When Buyers Ask for Custom Samples


I’ve always told new buyers to test the seller before forking out a lot of cash.

I don’t believe anyone should work for free and it irks me to read about buyers constantly asking for free samples. Some are legit buyers who got burned once too many times, so I understand their hesitation. Some are just scam artist out for a freebie.

I’ve even had level 2 seller with over 100 reviews and unique portfolio give me some really awful work. I mean it looked nothing like the portfolio.

For you level 2 & TRS (during you slow period, that is if you actually have a slow period), if you had a new client asking you for a $5 or $10 custom offer to do a sample, how do you feel about that?

I do realize some gigs are not possible to do samples. I know some of you are going to say, “Look at my live portfolio.” As I’ve said above, sometimes live portfolios are fake.

Would you be offended and tell the buyer to take a long hike in a dark forest? Would you spend 5, 10 or 15 minutes to do a sample?

I ask, because I was thinking about doing a site suggestion to let sellers have an optional demo gig. The max cost would be low like $10, no reviews are exchanged, and buyer understands no refund.

This would be beneficial for me.


I can relate to 2 weeks ago, when a new client ordered for $15 and said my work will be printed and posted in their Dance Hall for all the Club Members to vote (amongst other 6) which one they will use for their event.
Apparently, I’ve got the most votes and I’ve got the full job, for an amount of $50 more.
That was a win-win situation. But she had to spend much $$$ to get to that, and on the other hand I woulnd’t have sent a “free sample” in any case.
I do samples if I get paid for my time, even $5 would fit to me, and yes… I believe if someone wants to test Level 2 sellers or TRS, there should be an option for that ($5 or $10)
When that option is the seller’s choice, then where should be the problem?
The ones who don’t want to work for less or send samples just don’t offer that option.
I find it a good idea.


As so often, It depends. :slight_smile:

A creative work in motion graphics? I’ll most likely pass. A buyer should get a good understand of my abilities from my profile (sometimes I send the link to my stuff on Vimeo). If it’s a truly custom work that is requested i.e. I have to start from scratch, in 90% of all scenarios, there is no such thing as a quick sample (at least not for me and my workflow).

On the other hand, I recently did make a sample for $5 (the buyer suggested so) and now I’m working on the follow up. But that sample was well within the scope of what I’d do for $5. So, there’s that.


I like the idea, however, my base prices already start at $10 and I’ve already turned away my 3rd ‘can I have some free samples’ buyer today.

The big problem that I have with samples is this:

  • A buyer asks to see a sample video for an insurance company presentation. I send them a pre-prepared sample. The buyer then comes back asking for things in the sample to be changed so that they can see what their video will look like fully prior to ordering.

As for writing. I never give away samples anymore. Today, for instance, I received a request from someone in Portugal for writing samples who obviously doesn’t speak or write fluent English. How in this case, are they going to actually assess the quality of what I send them?

The answer is they are not. They want to send a sample to their end client for consideration. Either that or use a piece of work as a sample on their own portfolio.

My view is that if your prices already start at $5 - $10, asking for samples is just plain rude. Moreover, from experience, serious buyers don’t ask for samples at all. Instead, they order something for $5-$10 and say ‘this is a test order so that we can see what your writing style is like.’ If not, they send a custom offer request for a sample which goes along the same lines.

I suppose that the problem overall is that while decent buyers like you definitely should have a way to request samples, too many sellers like me have been burned by scammers and timewasters constantly asking for samples just because they want free work.


Good idea @gina_riley2


My thought on sample gig vs regular gig are the following:

  • No refunds
  • No reviews
  • No deviation from description
  • Only allowed to order once

You won’t have to worry about threatening bad reviews, asking for money back, asking for more than required and also giving buyers xx minutes to fill out requirements.


I signed up just to reply to you all because I feel so bad and I understand. I meet my clients for a living! DO NOT give these people free samples they are not serious and do not have the business to business relationship skills and will most likely stay small or fail altogether. They are time wasters and complainers!!! You may not have the luxury of meeting your clients face to face. However, I work where I do both design, print a physical product and hand it off to the customer. People who operate like this usually run a failing business and will work you into the ground for peanuts. Think about it, 5-10 dollars for anything is a great deal cheaper than getting it done locally in their home country and then they want to nickel and dime further on Fiverr? These are not clients you want to focus on; you will work for free and gain nothing no money no review just a bitter taste in your mouth. In the United States when a customer wants a mockup and doesn’t want to pay… I do not even answer the phone for them or return the email I spent countless hours designing cool stuff sending samples and never hearing from them again or worse they complain about everything. It is a mindset of a person running a failing small business, and when you have too many of these types, you will hate life too and want to quite. I meet these people, and they totally lack the self-awareness to develop lasting B2B and B2C relationships. They stay small, cannot maintain employees and always complain even when work is great. RUN! Moreover, watch out THEY WILL TAKE YOUR SAMPLE AND USE IT!


BTW I get artwork samples that were designed for free from a competitor for them trying to earn their business. The customer will not like the price, but will take the free created sample and ask me to print it. (it’s always too low quality to print) I get these emails and requests they go right in the trash. And often this customer is the MOST difficult of all customers to deal with. You have to figure someone who is that unethical is not afraid of also being a nutcase in public. It is a sickness!


Wow! You must be very passionate to have signed up to reply to this topic.

No doubt buyers and sellers comes in variety of background.

You have to keep in mind that some new buyers have been burned by the wrong type of sellers. At least half if them buy for personal and not business.

They’ve had sellers handing them plagiarized work or simply download image from Google. When these type ask for sample, they want to literally see like 100 words of article or black/white illustration of a kitty, just to see what they get.

Inexperienced buyers, for some reason, dish out $100 on a gig, then post on forum how they got ripped off, etc. Inexperienced sellers have buyer making them promises then renege on them.

I just figured a sample gig where no reviews are exchanged but a small fee of $5 or $10 would help out both sides from getting cheated.


In my line of work if a client asks for a sample, if I decide on providing one there are a few measures that one can take just in case:

  1. Create a sample and add a watermark so the image cant be used commercially
  2. Create a low res sample
  3. Create a part of the sample that he asked for (with an explanation)
  4. Ask for some $ for the sample

Usually for my clients and line of work, the quality will be obvious even at the early stages of me providing an initial sketch, massing. Therefore the client notices straight away if the quality matches my portfolio (which it does in my case naturally).

This however has nothing to do with Fiverr as I am new here, only regarding my work outside which I had completed up to this point.
Hopefully this post adds some value to someone regarding this matter.


This is a tough one.

On the one hand I agree with the principle: no reviews, no revisions, no refunds; like it or lump it.

On the other hand I can see problems.

Take myself out of the equation as my current gigs don’t lend themselves to samples so I’m speculating on the idea as a business model within Fiverr here.

The price would have to be flexible depending on the gig type.
The ‘individual’ sample model would only work for a few gigs.
If sellers give a lot of samples and get no reviews/other acknowledgement, what would it do to their statistics?
Should samples be watermarked or otherwise locked?
Would buyers buy in to a ‘sample’ if they could order a $5 taster and get a refund/leave a review?
What rights would the buyer have if the seller didn’t deliver or delivered late?