Fiverr is a low-cost platform where freelance talent can find work. But is Fiverr worth it — for getting more clients as a freelancer or finding talented digital workers?
You can hire anyone on Fiverr, from models for commercial spots to qualified web developers. It’s a very easy place to start freelancing because it’s free to join and fairly simple to set up.
Agencies also consider Fiverr to be an easy way to find contractors and outsource a multitude of tasks. And it is.
But there is plenty to know before you come to rely too heavily on the short-term workers you find there.
First, let’s review where Fiverr came from, how Fiverr works, and look at the pros and cons of using Fiverr to find clients. We’ll also talk about whether Fiverr is worth it as a low-cost source of labor for your business.
What is Fiverr?
Fiverr is an Israeli freelance platform that matches digital services to the businesses that need them. It was founded in 2010, has a batch of subsidiaries, and multilingual user options.
The original concept was pretty straightforward — to create a two-sided platform in which freelance contractors could provide services, or “gigs.” The name originates from the concept of hiring someone for $5, although the price points vary a lot depending on what you’re hiring for.
Within a year of its launch, transaction volume on the platform grew by 600%. Owners secured more than $20M in funding that secured Fiverr’s place in the market. Between Dec. 2013 and March 2014, they launched apps, got even more funding, and the rest is kind of history.
Now, Fiverr has more than 300 categories for talent. Since 2013, it has been ranked among the 100 most popular websites in the U.S. It’s known for having a ton of users that can provide digital labor at a low cost.
Here’s how it works for freelancers:
- A seller (freelancer) will sign up for a Fiverr account. There are the aforementioned 300 skill categories to choose from, which will define their profile.
- Then, the seller creates “Gigs,” which showcases their work at set price points.
- The seller gets hired to deliver on these Gigs and is paid through the site.
Fiverr takes 20% on all Gigs, which is pretty standard for sites like these. Payment occurs through a third-party service, like PayPal, or a bank transfer.
Here’s how it works for people who want to hire someone for a Gig through Fiverr:
- A buyer (personal or business) will sign up for a Fiverr account.
- Once registered, buyers can use search filters to find freelancers who provide the kind of service they are looking for.
- They can communicate with a seller if they have questions, or hire a freelancer on the spot, set a timeline, agree on a price, and get them started.
- Once the work is delivered, they will approve payment to the freelancer directly through the platform.
Buyers can pay freelancers on Fiverr through third-party services, like Apple Pay or PayPal, with a wire transfer, or through numerous other country-specific options.
Using Fiverr is pretty easy. But the range of talent, and considerable dominance of the platform, leave a few questions.
Is Fiverr Legit?
First: is this for real? Cheap talent, quick turnaround, and on-demand workers are all extremely valuable for remote agencies, small businesses, and much more.
Depending on what your agency offers to clients, you may not have anyone in your current network with a specific skill set. So, if you suddenly need a graphic designer to throw an eBook together, or to write a batch of Quora answers, Fiverr may be a good place to look.
Finding people with unique specialties who can deliver reliably good products on a tight timeline is what Fiverr should be good for. And it can be.
Fiverr is a very global platform. This can mean that certain markets are densely populated with talent that ranges from novice to expert. There have been plenty of stories about undelivered work, inadequate work, payment issues, and the like. On the other hand, a review and rating system helps buyers make sure they hire talent with an established track record.
Because Fiverr has a touch of Wild West about it, let’s look further into the pros and cons.
Why Fiverr is Good
The primary reason Fiverr is good is access. This platform will undoubtedly provide access to diverse talent from around the world. And for sellers, it provides access to a world-wide marketplace for their skills.
There are a few more pros to Fiverr, which include:
- It’s simple: Fiverr is very easy to use. You don’t have to register for a ton of things or jump through a lot of hoops before you can start reviewing freelancers and purchasing Gigs. It’s also quick and easy to set up a new Gig, although getting enough interest in your gigs is another story.
- It’s fast: depending on the nature of their work, you may be able to get freelancers who are ready and waiting, which means they can deliver tight turnarounds.
- It’s flexible: Using a platform like Fiverr means you hire on a task-based level. You can hire for tiny tasks or big projects, and only spend as much as you want to. For sellers, the flexibility means Fiverr can be a side-gig to another job or a way to make extra money in a slow month of freelance work.
- It’s cheap: Expanding to a global network means that you can usually get people to do a job for less money. Of course, this is a double-edged sword.
