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A collection of anonymously contributed client horror stories from designers.
Updated: 21 weeks 4 days ago

I’m a freelance graphic designer and I was commissioned to do a selection of designs including a...

16 January 2017 - 4:20pm

I’m a freelance graphic designer and I was commissioned to do a selection of designs including a logo, a poster and t-shirt and a video trailer for this event promotion project. 

Client : We want the t-shirt with the logo on it.

Me: Okay can you send me the full resolution logo file over?

Client : No, no, we’d like you to make the logo.

Me : That’s fine, I can add that to the quote.

I send them off the estimation, they ask for me to cut the video as it’ll be too expensive for them. I remove it and send it back with all the elements minus the video. 

Me : Is this okay? If it is I’ll draw up the contract.

Client : Yes that’s fine!

They sign the contract, pay the deposit and I begin on the logo first as it’s going to be used throughout the other designs. 

Me : For the logo design, it might be worth chatting to [original event hosting company] to see if they would want to reuse it for other future events, if so then it would cost a bit extra for an extended license which they might be willing to put up some money for.

Client : Oh! We didn’t want a logo. We were just using that as an example. 

Having already spent several hours on the logo, I was pretty annoyed. Especially since “Logo Design” was clearly marked on BOTH invoices and contract they agreed to.

I added the wasted hours to the final invoice.


> Want to know if freelancing is for you?

I am a web designer / developer working with a client who has pretty much zero concept of my time –...

16 January 2017 - 2:40pm

I am a web designer / developer working with a client who has pretty much zero concept of my time – or anyone’s time other than her own. Also, zero understanding of technology and how to use it.

I’ve been working on this project for four and a half months, and have nothing completed to show. I’ve sent her proofs of pages, asked for content…and gotten nothing.

I’ve gone a whole month without getting a single response from her. The company I work for is a smaller company and we’ve recently overhauled how we do our quoting system with clients. She is on the old quote system (no penalty for not providing content) therefore we cannot penalize her. It’s a nightmare.

Here is our most recent conversation:

Me: Can you provide links and/or reference images for the icons you would like designed as well as some logo ideas?

Client: Sure! I’ll have them to you by the end of the day.

She then proceeds to send me four pictures of some icons/images that she has googled on her mac book, then took a picture on her iPhone and THEN sends me the pictures from her iPhone email.

Me: Those aren’t really going to work. I need the original files to do anything with them. Could you send me the original links?

Client: I sent the links, they’re on the second line. Did you not get them?

Me: Yes, I received them. However these are low res iPhone images that will not suffice for reference images. I will need the direct links for the artwork you would like to use.

She then sends me the exact same four iPhone photos, and tells me to “check the second line” (in other words, the attachments).

I’m looking forward to this project being done. I’m not holding my breath, though. Hopefully within the next 10 years.


> Want to know if freelancing is for you?

How to Turn a Lead Into a Client

16 January 2017 - 12:04pm

From qualifying clients to education as a lead conversion technique, Bryce Bladon and Kai Davis discuss how they turn prospects into high-paying clients.

– 

Questions? Episode ideas?

Talk to Clients From Hell or Bryce Bladon on Twitter. Or shoot us an email

Clients From Hell on iTunes | Soundcloud
Subscribe on iTunes | Android | RSS


Download here!

DEAL: 42 Premium handwritten fonts for $9 - 99% off!

15 January 2017 - 4:20pm

This week’s deal is 99% off the suggested retail for a package of 42 premium, hand-written fonts! Valued at $748 altogether, for a limited time you can get all 42 for less than the cost of a single premium font. 

These fonts from Mellow Design Labs come with all the Opentype features you could ask for, including ligatures, alternates, and swirls, as well as an extended license for using them for commercial projects! Each font is one of a kind, and having 42 means that you’ll have the perfect choice for any project!

Bought individually, these fonts would cost $748, but if you buy today you’ll save $739 off that price and pay only $9. That’s 99% off!

> Check out the deal here!

A potential client once reached out that was doing a local coupon book mailer where local businesses...

15 January 2017 - 2:40pm

A potential client once reached out that was doing a local coupon book mailer where local businesses would pay monthly for him to design their ads and send the book out to many homes in the area. He reached out to me once and I tried calling him back several times but he never picked up.

It was weeks later that he finally called back and asked if I would be able to meet.

Client: Thanks for meeting me. I really need a new designer, the last guy I worked with was just awful. I mean, terrible.

Me: Oh, how so?

Client: Well first of all, if I asked him to make ANY changes at all, it would sometimes take hours to get those sent back to me. I mean, come on, what was taking so long?

Me: Oh, well…

Client: And his design skills? Don’t even get me started, it’s like he had no idea what to do with white space.

At this point, I was thinking “OK. I guess the old designer’s work was cluttered and didn’t use enough margin, I got it” but then he opened up a past coupon book and pointed at a very cluttered design with very little white space and pointed to what tiny white space was left.

Client: I mean, look at all this margin here that he could have used. Seriously?

After that he tried to convince me that he should pay me only for substantial changes to the monthly ad - “smaller” changes would be free. At one point he even said it would “great for my portfolio.

