Clients from Hell

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Horror stories from freelancers
Updated: 2 hours 42 min ago

“Neutral background…”

25 April 2019 - 1:00pm

I’m an artist and to earn a living, I paint photorealistic portraits of animals for commission. 

Every new client has the same process: We talk about the pictures, which I should use and of course: the background. Since I paint the animals quite big on the canvas, to have them truly “pop”, I usually recommend a single colored background. 

This client wanted 3 cats on a 70x50cm canvas. Completely doable. I got one picture per cat, one was completely blurry. One of the photos only had a blurry image of one of the cat’s heads, so I e agreed that I would only paint the cat’s faces since that’s what she gave me. The pictures only showed the head and a tiny bit of the body. When I’ve asked if she could send me a couple of more pictures, she never answered. But since I’ve already got paid 25% upfront, I started.

One day before the deadline:

Me: Hi! I’m done and wanted to see if you’re happy with it or if I should change something?

Client: It’s so beautiful! It’s perfect! Thank you!

Me: Great! I’ll ship it tomorrow.

The next day:

Client: Could you please change the background? It’s a bit too boring. 

Me: Alright. I could use some gold leaves?

Client: Perfect!

Two Hours later, I’ve sent her a picture of the painting. The client loved it. 

At 4 pm, I was just about to ship the painting and the client texted me again. She wanted a different background. In the end, the background ended up being abstract in greyscale and gold leaves. I worked until 11 pm and varnished the painting so I could ship it the next day. 

Next day, 4:30 am.

Client: Could you please paint the bodies of the cats too?

In the end, she accepted the fact, that the change won’t be possible and I’ve shipped the painting. 

I had to wait 5 weeks for the remaining payment…

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User Submitted Post

24 April 2019 - 2:00pm

I worked in an Emergency Room (department, whatever) where I was placed on a committee as a technical expert. I proposed using software that would require the doctors to undergo some training but would pay high dividends. 

Department Manager: I see no reason why these doctors should take this class.

Nursing Supervisor: It’s absurd that we should make the doctors do ANY training for this.

My boss: I don’t understand why the doctors should have to learn this.

Me:  This software will take about 5 minutes of work off of every patient they see. At 20 patients a shift, that time will add up quickly. It will also remove items X, Y, and Z from other people freeing them up for patient satisfaction. For the 6 hours of training required, that will pay off in time savings in weeks and cut staffing requirements at the same time.

Head doctor: That makes a lot of sense, we should do the training.

Department Manager, Nursing Supervisor, and My Boss: (backtracking) Oh of course we need to do this training!

They did not do the training.

Six months after launch I was brought into another meeting in which I was asked how the doctors could save time on every patient.  

Me: Well, there is that software that could shave five minutes off of all patient interactions. 

Department Manager, Nursing Supervisor, and My Boss: Why didn’t you propose this sooner?


One of my anniversary gifts from that employer was scotch glasses.  I didn’t understand until later how fitting a gift they were.

The post User Submitted Post appeared first on Clients From Hell.

That’s YOUR roster

24 April 2019 - 1:00pm

Me: Cool, send me the roster with names and numbers and I can make the video.

Client: Sounds good!

The client sends me the roster. I make the video by copying and pasting the names and numbers he gives me.

Client: Hey, I noticed you spelled some of the names wrong.

Nope, YOU spelled them wrong on YOUR roster.


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Client Editor From Hell

23 April 2019 - 2:00pm

Client: I want you to write a series of profiles about everyday people for our magazine.

Me: Great!

Client: I already have the first assignment. This woman is my manicurist, but she’s fascinating. She went through a long bout of infertility.

Me: Um….okay. If you say there’s a story.

I interview the manicurist and… she’s dull. Her story about her “long bout of infertility” was really “I had a long bout of infertility, and then I didn’t.” I did the best I could and submitted the story. 

Client: Why the hell did you write about this woman? She’s completely boring. I don’t think this is going to work going forward.

Me: I think you’re right.

The post Client Editor From Hell appeared first on Clients From Hell.

Information is key

23 April 2019 - 1:00pm

Client: I need this calendar updated by tomorrow for the coming months. Here is an old calendar for reference on layout and design.

Me: Ok, since it was just updating the months and info, I was able to crank it out quickly. Attached is the proof for design and layout. I will need the upcoming event information, though, as the info in there right now is just a placeholder. All the dates are correct, but I will need the new events and times to replace the old ones. If you could send that to me soon, I’ll get you a final version asap.

Client: I’m reeeeeally going to need you to update it to the current schedule. I’m not going to even open this until you include the correct information and times. Let’s try again.

Me: Yes, I’m waiting for that information from you. If you could send it or point me to where to find it, that’d be great.

Client: It’s all in this portal if you just look around a bit.

He included a link.

