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((RANT from hell)) Is it Me(The Seller) or them (The Buyer) on this one?

So, recently I had a customer pop into my inbox and ask me to drop my prices for them… Kind of confuses me because if you look at the two writing/editing related gigs I have, they are pretty low and while I am flexible, this customer wasn’t telling me their budget. I was confused about it but at the end of the conversation on the first day I said “I can do $15”, thinking it was a small, easy to edit/write story. I was mistaken, big time. It was 162 pages and while I adore how the UK write/spell things, the Grammar (Bad word) in me was having a flipping field day with this one and I had to stop after a few days because I was starting to get severe headaches and was not willing/wanting to rewrite this customer’s hard work. I turned in what I had done, and asked a few fellow writers if it was normal to do. They said “You did more work than what you were paid for.” to which my response was “Yea, but this customer is on a tight budget and I was trying to be flexible…”
Is it me or the customer?

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It’s you to be honest. You are your own boss, you set the prices, you choose your clients and projects. Check out the projects requirements before making an offer. You should’ve cancelled it the moment you saw that it’s definitely not what’s in the scope of the budget. For $15 I’d recommend offering a service that takes up to 1-2 hours (max!). But definitely not reworking 162 pages…

We’ve all been there. Learn from it and don’t sell your service and time under value.

Edit: You set the price, not the customer! You wouldn’t go into your local store and start to negotiate all the prices. “I won’t buy that apple as it’s not in my budget!” Well, then no apple for you. He will pay your price or you won’t work with him.

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True. To be honest I didn’t even know I could’ve cancelled that gig/order once I saw the 162 pages of work.

Also, you’d be stunned by some of the shenanigans I see where I live. I’ve seen far weirder things.

Edit: Also, to give some context, this guy has 3 5 Star Reviews as a buyer but he’s ghosted me since delivery. Is it too late to cancel and edit the Gig he got his Order from? @raghnalltuathai

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You could have asked to see the document / how many words/pages it was before sending your custom offer. In the custom offer description you could have said how many words/pages you’d proofread up to.

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You already delivered? In that case I’d definitely not cancel. If you’ve done the work, get paid! You should’ve cancelled after you saw the amount of work and before even considering to start working on the project. But now, I wouldn’t. Has he used the revision button? Or have you delivered and he is not giving you any feedback? Because that can happen. Had a lot of orders with people disappearing after the delivery. The order will be completed automatically after three days.

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Ohhh… facepalm I should’ve done that.

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Delivered, asked how things are going(meaning in general). He’s ghosted. It’s been 3-4 days (delivered on Wednesday, it’s Saturday for me)

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Then the order should be completed automatically today. Don’t cancel it now, just take it as a lesson for future clients and projects. Something like that happens to the best and as I said - we’ve all been there in the beginning ;).

The buyer stretched you beyond flexibility!! :wink:

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Though if you’d said you’d proofread the entire document and you proofread less than the entire document and delivered that you could get in trouble for delivering a partial delivery.

Also in your “I will tutor you in writing…” gig I’d take out the FAQ question about what you accept as payment in case Fiverr thinks you are allowing off-site payment (since all payment must be done through Fiverr).

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Sorry, but in my opinion it’s you. You made a few mistakes:

  1. You ignored a red flag. Any potential client who asks for a lower price is being disrespectful of your time, skills, and experience. If the first thing they can talk about is lowering the price, it is nearly always a sign for your to walk away. Depending on their tone, it is possible to educate a buyer and get them onboard as a fully paying client - but it really does depend on whether they appear otherwise polite and naive vs rude and arrogant with a sense of entitlement.

  2. Always get in writing how big the job is - ideally set very rigid boundaries for the project so the buyer knows you’re not to be messed with, and in the event of a complaint you can refer back to what was agreed. For proofreading jobs you absolutely have to see the source material before agreeing to work with a buyer. Their English could be abysmal and what should be a one hour job (based solely on word count) could take all day. Believe me, I’ve been there in the early days of signing up to Fiverr.

  3. Based on what you’ve written, you delivered incomplete work. This is against Fiverr’s terms of service and can therefore lead to an account warning. Three of these warning and you will be banned from the platform.

I’m not being rude when I say it’s you - you did ask :slight_smile:

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Editor and content writer here. I can empathize with your situation but I’m going to have to side with the buyer on this one.

What I’m understanding from your story is that you didn’t get all the information you needed upfront. I understand wanting to be flexible so that you can help out a client and win them over for potential work in the future. But you have to also value your own time and the ROI you get from the amount of work you put in.

As with most industries, writing and editing is requirements, requirements, requirements. If you struggle with editing UK texts, then that’s something you should know about before agreeing to a price. Same goes for number of pages/words (personally, I’d go with words), tone, purpose of text, etc.

What has helped myself and my wife decide on prices for our gigging has been one key question: what’s the value of my hour?

Naturally, you’re not going to charge based on an exact number of hours it will take you to do a job. But at least knowing what price you put on your hour as an editor, you can gauge whether you’re willing to do a job to a buyer’s budget or not.