We no longer have a working relationship. Or any relationship, really, but definitely not a work one. 


> Want to know if freelancing is for you?

I work at a web design company. When we start a project with a client, we send them a detailed...

14 January 2017 - 4:20pm

I work at a web design company. When we start a project with a client, we send them a detailed content outline for their website. It’s a breakdown of the amount of words/paragraphs/headers we recommend for every individual page.

I received an email from a client who received his content outline a few weeks ago and before even getting a chance to open it he calls:

Client: Did you get my email?

Me: Just got it but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet.

Client: I sent you all the content for the website.

I open email and download a file with just pages and pages of testimonials.

Me: All these testimonials are great for the testimonials page, but we also need all the text for your home page and all your service pages.

Client: Oh… can’t you just use these quotes as the text throughout the whole website?

Me: Sorry this is taking a couple minutes to render, our computers are a bit slow.Client: I’m in a...

14 January 2017 - 2:40pm

Me: Sorry this is taking a couple minutes to render, our computers are a bit slow.

Client: I’m in a hurry.

Me: I know, sorry for the wait. It’s about 70% done now.

Client: Why is it taking so long anyway?

Me: The company has us running CC on an ancient desktop so the hardware is having trouble keeping up with the software.

Client: I’m a Photoshop expert you know. Why don’t you let me come back there and just get it done since you seem to be having trouble.

Me: (offended, and rapidly losing patience) Again. I know how to do it, and am actually finished. It’s just taking a minute to render onscreen. I’ve been doing this for years. If you’re an expert, why are you here?

Client: ….

I do freelance counseling and assistance for clients who want to get European funds for agriculture...

13 January 2017 - 4:20pm

I do freelance counseling and assistance for clients who want to get European funds for agriculture development. I got one client who wanted a project to develop his family farm. We had gotten quite far into the preparation when he drops this jewel on me:

Client: What do you mean? I have to sell and buy all my stuff with legal documents?

Me: Well, yes, of course! You will have regular control and audit visits when they will check your company papers.

Client: Then I have to give bills for everything I sell and pay taxes…how am I supposed to make a profit that way?

Me: Yes, you will have to do that, just like any other economic operator. It`s required by law.

Client: Then just drop it, I`m not going to cut down my profit.

I’m the owner of a print shop. 99% of the time we do the artwork for our customers. We always ask...

13 January 2017 - 2:40pm

I’m the owner of a print shop. 99% of the time we do the artwork for our customers. We always ask 1-3 business days to provide a proof for approval, depending on the complexity of the artwork.

One client placed an order of business cards for his beauty salon at 4pm, on a Tuesday. The next morning, just over 15 hours later, I got this email.

Client: I want my design proof now, or I’ll call the police.

I called him back.

Me: I’m sorry, sir, but there appears to be a misunderstanding. We reserve up to three days to provide proofs for original designs – if you look at our ads, it’s specified there.

Client: (with COLD FURY) I want my design proof now, or I will call the police.

I thought a bit about what to do. Ultimately I decided that I would cancel the order and refund his money.

However, I specified that someone else should pick up his refund, because if I saw him in our office I would “CALL THE POLICE.”

He sent someone the following week.


> Want to know if freelancing is for you?

Do you know that feeling when you call a client to collect payment and their phone is...

12 January 2017 - 4:20pm

Do you know that feeling when you call a client to collect payment and their phone is disconnected?

Great feeling.

Client: That item looks too massive. Make it more filigree.Me: But Sir, that’s your company’s...

12 January 2017 - 2:40pm

Client: That item looks too massive. Make it more filigree.

Me: But Sir, that’s your company’s logo.

Client: I don’t see a problem here.

Me: You hired me to design press kits and business cards for your company. I am not here to redesign your logo.

Client: I don’t want you to redesign it. Just make it more filigree.

How to Get New Clients from Referrals

12 January 2017 - 10:04am

Steve Gordon, author of Unstoppable Referrals,  joins Bryce Bladon to discuss how to get client referrals.

They cover:

  • Why referrals are so important
  • Obstacles that impede referrals
  • Reverse prospecting

> Check out Steve’s FREE referral course

– 

Questions? Episode ideas?

Talk to Clients From Hell or Bryce Bladon on Twitter. Or shoot us an email

Clients From Hell on iTunes | Soundcloud
Subscribe on iTunes | Android | RS


Download here!

Off-color client

11 January 2017 - 4:20pm

A while back I ran a design and repro bureau. A new client wanted a newsletter she had “designed” printed. She submitted the file, I ran the job, and offered to drop the finished printwork off at her house.

Client: I’m not paying for this. It looks AWFUL.

Me: What’s the problem?

Client: The colours are wrong - don’t you ever calibrate your equipment?

Me: I calibrate every week, sometimes more.

Client: Well I’m not paying. It’s rubbish.

To make a long and painful story short, eventually she ended up in front of my Mac. She brought up the Photoshop image on the newsletter cover.

Client: It needs more red.

She then started to alter the monitor controls, increasing the red balance.

Absolutely true story.


> Want to know if freelancing is for you? 

Client: We’re thinking of replacing our server….Their “company server” was just an old...