Why Fiverr is Bad
The other edge of that sword is the number one con for Fiverr when it comes to hiring: It’s unpredictable.
If your goal, as an agency owner, is to offset the overhead and cost of hiring long-term employees, you may strike out on Fiverr. Because this platform has very few barriers to entry, that also means you get a wide range of actual ability.
It may be time-consuming to truly vet the workers you find on Fiverr. Then, once you get the work, you face the risk of it being subpar.
The main drawback for sellers ties into the same feature. You will be competing against thousands of other workers selling a similar service, and some will work for next to nothing. The more experience and excellent reviews you get, the more you can charge.
However, on Fiverr, you can expect to find many buyers who are looking for cheap labor, rather than top talent.
Additional cons to Fiverr include:
- It can be fake: There are loads of stories online about fake reviews, fake profiles, and just all-around inauthentic selling on Fiverr. In other words, buyers should be warned. Use Fiverr at your own risk.
- Hard to communicate: Because of its global nature, it may be hard to communicate with workers on Fiverr. This could stem from many causes, such as time zone differences, language barriers, or even the fact that you’re dealing through an arbitrator, not directly with the freelancer.
- Fees: While Fiverr is generally cheap, with plenty of freelancers at low rates, you will pay processing fees and may pay other fees for integrated payment methods. This could mean that your starting price is nowhere near the price you end up paying.
Sellers on Fiverr pay a big chunk of their earnings to the platform, and it’s hard to negotiate rates high enough to compensate for that.
All that said, for many digital agencies and small businesses, the benefits far outweigh the risks of using Fiverr. For one-off tasks or ongoing tasks you want outsourced, it can be a fast and easy solution.
But is Fiverr worth it for sellers? It can be if you are just figuring out how to get your first clients. But in the long-term, you’ll find better paying clients by starting your own agency — and you’ll avoid the high fees of a freelance platform.
Selling on Fiverr
Once a freelancer has their account all set up, they can start selling Gigs on Fiverr. On the Fiverr website, they’re instructed to create a professional profile, create and monetize Gigs, and offer packages.
There are a few additional ways that people can sell and upsell on Fiverr:
- Provide extras and add-ons that make a Gig more appealing.
- Send custom offers and buyer requests to potential buyers.
- Diversify offerings to create packages that provide better quality products.
People who make a living on Fiverr have finely tuned the selling process. To catch buyers’ attention in this well-populated platform, you have to work hard and establish yourself as a quality seller.
For many sellers, that means working for low prices at the beginning, until they’ve built up enough reviews and ratings to get better prices.
On the plus side, going through a platform like Fiverr means you avoid unpaid invoices and all the effort of setting up an actual business. However, at 20% of your earnings, you are paying a hefty fee to work through Fiverr and you won’t necessarily get a steady stream of clients.
For sellers, the question, “Is Fiverr worth it?” comes down to whether you can charge enough and get enough clients to make it worthwhile.
If you provide any kind of digital services, I strongly recommend learning how to start an agency. It’s not as quick and easy, but well worth the effort.
Hiring on Fiverr
Hiring on Fiverr means setting up a buyer account. You can go with a free account as you browse and hire casually. If you want to use Fiverr more seriously, you’ll go into the Fiverr Business direction.
A Fiverr Business account costs $149 annually and will include some aforementioned fees. With a Fiverr Business account, you’ll get some additional tools, a curated feed of freelancers for hire, a customer rep, and as many as 50 users.
The goal with Fiverr Business is to create a collaborative, integrated environment where projects can be managed directly on the platform.
Whichever account you choose (Fiverr Marketplace or Fiverr Business), it’s important that you get to know the platform to make the right hire.
The Fiverr blog has some additional tips on how to find the right freelancer:
- Learn to carefully read and do compare Gigs from different freelancers. The details they provide will help you truly understand their level of competency and what they are offering.
- Don’t just hire the first person who fits the job. Make a shortlist and interview more than one candidate. Just like you would hire for anything else, take your Fiverr hires seriously and do the research to be sure you end up with the product you want.
- Instead of searching through tons of Gigs and sellers, use the “Post a Request” function to detail your project. Once you’ve added in all of the specifics of what you’re looking for, interested sellers can contact you directly.
- Learn how to use filters to your advantage. There are plenty of categories on Fiverr, some of which may overlap. It will be helpful to understand how things are categorized so you can quickly find someone in the right field, niche, or specialty.
