How Does Fiverr Work? (2023 Complete Guide for Buyers and Sellers)

What it takes to be on the top 1% of sellers on Fiverr.

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DALL·E 2023-05-27 21.51.38 – small laptop with dollar bills centered on the background of the image, green background taking up most of the space, cartoon like digital art

My Fiverr profile says I’ve been a seller since 2019. I actually made my first sale in July 2020. Since then I’ve completed over 2000 orders as a seller and a couple of dozen as a buyer.

Lots of online marketplaces get a bad reputation for being untrustworthy, low paying, and kind of “scammy”. I don’t think this is the case when it comes to Fiverr – and I’m happy to both operate a business through the platform and use it when I need to find professionals to do work for me.

This guide covers (almost) all you need to know about how Fiverr works in 2023 whether you are a buyer or a seller. Do you have a question I haven’t answered? Make sure to drop me a comment or email and I’m on it!

This article may contain affiliate links. They add no extra cost to you and help with keeping the lights on from my end. Happy reading.

What is Fiverr and how it works?

Fiverr is possibly the world’s largest marketplace for digital services where individuals or companies can go to find freelancers with a skill that suits their needs.

  • Sellers: go to Fiverr to advertise their gigs (we will talk about gigs soon) and find people interested in buying their freelance services.

  • Buyers: go to Fiverr to evaluate the work, reviews, and quality of various freelancers, and purchase gigs that fit their business needs.

How large is Fiverr at the moment? According to the latest statistics Fiverr has…

“facilitated over 50 million transactions between over 5.5 million buyers and more than 830,000 sellers on our platform.”

Is Fiverr Legit?

Yes, Fiverr is very much legit. Founded back in 2010, the name “Fiverr” is a reference to the $5 starting price for all gigs when the website first launched. Since then, prices on the platform reflect the diversity of buyers and the many sellers, with high quality services at good prices.

What Does Fiverr Mean?

Fiver (with one extra r) is a five-dollar bill. At the time, the connection between the name and affordable pricing of the platform was well-promoted to entice buyers. The extra “r” at the end was probably added to differentiate the business.

Fiverr Terms You Need to Know

Fiverr has developed a different vocabulary for certain terms to establish a specific and standardized language within its platform. The reasons are not clear, but we can assume it has to do with the user experience, branding, and unique identity of the platform.

For new Fiverr sellers and new Fiverr buyers, that might make things a bit confusing.

Here are some of the terms to look for:

  1. Gigs: Gigs are the services freelancers offer. Think of them as premade package deals that a client can browse and book. They come with a fixed price, a precise description of what is included and the option to add more tasks or “extras”.

  2. Sellers: Sellers are the freelancers or service providers on Fiverr who offer their skills and expertise to clients. They create and manage their gigs, communicate with clients, and deliver the requested services.

  3. Buyers: Buyers are the clients or individuals who purchase services (gigs) from freelancers on Fiverr. They browse through available gigs, select the one that meets their requirements, and hire freelancers for the task.

  4. Orders: Orders are created when a buyer hires a seller for a specific gig. The order acts like a written agreement between buyer and seller to complete the task according to the deliverables discussed.

  5. Packages: Packages are options provided by sellers that offer different levels or variations of their services within a gig. These packages can include additional features, faster delivery, or extra revisions, allowing buyers to choose the one that best fits their needs.

  6. Extras: Extras are additional services or add-ons offered by sellers to enhance the scope of a gig. Buyers can opt to pay extra to customize their order and receive additional benefits beyond the basic gig. One extra that most sellers offer is “Fast Delivery Time”.

  7. Revisions: Revisions refer to the number of times a buyer can request changes or modifications to the delivered work. Sellers usually specify the number of revisions included in their gig, and buyers need to communicate their feedback and revision requests within the agreed-upon limits.

  8. Delivery time: Delivery time represents the duration within which a seller delivered the completed work to the buyer. It is typically defined in the gig descriptions and can vary depending on the complexity and requirements of the task.

  9. Ratings and reviews: Ratings and reviews are feedback provided by buyers to rate the performance and quality of the services they received from a seller. It helps establish a reputation for the seller and assists potential buyers in making informed decisions when selecting a freelancer. The review system of Fiverr has undergone various changes throughout the years. (you can read more about Fiverr reviews and how they work here).

What is a Fiverr Gig?

A Fiverr gig is a premade package that a seller has put together.

Here is an example of a Fiverr gig from my seller profile.

If you click to see the gig you will find a few key details. These are important to note when creating your first gig as a seller on Fiverr, so you can start selling:

  • Title: Fiverr uses the “I will do x” format for all gig titles.