11 January 2017 - 2:40pm

Client: We’re thinking of replacing our server….

Their “company server” was just an old laptop. 

Yeah, it might be time.

"Due to past issues with dishonest Graphic designers I will no longer sign contracts or give deposits..."

10 January 2017 - 4:20pm
“Due to past issues with dishonest Graphic designers I will no longer sign contracts or give deposits up front without seeing a rough concept that I am okay with.”

- Client who has “30 other designers willing to work under these terms.”

I’m new to the freelance graphic design world and landed one of my first clients. They briefed me on...

10 January 2017 - 2:40pm

I’m new to the freelance graphic design world and landed one of my first clients. They briefed me on the simple email marketing piece they wanted. They asked for my rate, how long it would take and for something that simple I estimated two hours max. Once I finished the design I sent them a sample for their approval and told them to pay half now to receive the files. They paid the first half, approved the design and didn’t mention any revisions. I gave them ten days to pay the second half.

Ten days passed. Then another two weeks. I sent reminder after reminder, and received no reply, much less payment.

Finally, I was tired of being ignored and forwarded the reminder and another email to their main company email. A day later my client finally decides to get back to me.

Client: Look – we could’ve done the work ourselves. There’s really no design here. We didn’t approve it, and we’re not going to pay you the rest.

I work in the film industry but also direct and shoot low budget music videos in my free time. A...

9 January 2017 - 4:20pm

I work in the film industry but also direct and shoot low budget music videos in my free time. A band had contacted us, we shot their first video with no problems. They asked for another, great! We wrote a treatment, they approved it. Suddenly the day before the shoot, their bass player quits. Okay, we’ll re-figure the treatment. Approved. Cool. Against my advice, they insist they don’t want/need “band” footage (which really helps sell videos like this). Sure.

The day of the shoot, the owner of the house was belligerently drunk, messing with some of our equipment (we use/rent professional gear), and getting violent with others. Ugh. After cutting the video, we submitted it thinking we’d get notes for another cut, which is totally normal, but no. After no response for 24 hours, I messaged them:

Me: So what do you guys think of the video?

Client: We’re not feeling it

Me: Really? 

Client: Really.

Okay. Now they want a full re-shoot. Apparently the concept is “hard to follow” (of course, they approved the treatment) and now they want band footage (told you so). Because the contract wasn’t exactly clear, we decide to do a re-shoot to keep the peace. After rental fees, etc, we barely broke even. Live and learn.

Now they are begging us for ANOTHER video. After explaining to them our fees for rental, travel, etc, the price would be nearly triple what we had quoted for the others. They decided to hire a guy who used a handicam and iMovie. Seriously.


> Want to know if freelancing is for you?

I’m a freelance designer, working on a local businessman’s website.  The client wanted 4 or 5 pages...

9 January 2017 - 2:40pm

I’m a freelance designer, working on a local businessman’s website.  The client wanted 4 or 5 pages on the site, but never specified what he wanted on each page other than a title.

Me: In terms of design, I think I’ve finished everything you’ve asked me to do. Go ahead and take a look at what I’ve uploaded and let me know if you need any final tweaks before we wrap things up.

Client: Well I looked at it, but there’s no text on any of the pages!

Me: That’s right - you didn’t give me any content to put on the site. You wanted to do that yourself, remember?

Client: Well it needs something on there! Just write some stuff about my business!

Me: I’d be happy to add text for you, but you need to tell me what you’d like me to write.  I don’t know anything about your business other than that you repair HVAC units.

Client: I don’t know, just like…  stuff about my business. 

Me: Okay… how long have you been in business?  Are you insured, licensed, bonded, or registered with the Better Business Bureau?  Do you have a business address or a PO Box number or anything you can tell me about to add to the site?  What kinds of units do you have experience repairing?  Are you trying to reach a residential crowd, or a commercial one, or both?  

Client: I don’t want to give out any of that information.  I accept credit card payments though!


> Want to know if freelancing is for you?

The 2017 Freelancing Forecast

9 January 2017 - 12:00pm

Bryce Bladon and Kai Davis share their plans, their predictions, and their advice for the upcoming year. 

– 

Questions? Episode ideas?

Talk to Clients From Hell or Bryce Bladon on Twitter. Or shoot us an email

Clients From Hell on iTunes | Soundcloud
Subscribe on iTunes | Android | RSS


Download here!

DEAL: CFH Course bundle worth $569 for only $39 - 93% off!

8 January 2017 - 4:20pm

This week’s deal is both of Clients From Hell’s very own freelancing courses, offered together for the very first time at the incredible price of $39. That’s 93% savings on both!

Clients From Hell was incredibly proud to offer both Start Freelancing and Find Freelance Clients + Work, and we’ve helped many people start, or jumpstart, their freelance careers. Each course is self paced, and together come with tools, templates, and over 12 ebooks to help you make more money. At $39, these courses will pay for themselves in no time.

This sale is on for a very limited time only. Together, both courses typically retail for $569, but if you act now you will save $530 - 93% - and get both for only $39. That’s a deal you can’t afford to miss.

>Check out the deal here!