Me: It looks like that portal is locked, so I will need access to it. I will find the correct info if you can give me access. Thanks!

Client: I’m going to need you to figure this out, I needed the calendar yesterday!

Me: (throws computer out the window)

The post Information is key appeared first on Clients From Hell.

Come Work for “Nothing But Buzzwords, LLC”!

22 April 2019 - 2:00pm

Client: Hello, we saw your resume online and thought you would be perfect for what we have planned! How soon can you get started?

Me: I’m available any time. Can I ask what company this is?

Client: Oh, I’m sorry but that’s confidential. In order to maximize our marketing value, we can’t let anyone know we’re seeking help.

Me: Uh huh… well, can you at least tell me what you do?

Client: Certainly! We’re all about increasing our value in the professional community, and actualizing our potential and the potential of the people with whom we do business!

Me: Cute, but what I meant was, what would I actually be doing for you?

Client: You would be achieving more from your life journey!

Me: I see, and how much would I be getting paid for all this achieving?

Client: We believe in fairness and equality. We’re not all about the money here, we believe in putting people before profit!

Me: Right, I think I’m going to pass.

Client: But how can you turn down such an incredible opportunity?

Me: Oh, I never turn down incredible opportunities. Come back to me when you actually have one.

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Make-up currency

22 April 2019 - 1:00pm

I’m a graphic designer. My older cousin of mine is also one, but she ended up working in a non-design related job. She travels a lot with her friends, mainly to other friends’ weddings at the beach and recently took a course on how to do make-up

I got this call after she got certified:

Client: I’d like to have my make-up artist branding and I was wondering if you could make my logo to promote myself. I’m broke because I have lots of bills to pay but we could come up with an arrangement. 

Me: Uhh well, if you can’t afford a designer why don’t you do it yourself? You’re a Designer after all.

Client: I’ve lost practice and have no time to work on it! lol please help me out! I’ll pay you back doing your make-up any time you want.

Me: Since I’m a freelancer I can’t afford to work without a commission but I’d be happy to give you feedback if you design it yourself.

Client: Ok, fine, you don’t want to do it. Let me know if you change your mind.

I felt a bit guilty for not helping her since she’s family but I was sure she couldn’t afford me because of her lack of money management and priorities since she travels a lot and loves shopping.

Two weeks later she was sharing Insta-Stories of her and her boyfriend on a new trip. Guess she’s broke and got no time to invest in her business but she can take time and afford to travel?

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Get all the icons you’ll ever need for only $19! 80% off!

21 April 2019 - 2:00pm

This week’s deal is on 6,500 vector icons from Pixelicon for 80% off! 

> No more hunting for an icon to throw into your design – they’re all here! 

If you’ve ever needed an icon for a site, an app or a design you know there are plenty of options out there but that finding the right one is tricky or expensive. Sure, you can download a free icon off of the internet, but chances are you’ll need to put an attribution IN your design – which completely ruins the point! In this bundle, you can get 6,500 icons that cover the full range of your needs, from social to brands to commerce and more, for only $19! Each one comes in 7 file formats and is easily customizable. Finding a good icon when you need it is a headache. Buy this bundle and never worry again

Normally all 6,500 icons would cost $97 but for the next week you can buy them all for only $19. That’s a small price to pay to never search for royalty-free icons again. 

> Check out the deal here. 

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21 April 2019 - 1:00pm

I’m a writer who was writing an article for a client. I submitted it for review. 

Client: This intro is too short. Extend it to 150 words. 

I extended it. 

Client: This intro is too long. Also, I’m ending the contract because I don’t think this is working out.


The post Goldilocks appeared first on Clients From Hell.

Slam Dunk That Editing

20 April 2019 - 2:00pm

Client: I want the Kobe Bryant of editors, at Mo Williams prices.

This was the text of a job I saw listed on Upwork. Points for honesty, at least.

The post Slam Dunk That Editing appeared first on Clients From Hell.

Uninstalled required application

20 April 2019 - 1:00pm

I work as a software developer for a company, and sometimes the helpdesk passes over problems that require a coded solution. The other day though I get this helpdesk ticket where a customer was saying that the print margins were off on various print tasks.

It’s a problem I’ve seen before, and it’s caused by the 3rd party software that handles the printing getting its settings messed up on the admin account.

Me: They just need to log in as admin and adjust the print settings.

The next day I get an email:

Client: That didn’t work, so we uninstalled the third party program. Now we are getting a whole bunch errors.

Imagine that, you remove a required third-party program and suddenly our software isn’t working correctly. I get the idea of perhaps we need to uninstall and reinstall, but why in the world would they just stop after uninstalling it and then be surprised they now have all sorts of error messages?

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User Submitted Post

19 April 2019 - 2:00pm

Client: I want you to come to my office so we can talk about this face to face. If you don’t, I will work with someone else.

