Clients from Hell

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Horror stories from freelancers
Updated: 1 hour 47 min ago

bright dark colors

18 March 2019 - 1:00pm

Client:  Please use bright dark colors.

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User Submitted Post

18 March 2019 - 12:00pm

My sister is a graduating design student and she usually takes some design projects on the side to earn money to pay for her rent. I sometimes act as her middleman since I’m more socially active and tend to stumble upon people who are looking for designers like her.

I recently went out for dinner with an old friend and our conversation went something like this:

Client: Hey, your sister is a design student right? Can you ask her if she can make a logo and do some branding works for our nutrition business?

Me: Yea. Perfect! She’s looking to take some more projects right now. Why don’t you send me the details. I’m meeting up with her tomorrow, she can give you a quote then.

Client: Quote? I was hoping she could do it for free.

Me: Oh… sorry. I don’t think she’s taking free projects right now.

Client: Wait, people pay her? But she’s just a student!

Me: Yea, well, these things take time and effort.

Client: Come on, if she knows it’s me asking I’m sure she’ll do it for free. I’ve known her since she was little.

Me: Nah, man. I don’t think so.

Client: Can you just ask her?

So I told my sister about this project and she just gave me an “Are you serious? Of course not!” look. I told my friend that my sister won’t take the project on and I received a lengthy message from my friend about me not knowing the value of friendship and how selfish my sister has become.

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Get an absurd number of beautiful fonts for only $15!

17 March 2019 - 1:00pm
Get an absurd number of beautiful fonts for only $15!

This week’s deal is on 138 fonts in 43 families with a BONUS of over 200 templates and illustrations for only $15! 

> It’s a ridiculous amount of design goodness at an absurd price. 

You don’t have to have a ginormous collection of fonts to be a great designer, but let’s face it: it helps. Get sans serif clean with Harley, vintage cool with Houston, dignified airs with Espoir and many, many more. If this bundle replaced all the out-of-the-box fonts that come with Illustrator or Photoshop, you wouldn’t even be mad because they’re great and they cover a lot of bases. Throw in illustrations and templates that pair beautifully with these fonts and you have a heck of a deal that’s 98% off for the next week.

The full asking price for everything in this bundle is $672, but you can save 98% and get them all for only $15. That’s a minuscule price for adding this much versatility to your toolkit. 

> Check out the deal here! 

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Lazy client

17 March 2019 - 12:00pm

I own a large format print shop and graphics studio in Smalltown, USA and have over 15 years of design experience.

Client: Can you print this letter for me? 

Me: Well, you know we really only do large format printing, but I’ve got some resume paper; I’d be happy to print it on my desktop, but… just wondering, why don’t you go to the UPS store? They could certainly print it for you there.

Client: I don’t feel like driving all the way over there.

The store was literally half a mile away. 

Client: Also, my computer just updated and says that I’m running an unlicensed version of Word and won’t let me save. So could you also retype this for me?

Me:

Client: I can wait.

Me: Well, unfortunately, I’m in the middle of another project. If I need to retype it then I’ll have to charge design time. 

Client: And what’s that?

Me: $50 minimum.

Client: I think I can go to the library.

 

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Less black please… :/

16 March 2019 - 1:00pm

When presenting a poster concept for a concert featuring a headlining band with five black men…

Client: We can’t have just black people on the poster.

Me: Uh…. well, that’s the band.

Client: I know that, but they can’t all be black.

Me: … 

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Can’t we just copy them?

16 March 2019 - 12:00pm

We were in the middle of building a website and designing the look and feel so it worked with the clients’ corporate identity.

Client: I hate that! Why are you using round edges and that colour blue?

Me: Um, because it reflects your brand identity?

Client: Oh. No, no, ignore that. We hate it. Let’s just use the colours of our competitor’s brand and keep everything really square like theirs. Actually, can you just copy everything they’ve done and make the site identical and put our name on it?

 

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Website Quote

15 March 2019 - 1:00pm

I have been working with a client that is representing an up-and-coming band. They wanted to start branding themselves by getting a website. I contacted them about helping them out and was even going to give them a huge discount to have their website in my portfolio. After the client missed the first appointment, we rescheduled to meet again. 

After our conversation, I was going to work up a sample and he would get me a check to start working. A few weeks go by and they haven’t been able to get me a check. 

Six weeks go by, and the client starts out with this:

Client: Hey [my name, misspelled]. I wanted to reach out to you and let you know that I will be sending you photos this weekend. When would we be able to get together again to complete the web page sample?

Me: I have been working on quite a few projects lately and have come up with some estimates and contracts to sign just to cover bases. Let me start by sending you over a quote for services so we can get started again.

Client: Yes.

I send the estimate over and stated that I was still going to honor the labor discount I originally offered. The total estimate was under $300 for a great looking website. A week goes by and I hear nothing from him again – so I reach out. 

Me: Hey, I wanted to reach out to see if you have any questions. Hopefully, we could move forward on this project.

Client: We have decided to place the website on hold due to finance. Right now that is out of our budget.