  • Description: The gig description is arguably one of the most important areas of your gig. It can be professional, it can be witty, it can be client focused, or build authority by mentioning projects you’ve done. What works best for one doesn’t for another.

  • Package details and pricing: Fiverr gigs are often tiered. They consist of three packages (Basic, Standard, and Premium). Each package should clearly outline the deliverables included, the delivery window, and the price.

  • Gig extras: this is not a must but it might as well be. It’s the easiest way to upsell.

  • FAQs: Another section that is not mandatory, but makes life easier for both Fiverr sellers and Fiverr buyers.

  • Portfolio/Work Samples: Fiverr makes it easy for buyers to browse past projects and samples either through the portfolio section (under the “About this seller” section). Or, there is the option to add past projects from clients directly onto the gig slideshow when completing an order.

  • Tags: SEO is everywhere, including Fiverr. Tags are keywords or phrases that are relevant to your gig, helping it appear in relevant search results on Fiverr.

  • Reviews and Ratings: This is where feedback and ratings will appear. For a new seller, this section might be a little empty in the beginning, which is to be expected.

Fiverr For Buyers (How Buying a Gig Works)

Searching for a seller on Fiverr as a buyer

The Fiverr homepage for buyers is like a mini version of Google.

Starting with the search box, buyers can type in either a broad, or more specific query regarding the service they are looking for.

For example, you can go broad and type in “copywriter“.

Or go more specific and write “sustainability writer

Narrowing down seller selection on Fiverr

When searching for “copywriter”, there are currently over 9000 results.

Now is the time to use one of the filters to narrow down your selection.

On the left-hand side under the Category button, we find options like “Website Copy”, “Sales Copy” and “Ad Copy”.

Let’s say you are looking for a copywriter for social media copy.

You can select “Social Media Copy” to narrow down the selection to 247 services.

That is a much easier number to work with.

But there is more! You can now filter by budget, seller details, and service options like “platform”, “language” and “purpose”.

In the end, you might end up with 5-10 sellers, a much more manageable number to browse through.

Selecting a premade package or contacting the sellers

The beauty of Fiverr is that you can purchase a gig, without needing to contact a buyer.

There are a couple of benefits to that:

  • convenience: you can purchase anytime you are ready

  • time efficiency: less time wasted on back-and-forth communication

  • price transparency: you know what you are buying and how it is priced

If you don’t wish to book a premade package, there is also the option of contacting the buyer and making a custom request.

There are also some definite downsides that I have experienced as a Fiverr seller when buyers that are not familiar with Fiverr book an order. These are covered later in the guide under “Things Not to Do as a First Time Buyer on Fiverr”.

Filling out the brief and proceeding with the order

Sellers put a lot of effort into making the booking process as easy as possible for the buyer.

This is why when you proceed with a package (Basic, Standard, Premium) there are various Add Ons or Extras offered and a clear description of what the package includes.

As soon as the order is placed, you will find a brief with various questions.

The questions included in the brief are created by the seller, so they vary accordingly.

The brief is one of the MOST important aspects of any job. Whether you do graphic design, social media marketing, or write copy.

It is a written agreement between buyer and seller that sets the tone, communicates expectations between the two parties, and is used to guide the project.

  • If the brief is incomplete or does not provide sufficient information, expect the seller to reach out later and request more information.

Wait for the seller to contact you

Some sellers (like me!) will circle back within a few hours or the first day, to say hi, check the quality of the brief and inform the buyer of what to expect afterward.

  • Maybe the brief is incomplete so more information is needed.

  • Maybe there has been a miscommunication and the buyer is requesting or inquiring about work that is not included in the package.

Both of these happen on a regular basis.

Case A: A client books a package for email newsletter copy. The brief, gig description, and FAQ, specifically mention that this gig does NOT include the design of a template. The client has booked the package asking for design work.

Unfortunately, this is a case where a cancellation needs to be processed which hurts the seller’s ratings.

Is Fiverr bad?

Just like most things in life, Fiverr is not immune to criticism.

Let’s answer this question from the perspective of both buyer and seller.

Is Fiverr bad for sellers?

Many freelancers, graphic designers, copywriters, or everything else in between, would never go near an online marketplace platform like Fiverr or Upwork.

The reason: low paying jobs, unfair review system, bad quality of clients etc.

These are all valid criticisms.

This article by Geoffrey Bunting is a good example of how the system can turn against the seller, jeopardize their earnings and create animosity against the platforms.

But…

After completing over 2000 orders on Fiverr, I have yet to have a terrible experience or receive horrible service.

Have there been 2-5 bad clients? Yes!

Do sellers need to be proactive in evaluating buyers (meaning extra work)? Yes!

Do sellers have control over their pricing structure so they are not forced to compete for $5 gigs? Also yes!

