Clients from Hell

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Horror stories from freelancers
Updated: 1 hour 3 min ago

0% Financing, 0% okay.

8 February 2021 - 2:18pm

I had a client send me $200 of a $1000 invoice. 

Me: Excuse me, but your payment is only 1/5 of what you owe me. Are you planning on paying the rest?

Client: Yeah, cashflow is a little tight right now, so I decided to “finance” it.

Me: But… you didn’t ask me, and I didn’t agree to it. 

Client: Yeah, well, that’s what you’re getting next month. I’ll give you some more next month.

Spoilers: He sent me another $200 the next month and then I never heard from him again. 


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Incredible variety in 109 fonts — 99% off!

7 February 2021 - 4:00pm

This week’s deal is on a pack of 109 fonts with all the bells and whistles, selling for only $12. 

> That’s a small price to pay to turbocharge your toolkit. 

If you read our site, chances are you appreciate a beautiful font for what it is: a piece of art in its own right, and a powerful tool for nailing a design. This bundle includes 109 fonts in 75 font families, featuring a wide array of OpenType features and language support. Use Evergreen for indie cool, or Happylife, the “very kind and romantic” font for aspirational designs. Cupcake! for designs that are cute and sweet, or Peppermint for designs that are a little more off-kilter. I don’t have to tell you how to do your jobs. You see the possibilities

The listed price for all of these fonts is $1800. That’s obviously too much, but the discounted asking price of $12 is frankly way too little, so get on it.

> Check out the deal here

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Red is the color of disruption

7 February 2021 - 3:00pm

I worked with a client who did business coaching, designing their promotional materials and such. They were nice enough, but I have to admit – if they were good at business, I never saw it. It seemed to me that they were mostly good at throwing around buzzwords and self-help. That was fine for me, usually, but one time they gave me a full blast of nonsense:

Client: This really isn’t good enough. I’m not getting “passion,” I’m not getting “commitment to values.” I want the design to really speak to excellence, to disruption, to transforming industries. I want this design to change someone’s life.

I added red to the palette and sent it back.

Client: Perfect! I’m so glad you heard me. 

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You can’t expect things from me! I’m busy!

7 February 2021 - 2:00pm

I do website management, hosting and maintenance for clients – most of whom who have no idea what they’re doing. 

Me: What’s the server log-on?

Client: I have no idea. 

Me: That’s fine. Do you know who set it up, or who currently owns it?

Client: (getting visibly angry) You can’t expect me to know every little thing! I’m a busy man!

The post You can’t expect things from me! I’m busy! appeared first on Clients From Hell.

Surprise! Deadline.

6 February 2021 - 4:00pm

Client: How’s the site coming?

Me: Really well. I’ll have it to you next Tuesday for revisions, and we can plan on pushing it live by the end of next week. 

Client: Wait, what? But I need it by Monday.

Me: …This is the first I’m hearing about this. Why?

Client: I’m running a major ad campaign promoting the site, and it goes live Monday. 

Me: You didn’t tell me that!

Client: Well, it’s happening so get it done. 

The post Surprise! Deadline. appeared first on Clients From Hell.

I regret hiring you… Because I didn’t bother to read your contract

6 February 2021 - 3:00pm

I’m a food photographer for restaurants. I have a contract for all my clients to sign.  Starting work with a new client, I gave it to them:

Client: I’m never going to read it. Just summarize it for me.

I did. He signed it.

A couple of weeks later, I saw my photos on their Instagram account – butchered with Instagram filters. My contract states photos may be used in social media but must remain “unedited and unaltered.” I messaged the client politely to ask them to remove the post and remove the edits if they’d still like to use the image. 

Client: You told me I didn’t need to credit you for the photos, so I own them – I can do whatever I want with them. I don’t like to work with people who give me trouble.”

Me: That’s not what I said, and the contract you signed is much more clear on the matter.

Client: I regret hiring you. I did you a favor by giving you business plus complimentary food. Don’t forget, you asked me for business – I didn’t ask you.

But I also asked you to not infringe on my copyright? 

The post I regret hiring you… Because I didn’t bother to read your contract appeared first on Clients From Hell.

Photo finish

6 February 2021 - 2:33pm

Client: I like the top of the page, but under that it’s all just white. Can we change that? 

Me: Okay, do you want a different color or pattern under the text?

Client: I want photos everywhere so it all looks as good as the top.

Me: We can do that, but you have a lot of text. Putting it over photos might make it less legible.

Client: If the photo looks good, people won’t mind spending more time reading the text. 

The post Photo finish appeared first on Clients From Hell.

I’m retired

5 February 2021 - 4:00pm

Client: Do you think you can bring down the price a little? I’m retired and this is a side project for me.