Trying to decide whether or not I should just never contact them again if they can’t afford something this cheap. 

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A long week

15 March 2019 - 12:00pm

I got a gig directing some videos for online classes. Very simple stuff, one camera filming some talking heads. talking.

The client had approved the script, the art direction, style, casting, etc. Everything was fine.

I delivered the first cut and the client approved everything and gave a lot of compliments. 

I sent the final cut and got another call from the client:

Client: Uh… my boss doesn’t like it. Can we redo everything? 

Me: We can, but you’ll have to pay me for the extra work.

At this point, she got very, very upset. Then she called my boss complaining about my attitude.

We have another meeting next week. It’s gonna be a very, very long week.

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User Submitted Post

14 March 2019 - 1:00pm

The client wanted a logo design.

I sent 25+ sketches and asked for feedback.  

Two days passed without a response. Then:

Client: So…what do what happens now? Do I choose one that you made or wait for you send more? How long will this take?

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Zip files, how do they work.

14 March 2019 - 12:00pm

I sold a website to a client. He rejected my offer of doing a free website transfer and said he’d install it himself.

Me: I’ve sent you the bundled zip file from XXXX Hosting for you to install to your hosting platform.

Client: I use GoDaddy, I can’t use zip files from your hosting for GoDaddy zip files.

Me: Here’s a link to GoDaddy explaining how zip files are universal.

Client: I don’t know why you’re making this difficult. You said you would do a free website transfer.

Me: Yes, I’m happy to transfer/install your website free of charge.

Client: I can’t give you access to MY hosting account, are you crazy? You need to take care of this and give me zip files that work for GoDaddy.

Me: (Lying through my teeth) Hey okay, I found special software just to create GoDaddy zip files. Upload sent.

Client: Thank you for finally paying attention. I unzipped everything but it doesn’t work with my new mySQL files.

Me: You can just use the existing file included in the ZIP. 

Client: This is taking too long, you need to install this all for me right away.

Me: I will need your username and password. You can create guest access.

Client: Why didn’t YOU tell me about guest access? I can’t know everything.

Me: Sure. Anyway, have you created guest access yet?

Client: No, I can’t follow GoDaddy’s instructions. Here is my username/password so you can log in and create the guest access.

 

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How to manage your time effectively

13 March 2019 - 2:00pm

Make the most of your day! Listen to this episode of the Clients From Hell Podcast

Get a custom infographic like this one from Easel.ly for only $49

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It’s a real job

13 March 2019 - 1:00pm

Not a client from hell exactly, but hopefully relatable. 

After four years of freelancing full-time and making a decent living, I thought that I had finally convinced my family that I was gainfully employed. 

Then one of them sent me a job advert. For less than I already make.

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User Submitted Post

13 March 2019 - 12:00pm

 

Client: I’m looking for a children’s book illustrator. My requirements are 100% non-negotiable: 

  • MUST BE “local” to zip code 19968… as you would need to meet with our author.
  • MUST BE over 40 years old, as we only publish older writers and artists.

  • PAYMENT is profit share of the sales, just like a large publisher. No advance or work for hire because we are a small press. No fees ever.

The book is a children’s book retelling local history through a conversation between a turtle and a local.

Me: It seems to me that you are limiting your options here.

  1. You can solve the meeting face to face by using Facetime, Google, or other online video conferencing. As a professional illustrator, I don’t know that I would stay in Sussex County Delaware to try and make a go of it.
  2. Again, if you are looking for an over 40-year-old in the zip code you are limiting the illustrator to, you are going to limit your talent pool. I’m not saying that Sussex County of approximately 10k residents isn’t full of incredible talent but you are setting some crazy limits.
  3. Payment isn’t payment at all. You are asking a professional to STOP what they are doing and work 6 – 8 hours a day on anywhere from a 10 to 24 page spread with change orders and IN PERSON conferences with the author for no guarantee of payment. The book could possibly crash and burn and that illustrator would receive a share of …..nothing.

You aren’t hiring you are asking for a volunteer or unpaid intern. You would likely get a response from illustrators “working to build their portfolio” but I doubt that person would be over 40. Good luck.

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User Submitted Post

12 March 2019 - 1:00pm

Client: I am not happy with the gradient of the background. People will think we couldn’t afford the ink to finish the job. 

Me: It is a digital banner. It will never be printed. 

Client: I don’t see your point. It still looks like it’s PRINTED with cheap ink.

Me: (heavy sigh)

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User Submitted Post

12 March 2019 - 12:00pm

I was working as an intern, and the client wanted me to design a board game. I was excited until…

Client: Why haven’t you send me the mood boards yet? I thought we were going to work on the next stage?

Me: I actually made the mood boards and sent them several times! I’ve been waiting for your response.

Client: Well, since you didn’t do the mood boards, I put together something myself…

He then pulled out one of the mood boards that I made.

Client: I can’t remember where I found these but I think we should start working on a design that corresponds with this mood board.

Needless to say, the rest of the internship was INCREDIBLY FRUSTRATING.