Also, redefine in your head what it means to be flexible. $15 for a 162 page text you’re not comfortable with isn’t flexible. It’s being unreasonable.

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Yea. I’m working on editing a lot of the FAQ on my “I will tutor you in writing…” gig. I had a commenter on a different topic mention it and I’ve started editing my gigs altogether.

100% your fault. Never accept a gig without CLEAR details, including (obviously) how long the work will take. It’s baffling that you said “I can do it for $15” without even knowing what it was that you were supposed to do. Like, I can’t even understand the thought process behind that. What was the $15 referring to? How did you arrive at that price? How can you price something if you don’t even know what that something is?

How did that conversation go?

“Hey, I have work for you!”
“Sure, what do you need me to do?”
“Some editing”
“Alright, how big is the document?”
“Doesn’t matter, my budget is small. What’s your best price? Your normal price is too high for me, please drop it”
“Ok, $15”.

Sheer insanity. Like, wtf levels of delusion.

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We learn best from our mistakes, don’t we? Make good on what was offered, learn from it, and adjust accordingly on future offers. It gets easier to remember the details of what you need to ask in order to provide an accurate quote to your clients, because those costly mistakes are fond memories. :rofl:

There’s a little trick I use in order to make sure I don’t forget to ask about all the little details I need to complete a job. I quickly run through the whole job in my mind first, start to finish, from opening the client’s file (sometimes I get a hold of a file I’m unable to open, first potential delay caught early), to reading through to check for any mistakes or pronunciations I need (saves me from having to stop what I’m doing to ask the client, who may not be available when I’m recording), to my final delivery (I’ll have a good idea by then how long it will take me to finish).

Sounds kinda silly, doesn’t it? It’s saved my tail in my day job a few times, and saved me some potential delays with my voice over scripts. Might help you out when working on quotes for your clients. :smiley:

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I mean, I’ve had problems in the past with details being left out and assuming things, I’ll be the first to admit to that - it’s hard to cover every single angle.

But giving a price with no idea of the scope? That’s just… I lack the words to describe it.

“Hey, mr. Builder, I’d like a house built to my exact specifications that I won’t share with you in advance”
“Sure, that would be $100.000”

“…wut? Alright then, since we’re settled on price, build me the world trade center with a great pyramid on each side. And make it quick!”

LOL I totally get you, but we don’t know what was going on in those messages, why such an important detail was left out, etc. One thing I’d be willing to bet on, is once you’ve struggled to build the world trade center with a great pyramid on each side in a week for $15 bucks, you’ll never make the same mistake again. You might make a totally different mistake, but not that one. :joy: Experience is a fantastic, if sometimes brutal teacher.

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Sorry. The messages basically went like this:
“Hello. (they mention my pitch, never specifies which of my 2 now-paused Writing Gigs they mean). I’m not very well off, I’m a novice writer and I have a few stories I’d like to publish and was wondering if you could help me?”
“Yea, sure. What do you need done?”(I was trying to be polite, given this was my first Gig ever and a complete stunner once I Googled this person’s name)
“I need some help fleshing out my story…”
“Okay, let me take a look and I will let you know what I think.”
“Thanks.” (Goes silent for a few minutes, sends me the complete document, which loaded into WordPad and WordPad had it as one full page of text. Google Docs said 162 Pages once it was saved to Google Drive via my laptop)
(Takes me a few minutes to look at the document on WordPad so what follows is this:)
“Hey, you wouldn’t happen to have this story published already, would you?(I Googled this guy’s name and got a hit on Amazon/Kindle for 3 books/stories, the one he sent me included…)”
“Yea. I like having some help and going back and re-publishing it…”(Red Flag?)
“Oh. Okay. I saw your name pop up on Amazon when I Googled your name cause it sounded a bit familiar but I wasn’t 100% sure.”
“No problem.”
From here it was discussing what he could improve on(Advice not paid for), what to tweak, how to tie his 3(yes, 3) books together and get the desired ending he wanted.
Once we came to an agreed upon price of $15, I loaded the document into Google Drive so I could work on it via Google Docs on my phone. That is when I saw that it was 162 pages long and I may have had a slight panic/anxiety attack because holy cow that’s a LOT of Author work for a “Novice Writer”.
As for the incomplete work, I did as much as I could without editing/re-writing his story completely and I didn’t honestly think about the “Incomplete Gig” Rule on here. :pensive:

I don’t get it. So you did send the price before seeing the document. Also, working on your phone? What? Any serious work must be done on a computer. You played yourself.

I sent the price after seeing the Document via WordPad. When I saw it on Google Docs, I should’ve gone back and raised the price.
As for working on my phone, it’s sometimes easier for me to work on my phone than on my laptop. My laptop crashed Google Docs while I was working on my own story I’m working on for a fan-fiction site and ever since it’s been my phone for working on writing in Docs unless it’s charging, in which case(s), I use my laptop and pray to the Writing Gods it doesn’t crash my work.