So in conclusion, I don’t think Fiverr is bad for sellers! Quite the opposite.

Is Fiverr bad for buyers?

Similar to sellers, Fiverr for buyers can be a mixed bag, depending on your budget, specific needs, and how much research you put into finding the right freelancer.

It’s a marketplace teeming with talent, but it’s up to you to navigate through the offerings.

For buyers that are willing to dig deep, keep an open mind and be upfront about their budget and requirements, then Fiverr is a sweet treat!

Buyers that are looking for the cheapest freelancers, however, will be sorely disappointed.

Leading with price as a defining factor has never been a good business decision, and shows zero respect for the work of sellers. So if that is your buyer strategy, prepare for an uphill battle and to sift through hundreds of $5 priced gigs.

From where I’m standing, believing that a freelancer will provide a full marketing strategy, hours of SEO research, or a small e-book worth of copy for $5, is delusional (and exploitative but that’s another discussion).

Fiverr Fake Reviews

Most online marketplaces suffer from the fear of fake reviews.

This is a valid concern.

Sellers on Fiverr, can (theoretically) ask a friend or client to purchase a gig, and then leave a glowing review without delivering any work.

And sure, those first 2-3 reviews can give a new seller a boost in the very beginning but can they form the foundation of a freelance business? I don’t think so!

Most full-time freelancers on the platform measure hundreds of thousands of positive reviews! Among them are some uber duper satisfied clients, and some that are either lukewarm or even a bit disappointed.

Personally, when selecting a freelancer on Fiverr, I am more weary of no negative reviews. By that I mean, nothing under a full 5*. Especially if that freelancer has thousands of reviews.

It is not statistically possible to serve 2000+ people and have everyone walk away with a 5+ rating.

How do you know if a buyer is scamming you on Fiverr?

Buyers try to scam sellers out of work on Fiverr all the time.

This is why it is important to be vigilant and aware of red flags.

Here are some of the things to look out for if you are just starting out.

  1. Requesting contact outside of Fiverr

Almost all buyers that have been on Fiverr for more than a minute, know there are strict “no contact outside the platform policies“. If a buyer seems particularly pushy from the start to find out outside the platform, it is likely they are trying to scam you.

  1. Clients who demand a lot of work for peanuts

This is an obvious red flag. A client that reaches out wanting 12h delivery on 100 blog posts with a budget of $100 is not someone I would want to work with under any circumstances.

  1. Buyers that suggest alternative payment methods

Anytime a buyer suggests payment outside the platform, is the time to flag the buyer, and possibly even report them. Your reputation as a seller on the platform can be jeopardized – and it’s 100% not worth the risk.

  1. Asking for free work or samples with no intention of placing an order

A lot of clients will come in strong with a promise of “x” amount of work, after they evaluate how good you are. That usually sounds like, “Can you do “x” for us, and if we like it, there is lots of work available for you?”.

  1. Clients that threaten with a negative review

This is an obvious giveaway of a buyer with unethical standards.

  1. Multiple revision requests and disputes after completion

Fiverr has a revision mode after work is completed. This means payment is not released until the buyer is satisfied with the deliverables. Unethical buyers will exploit the revision mode, to delay completion, change the scope of the project, request additional work, or fake dissatisfaction, all in an attempt to get the work for free.

In most of these cases, contacting the customer support team or canceling the order is a valid response, even if you risk a positive review.

How does Fiverr pay sellers?

There are various payment methods depending on the location and preferences of the seller.

These include (for now):

  • Fiverr Revenue Card

  • Bank Account Transfer

  • PayPal

  • Payoneer

The fees associated with each method, and the minimum threshold for withdrawing money also differ.

The two payment methods available to me. Bank transfer includes Payoneer.
The two payment methods available to me. Bank transfer includes Payoneer.

What are seller levels on Fiverr?

Seller levels are good to know whether you are a seller or a buyer.

If you are a buyer, knowing Seller Levels can help with narrowing down your selection process.

These are:

  1. New Seller

  2. Level 1

  3. Level 2

  4. Top Rated Seller

For most sellers, The “Top Rated Seller” status is the most coveted.

The reasons are:

  • you can’t apply for Top Rated Seller status

  • exclusive benefits

  • priority customer support

  • faster payment clearance

  • increased visibility inside the marketplace

  • promotional opportunities

Fiverr’s guidelines on Top Rated Seller requirements

Each seller level represents a milestone in a freelancer’s journey on Fiverr, reflecting their experience, reliability, and overall performance.

Your level can go up or down! So don’t fret if you are not where you want to be yet.

From the buyer’s side, knowing these levels can help can help when selecting a freelancer, as higher-level sellers often indicate a higher level of expertise and professionalism.

FAQ about Fiverr

What other services can people buy or sell on Fiverr?