Me: Well… I’m not retired, and this is my full time job, so…

The post I’m retired appeared first on Clients From Hell.

My mistake is YOUR job

5 February 2021 - 2:00pm

A client gave me a list of names on a piece of paper to incorporate on an acknowledgement page for their non-profit. I input them as well as I could, but some of the spellings were unclear. 

Client: You mispelled this name. It should end with “-oUr,” not “-Or.” Actually, looking at this I’m seeing a number of errors. Can you explain?

Me: Well, I had some troubles reading these names  – although I just looked at the mistake you pointed out, and that’s exactly how it’s spelled in the list you gave me.

Client: It’s your job to double-check these things. Don’t try to blame it on me.

Well I’m sorry I didn’t know the names of people who are strangers to me. 

The post My mistake is YOUR job appeared first on Clients From Hell.

Zoom in?

4 February 2021 - 4:00pm

Client: Is there any way to make our business bigger on Google Maps?

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Stranger Things have happened…

4 February 2021 - 3:00pm

Client: We want you to run the entire ad upside down.

Me: Why would we run the ad upside down?

Client: So when people see it, they’ll call to tell us how you screwed up – and then we’ve got them on the line!

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I wanted a “classic” design, not a “classics” design!

4 February 2021 - 2:00pm

Me: Since the final copy isn’t approved yet we have replaced it with Latin so we can focus on the design and not get hung up on the message.

Client: Well I can’t read any of this. How can we possibly approve this?

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This is blackmail!

3 February 2021 - 4:00pm

Client: Can you turnaround something by EoD tomorrow? 

Me: We haven’t spoken in three months. I’ve been trying to chase you down to pay an invoice this entire time. 

Client: Yeah, sorry about that – but this is urgent. Can you do it?

Me: Pay my invoice and I will. 

Client: Are you blackmailing me? 

Me: “Demanding what you’re owed” isn’t blackmail – but if it helps you to think that I am blackmailing you, sure.

Everyone has to go nuclear from time to time to get paid. What’s the most drastic measure you’ve had to take? Let us know!

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“Please crush my child’s dreams.”

3 February 2021 - 3:00pm

Client: My kid wants to be a designer, so they had a crack at designing the logo. Could you take a look?

Me: Sure! I don’t mind giving feedback to someone starting out.

They showed me the design. I was expecting “first year design student.” What I got was “crayon bubble letters and ‘I love my mom’ on the corner of the page.”

Client: Is there any chance you can base the final design on this?



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Long-hand URL

3 February 2021 - 2:00pm

Client: The link you sent me doesn’t work, could you send it to me long-hand?

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Not on my swatch

2 February 2021 - 4:00pm

I worked at a network (of a celeb who owns her OWN network – use your imagination).

They hired a new immediate contact who wasn’t really qualified. I realized she wasn’t when we were doing a brand-rework and choosing new PMS swatches.  She emailed photos of the swatches to her boss (who was also kind of clueless, but that’s another story. 

Me: You can’t email someone swatches and expect color accuracy. That’s why they make PMS books – so you can look at them in print.

Client: Really? Oh my god.  Okay, okay… how about this: pick a PMS swatch that matches what she’s going to see on her screen. 

The post Not on my swatch appeared first on Clients From Hell.

Yup…that’s how that works.

2 February 2021 - 3:00pm

I was designing an ad for a business who sent me a low-res PNG of their logo to use.

Me: The logo is too low-res. Do you have a vector I can use? They are usually .eps, .cdr, or .ai files. 

The client sends over the exact same PNG, just renamed “logo.eps”


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How about this…

2 February 2021 - 2:00pm

Client: Hi, do you have an ETA on the photos? We need to get started as soon as possible.

Me: Well, there were quite a few raw photos taken I’m still sifting through them all. I’ll have you the finished selections early next week.

Client: Well how about this. You send us your first selection, not edited, and we’ll make our own selection. You then finish those photos, and we can use the unedited photos as placeholders.

Me: Sure, sounds like a great idea! I’ll send them over ASAP.

A day later:

Client: What the hell is this? They’re not even finished, what can we possibly do with these?

Well how about this: bite me.

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Have I done something to make you think I am desperate?

1 February 2021 - 4:00pm

Got half-sentence emails from a potential client. Talking on the phone with him, he told me he wanted a package that includes a website and logo.

Client: What’s your quote?

Me: I’d need to get back to you on that.

Client: I’m surprised you don’t have a number prepared. You know, a lot of people would want this work.

Me: Yes, and I have plenty of work.

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U single?

1 February 2021 - 3:00pm

Me: Here’s the final version.

Client: Great, really great. Excellent work. Hey are you single?

Me: What? 

Client: My friend thinks you’re cute. Are you single?

The client’s friend stuck his head into the office.

Client’s friend: Hi!


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