Is Fiverr a legit and safe place to hire a freelancer?

is Fiverr legit?

If you do any kind of creative or digital work, or have ever needed to hire a freelancer in that line of work then you’ve undoubtedly heard of Fiverr.com

Originally the site started out with a real focus on digital and creative freelance jobs, but these days the services on offer are much wider, with everything from 3D modeling, to legal services and even relationship advice!

The big question we answer here is whether Fiverr is a legit and safe place to hire a freelancer, but we also cover how to find the best gigs, how to avoid scams and alternatives to Fiverr. It’s all here…

Contents

What is Fiverr?

Fiverr is a marketplace for companies and individuals to find and hire freelance service providers for an enormous range of different tasks.

From a service provider perspective it is a place to advertise specific jobs (called Gigs) that they can do for anyone who wants to hire them.

There are of course many other freelance marketplaces online (we cover some of these below), but Fiverr made a name for themselves by focusing on smaller, very specific tasks, offered at very low prices. The name Fiverr came about because originally the site was all about tasks which cost just $5 (a fiver!). Since then the range of services and prices on offer has got much broader, but that gives you an idea of the philosophy behind the marketplace.

The main Fiverr service categories are:

Within each of these service categories you will find a large number of specific sub-categories and a very wide range of services on offer.

Fiverr has recently launched a new section on the site where freelancers can offer services targeting specific industries including Architecture, eCommerce, Gaming and even Politics!

Is Fiverr Legit and Safe?

Yes, Fiverr is a legitimate and safe place to hire a freelancer. Fiverr is a truly global marketplace with freelancers from all over the world, and Fiverr takes it’s responsibility to protect buyers and sellers from fraud very seriously.

When you pay for a service the money goes into the Fiverr escrow account and is only released to the seller on the successful completion of the job. Note, if something goes wrong the buyer does not automatically get their money back. There is a conflict resolution process and if the seller is found to be fraudulent or to have not delivered as promised then the buyer will get their money returned. The purpose of the conflict resolution process is to protect both buyers and sellers.

How does Fiverr Work?

Fiverr has two modes of operation for buyers. Primarily, Fiverr works as a directory of services on offer by freelancers from around the world. Buyers search or browse the site to find the services they need and then hire the freelancer through the website. Alternatively, you can also post a request on Fiverr and have freelancers submit proposals, but this is not the primary focus of the site.

Most buyers on Fiverr will find gigs they like by browsing or searching the marketplace…

When browsing or searching through the site buyers are able to filter the advertised services in a variety of ways to find just what they are looking for, e.g. filter by budget, freelancer rating (more on this later), freelancer location and even expected turnaround time.

Services on offer on Fiverr are called gigs. Each gig has its own page where the freelance service provider explains in detail what they are offering to do, and how much it will cost. Each gig has a base price which can range from $5 right up to hundreds of dollars depending on what is offered.

When viewing a service, or gig, it is important to understand all the elements of what is being offered. Let’s look at this gig by way of example…

Example Fiverr Gig

Here we can see that that this is a gig for mobile app user interface design and for $82 we can get a single page design completed in 2 days with up to 4 revisions. Other important information includes the overall seller rating and we can also see there are Standard and Premium upgrades available, which in this case means more pages and more revisions.

If we scroll further down the page we get a more detailed description of the gig…

And scrolling down further we can learn more about the seller. Key information here includes the freelancer’s location, average response time and overall rating from all reviews for all completed gigs. Lowly rated freelancers should be avoided.

We can also compare the different upgrade packages on offer for this gig…

And of course we can check out reviews from other buyers who have already purchased this service from this provider. Every buyer on Fiverr has the opportunity to review each service once complete, so any shonky work or poor outcomes will be clearly reported. Scanning the recent reviews is an important step as we will learn in the next section.

The steps to buying a Fiverr gig

These are the basic steps to buying a Fiverr gig. I’m assuming here you have already signed up and created your Fiverr account.