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<p>So close, but so, so far. Original

11 March 2019 - 5:15pm

So close, but so, so far. Original story here:

Sponsored by Easel.ly

Animation by Moon Hui (who is a designer at Easel.ly!)

Starring Carly Pokoradi and Cory Thibert 

Produced by Kyle Carpenter

 

 

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Nope nope nope

11 March 2019 - 1:00pm

I was approached by a potential client to edit pre-shot video for a series of safety training videos for a large multinational company.

After speaking on the phone and two in-person meetings with her I found her to be pushy and aggressive almost to the point of being rude (hey, I’m Canadian) and still not able to get her to agree on a fee structure. We finally agreed on a rate and project summary so I asked her to provide me with the footage.

This is where it went off the rails. She forwarded me to another videographer (that I knew professionally) for the footage. Turns out he had been contracted to shoot and edit the footage by her but retained the masters because she had refused to pay for the work done so far and was in the process of suing her.

I contacted her again and she provided me with “proof” that she had paid him and did have the footage. What she provided to me was a CD with a powerpoint presentation (embedded 120×80 MOV video files) that she was expecting me to “enhance” to HD and master to DVD.

Turns out the “proof” was a fake invoice she did herself using a photocopied letterhead from the other guy.

Me: This footage is unusable. I either need the original 

Client: Fine. We can reshoot – but I’m not paying you anything extra. My budget only covers editing.

Me: So you want me to organize a four day, eight location, three crew and two actor shoot of my own dime?

Client: You can recoup costs by selling DVD copies.

Me: Of your company training video?

Client: Yeah. 

I noped TF out of there and forwarded the fake invoice to videographer so he knew what he was dealing with. 

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The Cadillac of Truth

11 March 2019 - 12:00pm

An older client sat down with me to talk about building a web application and site for his new business. He’d recently retired from his previous career and was kind of braggy about it. 

Client: That Cadillac parked out front?  My company just gave that to me when I retired. 

I didn’t really see what that had to do with anything, but okay.

He proceeded to pitch a site in which users would enter all their personal medical information and contact info, which would then be put on a wallet-sized card for emergency uses.

Me: Will this be embedded on a chip or a magstripe?

Client: Oh, no, that’s too complicated.  I just want them to submit all the information, which I’ll send to the guy who does the printing and he’ll print it on a card.

Me: Do you have any security for this product? Or encryption? 

He gave me a blank look. 

Me: Okay, you’ll want to redesign some of this since this project almost certainly run afoul of numerous state and federal patient privacy regulations – to say nothing of the security risk of a lost card. I’d suggest you consider encryption, or a card-reading system or something like that. 

Client: No, no, no.  That’s too complicated.  I just want to print this all on a card.  We don’t need to worry about privacy or anything!  They own the card!

When I attempted to object, he cut me off. 

Client: Do you see that Caddy out front?  That means I KNOW what I’m talking about!

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170+ Photo-realistic shirt mockups for 95% off!

10 March 2019 - 1:00pm

This week’s deal is on photo-realistic mock-ups that show your designs on clothing!

> Seriously, it looks like you had a shirt made already!

It’s been said that an entrepreneur’s first business is a t-shirt company. That’s because this ubiquitous piece of clothing is easy to print, customize and sell! Whether you’re designing a new fashion line, polo shirts for a corporate retreat, or just showing how versatile your logo design really is, this mock-up pack will let you show your clients exactly how good your designs look on actual clothing. These mock-ups even show how your design would bend and wrinkle with the fabric! Seeing is believing, and it’s way easier to sell your concepts to a client when they can see how they would actually look when printed!

Normally these templates would sell for $350 altogether, or you could buy one at a time every time you tried to sell a shirt – but for the next week you can get all 170+ templates and cover your bases forever for only $17! That’s 95% off!

> Check out the deal here.

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<p>I worked on a logo for over a month.

10 March 2019 - 12:00pm

I worked on a logo for over a month with an out-of-state client. After I provided many different logo options and proofs for them, they still had no idea what they wanted.

Client: Yeah these are good I guess, but I think maybe something that represents our brand more, and what we do less.

Me: I’m not entirely sure what you mean. I’ve given you more than enough ideas to work with, each designed to your requests for them at the time. Can you give me some other specific examples of what you would like your logo to look like?

Client: We just don’t really know. We were hoping you could be creative and go crazy and see what you can come up with that makes our brand look sexy!

Me: (Staring at the email chain) I have given you some of my original ideas already, and without any clear direction on where I should take it, I’m at a loss for what to do for you at this point.

Client: We like #2, but can you add some “shimmer” to it?

They sent me metallic gradient examples of what they wanted it to look like.

Me: I can do the gradients, but a metallic texture that is that detailed would be difficult to reproduce as a vector image. There is lots of complex shading and lines that may not turn out correctly if I try to convert this to a vector image. And it may end up looking cluttered and unattractive; remember, when we started you said you wanted this logo to look “clean.” 

Client: Yeah we like the gradients, but can you make it shimmer like the colors that are on it? We like the look of the colors and how they fade into each other, but if you can’t do that then we can just do a gradient.

Me:

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