Fiverr Community Forum

The Art of Saying No Nicely

We all get them:

  • Buyer wants a discount
  • Buyer wants a free sample
  • Buyer wants more than he has paid for
  • Buyer asks for a revision which is actually completely different to what was ordered
  • Buyer wants to discuss something at length before/after an order
  • Buyer wants to cancel after delivery

Very often, people on the forum complain about this type of buyer and label them as “bad buyers”.
However, that is not always the case and I would suggest that the number of actual “bad buyers” is significantly less than one might imagine based on the number of posts about them.

What I have found at every level and various price points is that these requests come from a place of not understanding, not realizing, not being aware of what they are doing. This might sound absurd but having experimented with various ways of handling these situations, the vast majority of such questions are actually manageable, if done in the right way.

Firstly, there will always be exceptions and some unreasonable people. However, if you seem to get more problematic buyers than others, then it is likely to be time to look at yourself and how you manage things. If you have ever worked in retail, you will be aware of just how odd the general public can be. If you haven’t, then you would be in for a shock.

So what do you do when you find yourself dealing with someone who acts like this?

  • The simple solution is to “get rid of them”.
    Simply sending a negative reply will get rid of some, while others will have a pointless retort such as “this is terrible customer service”, “why are you even offering this then?” or “I found someone who will do it cheaper”.
  • Or, you can address what they have said with a professional response
  1. Thanks for your message, unfortunately I don’t do x, y, z but I can do a, b, c, would that work for you?
  2. No I don’t offer discounts on my services as my prices are already lower than I charge anywhere else.
  3. I would be happy to change the order for you and have included a custom extra below to cover the additional cost of making this change for you.
  4. Sorry, but I don’t cancel after I have done the work. If there is something you would like changed then we can discuss the options for that.
  • Or, you can just do what they want and then moan about it later, having spent 6 hours working on a $5 order
    Please don’t do this. It devalues you and everyone else on the site. More than that, it will actually demotivate you and cause your work and customer service to suffer for other clients. If you have 6 hours to spare, instead of working for less than $4, work on promoting yourself, learn how to use social media, blogging, and other promotion methods. This will be much more valuable to you than the “lost” $4.

Saying no to someone is not a bad thing.

There is a misconception among sellers that saying no is going to end up badly. They think “the customer is always right” means that they have to do whatever they want. This is simply not true and is definitely not what Mr. Selfridge meant when he coined it. Read the top 5 reasons why this phrase is wrong, or actually, why what people think it means is wrong.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that you should put yourself FIRST and the customer SECOND.
Now, that is not a slogan that any company will ever use publicly but if that is your mentality (and you have any kind of business sense) it will make you more successful and lead to better served and happier customers.

Valuing Yourself Properly

Valuing yourself and respecting your own boundaries will actually make you better at what you do, as well as happier. It leads you to speak with customers from the same level, as an equal, as the person in control. If you are good at what you do, this is extremely good for customers because you will not waste their time, you will price fairly and be happy to deal with that customer - all of which means they feel they have got a better service. You come across as a professional. You know why some people always ask to see the manager? It’s because they want the person in authority, the decision maker. MAKE YOURSELF “THE MANAGER” by valuing yourself properly.

Then, when you say no, the customer knows you mean it and take your word as being the final word. If it is about price, be clear about why the price can’t or has to change - eg. I had this conversation recently:

Hi i have a ton of work for you, but i would like to negotiate a little the price right now you are charging 1000 words / 15$, so every word is 0.015 i would like to be charged around 0.005 $ per word, please let me know if you can do it, here you can find the first set of package

How about this.
I will do a great job of translating but I would like to be paid around $1 per word!
Seriously though, why do you think I would cut my price down to $5 per 1000 words. I would literally earn more if I was a 16 year-old working in McDonalds.

Now, my response was friendly and clear as well as establishing the fact that I value myself correctly. It had a little humor, but was also quite straight to the point - what you are offering is not enough, period.
This has resulted in a series of projects with this client and will total 250k words by the end, all at my going rate with a small discount that I offered after the first 50,000 words.

If I had just said “No” to the client, that would have been the end of it.
If I had accepted that rate, I would be absolutely miserable working on this while having to send away higher paying clients. Moreover, the client is exceptionally happy with the work and the overall experience.

Now, this situation is just one of many similar cases where the initial contact with the client was what others would call negative. Some clients do not order with me because my price is higher than their budget - that’s ok. They go away disappointed because they cannot work with me - some even come back weeks or months later having saved up the required amount!

So there you have it, dealing with “bad buyers” is not so bad usually. How you handle them can dramatically change things for both of you. Try it out next time and see how it goes.
If you disagree or can take nothing else from this whole post, just go read the Valuing Yourself Properly section again.


Thanks, glad to read this.
Sometimes, I feel that I should naked to get just $5 order, lol, and that’s not good.

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Mine would pay me $5, or possibly more, to keep my clothes on. :wink:


Thanks, glad to read this.

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The truth is, many times buyers are simply unaware of how the process works.

I’ve had clients that did not understand how the process worked and spent some additional time discussing how the platform works.

If you’re honest, polite and genuine - you’ll more than not turn experiences that otherwise would result in an upset - into a good one.


I fully agree.

Sadly, my biggest gripe is not being able to set a fixed number of revisions or stop buyers hitting the revision button 1, 2, 5, 10 times just because they can. - Being able to do that gives them the power.

This is actually why I decline to work with most buyers. Everything you say is sound. It just can’t be practically applied to a system which can see buyers physically hit the revision button however many times they like, and get fully delivered orders canceled by CS on request.