  1. Find the gig you want to buy. In the process of assessing options you can also message with the seller to ask questions and clarify exactly what is on offer. Sellers can also create a custom gig for you with a custom price if the listed gig is not suitable for your needs.
  2. Click on the buy button and you will be walked through the payment process using your credit card or PayPal account to fund your purchase. Couple of notes on buying the gig:
    • Fiverr does add a service fee. This is how they make their money.
    • The seller doesn’t get the money right away. It goes into the Fiverr escrow account where it is held until the gig is successfully completed.
  3. Once you’ve paid you will be asked to provide all the details necessary for the seller to complete your gig, e.g. if it is a design gig the seller will need to have your creative brief and any brand guidelines necessary to do a good job.
  4. Once you’ve provided these details the gig will start and the seller will be able to message you if they have any followup questions.
  5. You will be notified when the final product is completed and ready for review. You will have an opportunity to review and request any revisions before accepting the finished product and confirming the completion of the gig. Only when you have taken delivery of the final product and you have confirmed this with Fiverr will they release the funds to the seller.

As you can see Fiverr does make a real effort to structure the process for a successful outcome for both parties.

How to choose the best gigs on Fiverr

There are quite literally thousands of sellers on Fiverr and for any given task or service there could be hundreds of gigs listed meaning there are many many options to choose from…so how do you make sure you are buying the best gig for your needs?

Obviously the “best” gig for you will depend alot on your requirements, particularly if you have very specific needs. In such cases you may actually be better off seeking a custom offer or posting a request and waiting for providers to reply with a quote rather than selecting from the off-the-shelf gigs. More on this below, but assuming you are choosing from the listed gigs, here are are tips on finding the best gig for your needs:

#1 Look for good feedback ratings

The first tip is perhaps the most obvious…look for gigs from providers with a good track record and a history of really good reviews. On any category page in the marketplace you can choose to filter the gig listings to show only those from the Top Rated Sellers like this…

A sellers feedback rating is truly the most valuable asset they have on a marketplace like Fiverr, and we recommend you only deal with established providers. You can click on the feedback ratings on any gig page to read the actual buyer reviews for that seller…

#2 Read the gig description carefully

Read the gig description very very carefully. You want to make sure that you understand exactly what will be delivered, how many revisions you can get, and what the time frame will be. Sometimes sellers will have a standard turn around time, but they can get very busy so this may not be realistic. You can actually see on the gig how many buyers have already purchased and are in the queue, if it is a lot then the chances are turn around will be slower. You best bet then is to use our next tip…

#3 Look for examples/sample work

Usually the gig description will provide some examples of the sellers work. If these are not comprehensive we recommend asking the seller for some more examples of their live work, work they’ve completed for other buyers. This is perhaps the best way to get an idea of the quality you can expect.

#4 Contact the seller before buying

Contact the seller before buying a gig. On the gig page you can send the the seller a message asking all you pre-purchase questions. If the seller replies with vague answers that don’t really answer your questions you should move on and find a seller that can communicate clearly and effectively.

#5 Ask for a custom quote if your needs are not met by the standard gig

If you find a provider that you really like, but their gig doesn’t offer exactly what you want you can ask them to send you a custom quote based on your specific requirements. As above though it is very important to communicate with the seller and make sure the deliverables are very clearly defined.

#6 Post a request if you have very specific needs

If you can’t find any gigs that come close to what you need then you can post request to which providers will be able to respond with a custom quotation. This is what the Fiverr request form looks like…

When posting a request it pays to be as detailed and specific with your requirements as possible. The more specific you are the easier it is for providers to provide a realistic and competitive quote. If your requests are very non-specific and unclear then providers are forced to build a lot of wiggle room into their quotes to protect themselves from scope creep in the project. And yes, in saying this we are suggesting that poor project outcomes are often as much the fault of the buyer as they are the seller.

When you post a request you will inevitably get replies from sellers who simply reply to all requests with a generic type response hoping it will be enough to initiate a dialog which they can then convert into a sale. This type of response is a waste of your time and we generally recommend ignoring these. One way to weed out the auto-responses is to include a secret word in your request description and ask the sellers to mention it in their responses to prove that they have actually read your requirements properly. Anyone who doesn’t mention the secret word clearly hasn’t read the requirements.

#7 Run a trial project first

Particularly if you are new to outsourcing or just new to Fiverr it might be a good idea to run a trial project first. Ideally this a smaller part of a bigger project where the cost is not too high so if it doesn’t go well then you havn’t wasted too much time or money.

The benefits of running a trial project (or multiple trials) is that you can get a feel for how Fiverr works, and at the same time see how your get on with the providers you select. If it doesn’t go well then you havn’t lost too much, but if it does go well then you have found a good provider and will have the confidence to move ahead with a bigger project.

How to ensure a good outcome for your project on Fiverr

To ensure a good outcome for your project on Fiverr be sure to do the following:

  1. Choose your provider carefully (see above). You greatly increase the likelihood of a good outcome if you stick to working with well established providers with a good track record and feedback rating. Contacting them first to clarify any questions you have also prevents surprises and let’s you test how good they are at communicating, which is the next most important thing…
  2. Communicate. Communication is absolutely imperative, and it is important to acknowledge that it is a two way street. It is vital that the provider can communicate clearly and effectively, but it is also vital that you can do the same. If you can’t clearly and thoroughly explain exactly what you want then you shouldn’t expect the provider to be able to divine this…they can’t read minds.
  3. Followup. Once the gig has started don’t just assume the provider has everything they need. Be proactive and send everything you think might be important and make yourself available to answer any questions. We suggest only starting a project if you are going to be available online for the duration of the project. Don’t start a new project if you are about to go on holiday and won’t be available to answer questions and/or review outputs!

How to avoid scams on Fiverr

Like any big marketplace there are people on Fiverr who are there to try and scam unsuspecting users. And to be fair this is both on both sides.

That said, Fiverr takes it’s responsibility for managing and moderating the marketplace very seriously. Certainly Fiverr is no more dangerous a place than any other marketplace. Indeed if you follow these tips then the risk of being scammed is very low:

  • Again, only work with established sellers who have a great track record and feedback rating.
  • Abide by the old adage, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. By this we mean watch out for gigs that promise the earth for a ridiculously low price. You can often find providers prepared to work at much lower effective rates on Fiverr because they live in countries where the average wage is much much lower than the US. But even then you need to ask yourself if what is offered is actual reasonable. You can get a sense of what is reasonable by comparing the service offering to other similar gigs. If the provider is offering something that seems way below the market rate then there is probably a reason for this.
  • Do not be tempted to try and take your project off the Fiverr platform. Fiverr’s systems are designed to protect buyers and sellers from possible fraud. As explained earlier, when you pay for a project on Fiverr the money does not go directly to the provider. Instead it goes into the Fiverr escrow account where it is held until both parties agree the project has reached a satisfactory end. If this doesn’t happen then Fiverr has a mediation and review process to resolve any issues. If a seller tries to convince you to buy off the Fiverr platform this is a red flag and should be avoided.

Other Sites like Fiverr

Fiverr is far from the only game in town when it comes to hiring freelancers online. There are many sites like Fiverr, both general in nature or focused on specific niche markets.

These are the three best alternatives to Fiverr, all worthy of consideration…

Upwork

upwork vs fiverr

Upwork is one of the most recognizable brands in the freelancer marketplace world. It grew out of a genuine need to find a way to efficiently connect freelancers from around world with the companies that need their talents.

Upwork vs Fiverr

Upwork has a different approach to Fiverr. While you can post requests on Fiver, it focusses more on it’s marketplace of gigs that buyers can browse. Upwork on the other hand focusses more on the mechanic of posting a job and then receiving proposals from the freelancers and agencies that are listed on the site. Upwork will also use some smarts to recommend the freelancers that will best suit your job. You can also browse the directory of freelancers to find someone who fits the skill profile you are looking for.

Similar to Fiverr, Upwork provides workflow tools to smooth the communication with secure file sharing and chat.

Upwork makes its money by service sees it charges to freelancers, which is a % of the fees they charge the companies that hire them.

Freelancer

fiverr vs freelancer

Freelancer.com is the largest freelancer marketplace in the world as measured by the number of projects and users. With nearly 40,000,000 employers and freelancers from 247 countries using the service it is definitely legit.

Freelancer is an interesting story because it is actually a consolidation of many of the very first freelancer marketplaces dating way back to the early 2000’s, including getafreelancer.com, scriptlance.com (I used this service back in the day), freelancer.de, freelancer.co.uk, rent-a-coder.com, vworker.com and more. Freelancer is now a publicly traded company.

Fiverr vs Freelancer

Freelancer has a very different focus vs Fiverr. On Freelancer you can’t browse gigs being offered by freelancers, and unlike Upwork they don’t provide a directory of freelancers to browse either.

Instead, on Freelancer you post a project and then pick from the proposals submitted by freelancers and agencies from around the world.

Freelancer.com makes money from both sides of the relationship. It is free to post your project, but if you award the project to a freelancer you will pay a small fee based on the value of the project. Similarly for freelancers, it is free to bid and they pay a service fee if they win a project, also based on the value of the project.

Guru

fiverr alternative Guru

Guru.com is like a hybrid of the Freelancer and Upwork business model. A key focus is on buyers posting projects and then selecting from the proposals submitted by freelancers. But you can also browse their directory of over 1,500,000 registered freelancers and request a quote from the ones that look best to you.

Guru.com makes a lot of their workflow and collaboration tools to make it easy and safe to work with freelancers wherever they are in the world.

Guru vs Fiverr

Fiverr differentiates itself from Guru by focusing more on the marketplace of services on offer by freelancers, rather than the directory of freelancers as Guru does.

The predominant use case on Guru is browsing the directory of freelancers and then requesting a quote from the ones that best seem to fit the skill sets you are looking for. Compare this to Fiverr where the predominant use case is browsing the marketplace and selecting the gig(s) that best meet your needs.

Ultimately which site you use will depend on what your goals and budget are. It should be said that due to Fiverr’s origin as a site to offer services for just $5 it does tend to be cheaper than the alternatives, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find very cost effective freelancers who will do a great job on any of these platforms.

Other Fiverr FAQs

Is Fiverr any good?

Yes, Fiverr is a great platform for connecting buyers and sellers of services. It is especially strong in the digital and creative space, though the range of services these days is getting wider and wider. The Fiverr platform is good because it offers an alternative to the usual freelancer marketplaces where buyers post a project and vet incoming proposals. On Fiverr the buyers can browse a huge marketplace of services on offer and pick and choose those that suit their needs. As a result it tends to focus on smaller and very clearly defined services with a clear deliverable. Turns out this is a great model for many buyers, particularly those unfamiliar with outsourcing.

How to leave a review on Fiverr?

When the gig in complete and you have taken final delivery you will be prompted to “Accept & Review” the order. This is when you can leave a review, which is to say you can only review a gig as a verified purchaser of that gig.

How to cancel an order on Fiverr?

To cancel an order on Fiverr, login and goto the order in question. Click the Resolve Now button and follow the prompts. You will be asked to select an “issue” from the drop down and and the ultimate resolution you are looking for, this is where you will select cancel.

Note that Fiverr tries to avoid cancelling orders and will only do so in cases where there has been a clear violation of policy or due to demonstrably poor performance on the part of the seller, e.g. vague and misleading communications, failure to deliver, copyright infringement or plagiarism in the delivered product.

How much does Fiverr take?

Fiverr charges buyers a 5% service fee on all purchases. So for example, if you buy a gig for $100, you will be charged a $5 service fee.

Fiverr also charges the sellers a 20% commission on all gigs, so in that same example the seller would get $80 of the $100 cost. The other $20 (20% ) goes to Fiverr.

All up then Fiverr makes 25% on all transactions.

How to delete Fiverr account?

You can deactivate your account yourself by logging in and going to the Settings Section. There you will find the option to deactivate the account. After deactivation your profile will no longer show on Fiverr, nor any gigs if you are a seller. Any active orders will also be cancelled.

It is not clear if this will also remove your personal information from the Fiverr servers. To completely delete your account you will need to contact the Fiverr support.

Who owns Fiverr?

Fiverr is owned and run by an Israeli company called Fiverr International Limited (FIL). FIL was founded in 2010 by two entrepreneurs, Micha Kaufman and Shai Wininger. They have since taken on investments from angels and some big venture capitalists like Accel Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners. Fiverr is based in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Got more questions? Drop a comment below and we’ll try to answer it.

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