- Go with your gut. At the end of the day, the person who works for you should not only be skilled but also be able to vibe with your workflow and culture. Even if they’re only responsible for a single project, everything will be easier if they can align with your agency’s processes and people.
As you know, Fiverr isn’t the only way to hire freelancers (or to get work as a freelancer). In fact, it probably has a mid-level reputation among other freelance platforms for your agency.
If you’re not sure whether Fiverr is worth it for your business, take a look at some of these alternatives:
Upwork is the big dog in this arena. With more than 18 million freelancers, it is definitely a good spot to find people to do the work. It has similar infrastructure elements to Fiverr that serve the purpose of ranking and rating freelancers and listing jobs.
Upwork also takes a 20% cut of freelancer pay, but only for the first $500 they make from you, after which it goes down to 10%.
Upwork manages work differently than Fiverr. It’s more people-focused, meaning you can focus on hiring the person, not just their gig. Upwork also has ever-increasing integrations with platforms like Zoom and its own payment portal.
Freelancer has been around the longest (other than PeoplePerHour) and was founded in 2009. It’s an Australian based company that has a similar global feel to Fiverr.
Freelancer has a few subscription options, making it a little different from Fiverr’s project-based format. Buyers can post jobs and projects, which makes it a good fit for both long-term and short-term opportunities. Freelancer takes the same 20% cut as everyone else.
Agencies can use Freelancer to collect professional bids and proposals, then hire qualified talent to do the work.
Guru is another freelance job posting platform where agencies can find workers. It’s used by more than 800,000 employers around the world. It focuses on similar categories to the other platforms and includes some professions like engineering/architecture, legal, and secretarial.
Using these traditional job categories, agency owners can browse skills and find one of the more than 3 million freelancers active on Guru. The price structure is a little different than Upwork, with a monthly subscription charge that decreases the cut taken by Guru from freelancer pay.
For creative talent, 99Designs has become an industry standard. Websites, labels, illustrations, logos, and branding are all available from graphic design experts.
99Designs is actually geared toward agencies, with the Pro option configured to optimize use for agency owners. The work is pitched and delivered on the basis of “contests.” 99Designs is a solid way to get as-needed creative talent for your agency.
Branded to appeal to professional industries, Toptal claims to have the “top 3%” of freelance talent. Their self-proclaimed exclusive network aims to vet freelancers so they are reliable experts.
Developers, designers, managers, finance experts, and more are given credibility through Toptal Project Consultants. The cascade of pay is more severe than similar Fiverr alternatives, with Toptal taking as much as 70% out of each freelance project.
Considered by some to be the first platform of its kind, PeoplePerHour was an original concept that launched in 2007. PPH lets buyers post projects and freelancers list skills. Then, it matches them with filtered searches.
Workers with skills can then submit bids or proposals for projects. Buyers review and accept these, activating the project. PPH takes fees from freelancers on a sliding scale, taking less for higher paying jobs.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about Fiverr.
Can You Really Make Money on Fiverr?
Fiverr has evolved into a platform that gives job opportunities to talented freelancers from around the world. People who want to make money on Fiverr have to commit fully to learning the system of projects, pitches, and payment. Revenue, as in any endeavor, is dependent on reputation and repeat business.
Is Fiverr Good for Beginners?
Fiverr is a good place for freelancers to start. It also may be a good place for people who wish to develop skills. Because people go to Fiverr to get a good deal, they may be willing to hire people who have less experience. This can provide valuable experience and growth in a skill.
Is Fiverr Worth it for Hiring?
Fiverr can be a good place to hire certain kinds of talent on a task or project basis. Because there is a mixed bag of skill levels, without much proof for meeting standards, it can be a gamble. This may mean that hires for professional jobs are better found elsewhere. However, as with any platform, there may be plenty of diamonds in the rough on Fiverr that are well worth a shot.
Can You Get Scammed on Fiverr?
Fiverr has gotten some bad press because of inauthentic profiles or having a “man behind the curtain” who is running multiple accounts. This can lead to scamming in the sense that the work suffers, is subpar, isn’t on-time, or isn’t what was ordered. As with any hiring process, it’s essential to vet the individual. This is easily done through video calls, reading resumes, checking out portfolios or even snooping for social proof and online reviews. While the potential is there to get scammed, there are plenty of good opportunities on Fiverr.
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