From my own experience, saying no more and closing even potentially problem orders down at the message stage, has boosted my productivity and earnings considerably. This is perhaps not the kind of customer service Fiverr wants. However, as far as ongoing workflow and new orders go, limiting your services also makes them scarcer and increases demand. (At least in my opinion).

By modus operandi when faced with messages like:

Is to say a simple: “No, sorry.”

In cases where that buyer may then place an order, (and they often do) it is because they have found one or more sellers willing to take on their request. Sadly, they have had deliveries returned to them which are simply unusable. The next time I hear from them, they are, therefore, pleading for help rather than trying to make me beg for work.

I see this as my way of helping people learn for themselves that super cheap often also means super nasty. As a result, they grow as individuals, learn how to invest in their own business, and increase their chances of entrepreneurial success in the long-term.

(Though I am a wee bit evil in this regard.)

All that said, if I could set up a gig where buyers could only hit the revision button however many times I say they can and not have orders canceled unless I fail to deliver, I would likely bring my way of communicating with buyers more in line with yours. :slight_smile:


This is excellent, adding it to my seller resources


Excellent post, and great video. Kill them with kindness.

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I often have trouble saying no to charity work or projects that might have a really positive impact on less fortunate ones. We all want to do some good (at least every once in a while), but sometimes it’s important to say no even to those projects. How do you say no to a children’s hospital or an animal shelter?

If there’s any way you can help, go for it, but you have to put your family and your own health first.
Sounds selfish, but at the end of the day you still need to pay the bills and if you don’t value your time you will either burn out or get into financial problems.


yep, the bill(s) always haunts me every month.

bill(s) = :ghost:
me = :see_no_evil:

Yep - this really irritates me. I want to offer zero revisions and I dont want clients to mistakenly think they are entitled to them. Unfortunately Fiverr seems unable or unwilling to allow me this “grace”. However, they need to really change their messages. Look at what shows up when a buyer goes to click “Accept”:
It is a wonder that anyone clicks Accept when they see this!
Why does it say this on a gig that doesn’t and never has offered revisions?

However, even if this situation is a bit more Sh#t Happens! than Get Sh#t Done, I think there are ways to handle it.

I tend not to get the serial revision requesters but that is likely down to my categories. However, I do believe that if one firmly establishes their value initially that it is easier and more effective to refuse these. On the few occasions it has happened, I handled it in a similar way to handling someone asking for discounts.
As for CS cancellations - I haven’t had that happen so I dunno, it just seems extremely odd.

I do like the way you handle those to a point, I just don’t think it is making you money - although you are providing the world with a charitable service, namely educating people.


Well, since kicking the needy budget cretins aside who seem to have evolved to take other peoples time for granted, I’ve had my most successful freelance year to date. - And when I do wave off a $10-$20 buyer on Fiverr, its usually because I am opting to take on an order which requires zero client communication on what is now my main writing platform.

You’re playing the long game. - Be someones best buddy and they will hopefully keep on ordering long into the future.

I play the short, diversify everywhere and target the best and easiest revenue stream game. - Is there a $30 order I can take off-Fiverr today right now without any fiddling? If yes, that gets my priority. - Bye bye Mr. Be as Vague as Possible in my Fiverr inbox.

Meanwhile, my regulars on Fiverr (all of whom either messaged me with a full brief or ordered directly initially), keep on placing orders for more content without need of constant communication.

It flows, it works fine for me, and my way of doing things helps increase income whilst also severing reliance on Fiverr. (And it reduces the unholy amount of time which I still need to spend on Fiverr related admin).

In this case, please don’t worry about my personal finances. They are very, healthy thank you. :slight_smile:


That’s all great, glad it works for you - my point was that it is not making you money from Fiverr clients. If you make more/better/easier elsewhere that is a separate thing and fair play for going for it.

Eh, nope. It isn’t the long game and isn’t down to being buddy-buddy.

Well - that is a load off my mind!
Jks, I wasn’t referring to your finances, just the fact that you confirmed - your approach is not making money from those Fiverr clients that I am referring to. My OP and comments here are more related to making money through Fiverr and from clients here but of course, there are other alternatives that might be better for some.

Whoa! This is an interesting post, albeit a long one. I had to take breaks in between. You’ve hit a bunch of good points here. :ok_hand:t4:

Nope! I don’t have a problem saying “NO”. Of course, I don’t blatantly so “no”. I use nicer words like unfortunately. “Unfortunately, I can’t do XYZ” project.

I always cringe when people say this. I never bought into this tagline!

I’d go beyond that by making myself “THE CEO” by taking control of my ship. Managers are underrated and don’t get paid well.

I’m curious how did the person react to this line? :small_red_triangle:


He asked

so how much would be your price for this kind of work?

I gave my normal rate and he responded with:

ok please let me know total amount for the first package
and send me the gig and i ll pay

and that was it.


That easy huh?! That’s amazing! :trophy: I guess he realized that you were being fair and he was just hunting for a bargain. I’ve had a query where a user asked for a quote 600-800 word script. Gave the user the deets and the user said “I hired an artist last week who did it for $10.” I said, oh that’s great, then perhaps you may want to rehire that artist and some other lovely professional words.

Anyway, the user thanked me for my time and skedaddled. LOLz, so I wasn’t as lucky as you. :smile: It just seemed like the Buyer has gotten used to paying less for BIGGER scripts. Not on my :watch:!


Excellent post…

Mod Note: Please don’t quote entire posts - it is unnecessary. Just click the reply button.

Thanks, the video was quite fun, but we often have that kind of customer, and I had to cancel one order once, he asked like he was paying $1k, but it was a $10 job.

However, this is life

When I taught, I found this statement to be true for “bad students” too. Usually a bit of humor went a long ways in restoring civility in some students. :wink: