So how does Fiverr commission work, anyway?

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Why one seller thinks 20% commission is a good thing.

Freelancer Paul Maplesden writes content that builds trust with your customers and presents your business in the best possible way. He loves the challenge of taking complex subjects and breaking them down so they are easy to understand. Most importantly, he knows a Princess Bride quote for every occasion. Hire him for your next copywriting or content project on Fiverr Pro.

Fiverr has revolutionized my life as a freelancer. Since joining Fiverr as a Fiverr Pro back in June 2017, it has transformed how I work. The 8 – 10 Pro orders I complete a week are around half of my entire freelance workload. That results in plenty of money paid to Fiverr in commissions. It also means I regret nothing.

You see, being on Fiverr isn’t just about new opportunities, it’s about optimization. It means getting more out of the time I spend — even though I am giving up 20% of my potential earnings per job, I can afford to work for longer, which means better compensation.

In short, I love the 20% commission I pay to Fiverr. Let me explain why.

The Life of a Professional Freelancer

The life of a professional freelancer is spent in three main areas.

Finding New Work and Opportunities

The essential balance a freelancer makes every day is between the time they spend doing chargeable work versus the time they spend looking for new opportunities. Whether it’s applying to jobs, optimizing our websites, sharing portfolios, or chasing old clients, it takes a lot of time.

The hustle never stops either — even when I’m busy, I know the job will end eventually, so I’m always looking for new work. It’s why the feast <> famine lifecycle is so familiar to us!

Dealing With Clients, Administration, and Everything Else

This is the most subtle timesink of all, but it’s also the biggest. This is all the work we do that we can’t charge for. It includes all sorts of different areas like:

  • Raising invoices for work completed.
  • Completing payroll, expenses, and taxes.
  • Gathering requirements from clients.
  • Negotiating terms and raising contracts with clients.
  • Getting clarification on orders.
  • Responding to client emails.
  • Keeping records of time spent, money received, and finances.
  • Dealing with marketing and promotions.
  • And hundreds of other tiny tasks.

Doing Chargeable Work and Getting Paid

The most important area, this is what really matters. It’s the time we spend creating “stuff” and the money we charge for doing so. It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, designer, illustrator, or virtual assistant, this is what keeps the roof over your head! The more time we can charge for, and the more work we create, the more financially secure we are.

As a freelancer, you want to spend as little time as possible on the first two areas and maximize your time spent on the last one. To see why Fiverr’s 20% is worth paying, here’s a comparison of how I spent my time as a freelancer before and after joining Fiverr.

Area Time Spent Per Month
Before Fiverr Now Savings
Looking for new work 15 hours 0 hours 15 hours
Client requirements 10 hours 4 hours 6 hours
Client communications 15 hours 10 hours 5 hours
Client clarifications 5 hours 2 hours 3 hours
Client negotiation and contracts 5 hours 2 hours 3 hours
Invoicing 5 hours 2 hours 3 hours
Marketing 5 hours 0 hours 5 hours
Other admin 25 hours 20 hours 5 hours
Chargeable time 60 hours 90 hours 30 hours!

 

As you can see, time saved across all the other areas directly translates to more time spent on chargeable work. The upside? I’ve been able to invoice a third more since starting with Fiverr, even after taking their 20% commission into account. That’s a worthwhile tradeoff.

So, what is it about the Fiverr platform that makes it an optimal way to work? Let’s break it down.

Finding New Work and Marketing Opportunities

This is the single biggest benefit for me. Since starting on Fiverr Pro, my work pipeline has been completely full. That means no time spent on marketing, applying for new jobs, paying for ads and promotions, or guest posting.

I know I am lucky here. Being a Fiverr Pro has opened my work up to a whole new marketplace, and if you have the skills and expertise to capitalize on that, it’s a great way to fill up your work pipeline.

Some regular sellers experience a lack of work on Fiverr, due to multiple factors like competition, pricing, appearance in search, demand, and much more. In fact, it’s for reasons like this I don’t think any freelancer should focus exclusively on one platform. Diversification is essential.

But, for freelancers who can maximize their use of the platform, demonstrate the right skills, approach, end experience, and who can meet client needs, it can be a real windfall of work.

Productization of Work

One of the very clever things that Fiverr has done is to productize and package freelance services. This type of productization just didn’t exist before. Now, people don’t think twice about looking for a service, finding a gig they like, paying the fee, and getting the work.

There’s no need to negotiate prices, provide additional explanations, or request payment. Fiverr lets you offer a single service for a single price, no negotiations, no waiting for payment. This is huge. I don’t have to go back and forth with clients about pricing, then raise and send an invoice to get payment before starting.

The Fiverr platform handles everything for you. There’s no fear about not getting paid, the client knows the price ahead of time, and there’s no chasing down cold or warm leads. In fact, the main notifications we get are when an order has arrived.

Client Communications, Clarifications, and Requirements Gathering

With a little extra work when setting up a gig, you can save plenty of time down the road.

  • Clear gig descriptions — explaining how you can help and what you do means your clients know exactly what to expect.
  • Multiple pricing packages — clients can easily choose the right level of service for their precise needs, and add in extras if required.
  • FAQs — you can anticipate the main questions a client might have and answer them accordingly. This shows you understand their concerns.
  • Video — a great way to build trust, adding a video into a gig creates a sense of connection and understanding.
  • Requirements — detailed requirements gathering makes it much easier to get all the information you need up front. That way you can deliver an amazing product that your client will be delighted with.

This isn’t just good for you, it’s great for the client as well.

Other Areas of Optimization

Although these are the main ways I save time when using the platform, there are dozens of other little tweaks that make things easier, like:

  • Quick responses for messages you send frequently.
  • A review system so clients can see feedback from previous customers.
  • A tipping system for when they feel you have delivered amazing value.
  • A good communication system for tracking conversations and following up.
  • A dashboard to track all of your work.
  • No credit card fees! You aren’t giving up nearly 3% of each individual invoice just to take payment.

Fiverr examined the whole freelance experience, for clients and doers, and asked, “how can we make this better?” Then, they did just that. This all results in a faster, higher-quality, more pleasurable, and optimized way to work. And THAT is why the 20% commission is worth it to me.

Has Fiverr helped you land (and get paid for) more Gigs? tell us about your Fiverr freelance experience in the comments below.

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5 Comments on "So how does Fiverr commission work, anyway?"

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Gina Riley
Guest
Excellent article, Paul. I like the way you broke out your schedule into facts & figures. I’ve bought services from other freelancing sites, where complaints of the company taking 50% fee are rather common. There was a time when 5r had no processing fees, then it was $0.50, now it’s up to a $1.00 or 5% (whichever is greater) for buyers. 5r could have easily raised the sellers fee to 25% but instead, chose to have customers take on some of the burden of their administrative fees. All in all, good – bad – ugly, 5r is overall a very… Read more »
Paul Maplesden
Guest
Paul Maplesden

Thanks Gina, I am very aware of those other sites you mention! For me, the Fiverr commission level feels about right – 20% seems like a reasonable commission for the services I am getting, and as long as it brings in a profit for them and allows them to grow, it’s a win-win.

Wookie
Guest

I have one single question: the number of hours adds up to 140. There are a total of 168 hours in a week. Does that timetable mean that you only sleep and eat and live the rest of your life in a mere 4 hours ?
Wooow. You superman 🙂

Paul Maplesden
Guest
Paul Maplesden

If you look at the table it’s “time spent per month” not week. So I am not that super!

Tro
Guest

Nice one right on the target haaha

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