voiceover at a much higher price than they are paying me, so they should have enough room in their budget to pay $5 or $10 for a sample :wink:

I have a huge range of demos and samples of my gigs - given the prices here are so much cheaper than elsewhere, I think that is enough.


I’ve never done anything ‘free’ in the hopes they would either hire me for a bigger project or return later to start a project. I work day by day. However, in my "niche’ doing samples can take several hours/days, so it’s almost irrelevant.

[details=Here’s an idea on how to weed out potential clients:]
Add a PDF to your gig explaining what you offer and add a code at the end of the PDF with a CALL TO ACTION: “Request your free sample today!”

Those interested in your services enough to read through the entire PDF definitely deserve a sample.[/details]


No free samples! I get requests for video samples all the time. Should I satisfy such requests, even a 10 second video takes an hour to create and render into a .mp4 file ready for delivery. Then (from experience) buyers say “could you change x and x?”

Writing is a whole different ball game. A buyer asks to see samples of tech specific writing. I send them a link to a relevant sample in my old portfolio blog. They then say, “Hi, we are actually looking for something more app specific.”

These requests go round in circles and eat time which could be spent satisfying the needs of paying customers or tweaking my gigs to get sales in the first place. That said, what DOES work for me, is asking a regular client occasionally if they would like a free video or the like.

When you give away work in this way, buyers either buy extra services from you in future or recommend you to people who will.

Think about the people who give away free samples of cheese in supermarkets. Their efforts don’t lead to surges in cheddar and American cheese slice sales. The result is simply people giving away samples being surrounded by the most obese and intellectual derelict members of society, all of whom start assuming that they are entitled to a second and third free sample.

Say no to the online cheese monsters. Nothing good will ever come from you doing otherwise aside from certain people devaluing your service and wasting your precious time.


I don’t give free samples…


I always give free samples. Just a line or two of their script.


My work sometimes takes a lot of time, and for that reason free samples are a no-no.
I have plenty reviews+link to my portfolio on my profile.
My experience is:
If after all those samples my potential client can see, he/she is still asking for more, then I’m not the right one for that project.
On the other hand… I really have no time for samples :confused:


NO to free samples.

BUT. If something in the BR genuinely piques my interest and none of my gigs are a suitable response, I tend to produce a small bit of This is how I’d do it


Whenever I want to test out a seller or “want a sample,” I just order a $5 or $10 gig. I’ve never negotiated price on 5r.


Some really interesting responses and advice here; it’s funny - I suspect the reason for my doubt is the fact that things are quieter and I am exploring ways to get more work. I guess my overall belief is leaning towards taking clients on a case by case basis, rather than the absolute no that I have been working with.

@annai80 Translation/proofreading portfolios are difficult in that they could have been done by anyone so I doubt that they convince buyers too much. Perhaps I will try doing them sometimes, when as @sue_mcl says, rarely, for large jobs etc.

Has there ever been a better visualization of sample giving? I think not.

@markusvoice and @tben2505 I would think that having a large portfolio and gig video SHOULD be enough to convince most people in your line of work - @tben2505 do you feel it is necessary to give samples or just that it helps move things along quicker? Or something else?

@misscrystal I do think I have a good ability to weed out the time wasters but I also think it is likely that there are many frustrated buyers who have been messed around by other sellers and simply don’t want to waste any more money on samples. This is probably especially true at the moment as I am sure there are a lot of poor quality sellers getting orders (because of the test that shall not be named).

@thecreativeguys Yes, I think in web design, samples are a no-no but like V/O, you probably have a portfolio of sites you can point to instead. Interesting idea with the PDF, I’m sure it may work for some but I also think a lot of decent buyers are frustrated, bamboozled or desperate to read into everything - even though they may be ok to work with.

@writer99025 Makes sense when you already have so many orders - I guess you might consider it more if you were quieter - after all, whether it is for free or for cash, at least it keeps you busy :wink:

@idostuff74 I think that is a good way to approach things - you have your portfolio for most things but if necessary you produce something to show what you can do.

@gina_riley2 same here - I just know there are others who see things differently.


Your gig prices are already too low. Giving out free samples is not feasible on an $5 gig.


I don’t really get many $5 orders, I’m mainly focused on orders of $100+.
I believe samples for anything under $30 is just silly.


Exactly! People think that my $40 gig creates a $40 sale when in fact most of my orders far exceed the “$5” threshold.

Fiverr is becoming a bigger marketplace, and with it’s growth, higher priced gigs are a necessity.


I don’t do free work, and I don’t expect any serious seller that I’m thinking about hiring to do free work, either.

Free work is a contagious illness that teachers sellers to devalue their time and buyers to demand unpaid extras.

Kill it with fire.


Same here, but I still do not give away free samples.


I’m on the other end of the spectrum; I ALWAYS do free samples, and often do get jobs from them (I do VO work).

But in MY case, I don’t have Fiverr as my only source of income; I don’t have enough orders yet to make a living this way, so the majority of my day is comprised of doing stuff I was doing before I got serious, here – scrolling through facebook, watching yet another Star Wars “Did You Know” video on youtube, playing with virtual pets, etc. So, to ME, I’m not really giving up “precious time” by doing a sample. To ME, it’s a choice of (A) Doing a quick sample that MAY lead to a job or (B) Reading yet another dissertation of why Carly needs to forgive Sonny on General Hospital in the fb GH chat, which definitely will NOT lead to a job. Given those options, I go with ‘A’.