… a Buyer asks you for a “butt-load” of work…you invest considerable time, skill and energy,…then the Buyer tries to pull a fast one on you! It’s so easy for Buyers to do this. They know everything about you… you know zilch about them. If you’re dumb enough to do business with a total stranger online, then you’re dumb enough to be ripped-off.
Firstly, I suggest only offering gigs that involve minimal investment, but offer A+ work on time, and cya (cover your ass) with a clear and detailed gig description. You will still get ripped off occassionally but the injury won’t be as severe. And you should develop your pricing to cover your percentage of losses. Consider that major retailers work their losses from theft into their pricing.
BUT, if you must offer more involved gigs, then qualify your Buyer before accepting an order (yes, you don’t have to accept every order thrown at you). Any Buyer who orders a “butt-load” of work without discussing the project with you first has the propensity for ripping you off. Even in the event the Buyer messages you before ordering, it’s perfectly fine to ask their name, their company name, and their budget.
Ok, I know I’m going to get a “butt-load” of negative replies for suggesting qualifying Buyers. However, in the professional world discussing all details of a HIGHLY INVOLVED PROJECT (even the budget) is the norm!!!