The full list of services offered can be found here. Anything from film editing to logo design, writing press releases, voiceovers, animation music, audio programming, and various other digital services.

What is Fiverr Pro?

Pro sellers are sellers handpicked and vetted by the Fiverr team. They undergo a rigorous application process and need to provide proof of skills, experience, and proficiency. Buyers can expect a higher level of quality services and specialized expertise.

Even new sellers with no reviews or prior Fiverr experience can submit an application to become Fiverr Pro sellers.

According to Fiverr, only 1% of sellers meet the criteria to join the program.

Can I make money on Fiverr?

Everyone has a similar question. Do you actually make money on Fiverr? Is Fiverr worth it as a side hustle? Can I be a successful seller on Fiverr?

From my experience, yes! Fiverr offers a good platform for buyers that want to save money and outsource tasks.

With that said, according to recent reports, the majority of sellers on the platform make less than $500 per month, which places my experience at the 1% of Fiverr earners worldwide. I truly believe that with a bit of determination, clear positioning, upskilling and time, Fiverr can pay off for anybody that is serious about freelancing.

If nothing else, it can be a great way to test the water and your skills, completing gigs part-time for extra money.

How much does Fiverr cost?

For sellers: registering your seller account and creating gigs is free. Fiverr does charge sellers a fee after an order is successfully completed. That fee equals 20% of the order value, meaning sellers receive 80% of the listed price. Most sellers offer creative and digital services.

For buyers: it is again free to browse and register a Fiverr account as a buyer. There are service and administrative fees for buyers depending on the total order value. The service fee currently is 5.5% of the total value. If you purchase a gig under $50 there is an additional $2 charge.

Things Not to Do as a First-Time Buyer on Fiverr

From my experience, first-time buyers on Fiverr can benefit greatly by keeping a few key pointers in mind to ensure a positive and successful experience.

Here are some best practices to ensure you receive high-quality work, find a good seller and select the best Fiverr gigs.

Don’t rush the decision

When you start the search on the site, take your time to review multiple options, and evaluate their profile, reviews, and portfolio.

Don’t be stingy with communication

Freelancers are not mind readers. If they don’t have information on your business, needs, and project, they won’t be able to provide a good product or digital service. Many times, I have gone in circles asking buyers for simple things like the URL of their site, the project scope or some further details. Don’t be that person!

Don’t neglect to set clear expectations

Similar to the point above, it is important to clearly communicate deadlines, specific details, and project requirements. Any freelancer that has been around the block will try to set super duper clear expectations in the beginning, to avoid misunderstandings. If you place an order, and later request a faster delivery timeframe or additional work, you might be disappointed to hear it is not feasible. Freelancers work with various clients at any one time, so let us know beforehand so we can make the experience totally worth it.

Don’t be unrealistic with budget and timeframe

This is especially relevant to small businesses with small budgets. While Fiverr is known for affordable services, it’s important to be realistic about your budget and timeframe. A completely unrealistic budget of $10 for 3 SEO-optimized blog articles within 2 days, has a 90% chance of resulting in work that is completely useless.

via GIPHY

Don’t skip the gig description and FAQ

9/10 a question that a buyer asks me can be answered by browsing my gig description or FAQ. Never assume you can receive a service that is not explicitly mentioned and consider purchasing additional gig extras if necessary for your project.

Don’t ignore Fiverr’s Terms of Service

This includes asking for a meeting outside the platform as the first message, sharing suspicious links, or including contact information. Sellers can be penalized for such actions, plus staying on the platform safeguards your interests and the possibility of being scammed.

Don’t leave incomplete or unfair reviews

If you received good service, consider leaving good reviews for the sellers that provided them. A complete review helps both the freelancer and other sellers that are browsing for services.

Don’t close the order before communicating with the seller if you are not satisfied

Another common mistake I see buyers make on the platform is marking the order as delivered, and leaving an unfair or negative review, all without communicating with the freelancer. This is sometimes maliciously done, but often it has to do with not knowing how the platform works. Buyers can utilize Fiverr support which is called the resolution center, to request a revision to their order. Revisions are almost always included in gigs and are a normal aspect of any creative work.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can enhance your experience as a first-time buyer on Fiverr and increase the likelihood of a successful collaboration of higher quality with the freelancer you choose.

Do you have questions about how Fiverr works? Let me know below!

🙋‍♀️ Looking for someone to provide that human touch with your writing process, blogging, and SEO research? Let’s connect! Alternatively, you can request a quote or place an order directly on Fiverr here.


One response to “How Does Fiverr Work? (2023 Complete Guide for Buyers and Sellers)”

  1. […] you work on platforms like Fiverr and Upwork, then the brief/questionnaire part of structuring gigs is […]

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