Me: You are 200 miles away, and we are talking about a deal worth 50 USD. If I come to your office I would lose money to do this job. 

Client: Well, I am not going to pay for your travel expenses.

Me: Even if you would, it would be still a loss for us, because our time is worth more. If you need a face to face meeting, If you want to meet someone face to face I suggest you find someone more local. 

Client: So that’s it? You don’t want my business?

The post User Submitted Post appeared first on Clients From Hell.

Can’t you download YouTube?

19 April 2019 - 1:00pm

A potential client presented me with his idea of a new social media platform to share tutorial videos.

Client: Do you know YouTube? Can you program something like that?

Me: Well technically yes. But that would mean a lot of work. And I mean A LOT.

Client: Great! All the others I asked told me it’s impossible. So how long do you think it would take?

Me: With all functionality and not just the looks and if I’m the only one working on it, full-time: more than a year, rather years. We should talk about what you expect in functionality…

Client: (cuts me off) Can’t you just download it and change the colors?

Me: Sorry?

Client: You know. Like “right-click” and then “save.” It downloads the code, right?

It took me a couple of seconds to find words until I very calmly explained the difference between client-side and server-side code, and that you cannot download server-side code.

And of course the legal issues.

Client: Hmm. Can’t you hack it?

Me: No. I can’t. And I won’t.

Client: Could you do it, if I could get you the code?

There were already too many red flags to proceed, but I wanted to see how deep the rabbit-hole goes. 

Me: …Maybe. How would you get the code?

Client: I know a guy who can hack. I’ll call him later and get back to you.

The next day.

Client: I cannot get you the code. I tried calling my guy and he said he will be temporarily unavailable for the next two to three years.

He then tried to brief me in his idea. I did not contact him or respond any further.

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Move it a bit

18 April 2019 - 2:00pm

Client: Okay, move it up by 1px.

Not much difference, but I attach the result.

Client: Right by 1px.

I attach it.

Client: Down by 1px.

Me: Are you sure?

Client: Yes, then move left by 1px.

Me: It’s back where it started.

Client: Sorry I meant inches, not pixels.

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A killer deal

18 April 2019 - 1:00pm

Client: My boss says he wants this completed. Can you assist?

Me: No problem! When will this need to be completed by?

Client: I’m just waiting for you to give me a killer deal.

Me: I can do this for £XXX.

Client: A little more than the budget can handle right now – give me 24 hours and if things change I will get back to you.

Me: How much is your budget for this project?

Client: No budget – just trying to get the best possible killer deal.

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Scumbag “Author” chastises me for asking for better pay

17 April 2019 - 2:00pm

I’m a 21 year old digital artist & by no means a professional, but my art is pretty good. Last year, I came across a guy who was an author looking for an illustrator for his book. I told him I had no experience doing books & only drew in anime/cartoon style. He was ok with it & I worked nonstop on the art. After I finished the first book, I agreed to work on the next book but asked for more a higher payment on the next book. 

Me: I would like to be paid per drawing this time & I’d like to negotiate the prices. Please let me know if these are fair for you : B/W $5, colored drawing $15, book cover $25

The prices were dirt cheap because I didn’t know how to price illustrations for books.

Author: I find your request to renegotiate your options to be quite rude. They hint at a level of greediness and based on a complete lack of understanding of our business relationship. Therefore I do not accept your offer and believe the prices quoted to be outrageous.

I do not believe you truly understand our business relationship. I am not your boss, I am your customer. My part in this business relationship is writing stories, your business is creating illustrations. If I hire you for a job, you are a cost to me with a certain value amount, and I am your customer paying you for a service that you provide. In order to receive any form of payment, the value (need/want) must always exceed the costs. This is true in every transaction that ever happens. For example, you pay for food because the value (or need/want) is greater than the cost (the amount of money or the feeling of being hungry). When you choose to purchase anything, it is because the value (or need/want it fills) is greater than the cost (the money or your desire to be without the need/want).   You have requested an increase of what you will cost me (your pay) by a total of 225%, but you have not increased your value to me by 225%, or even by anything for that matter. Requesting a raise by a specific dollar amount is how mundane people do it, and are almost always denied. Request a raise by a percent and then justify it with why you deserve the percentage increase. Let me clear this up for you…   I have in my contact list over 25 different artists from all over the world who responded to my ad. These artists have a tremendous more amount of skill than you do and by this I mean they have each sent me links to their websites, various commissions, and examples of their skill which ranges from 5-15 different styles of drawing, depending on the artist. This means at the lowest level, you are competing on a worldwide market, and your competition can draw anything from stick-figures to still-life, and from Manga to 3D rendering, which includes actual animation sequences. Have you increased your skill level by 225% so that the increase in pay you demand is justified? Have you added 225% more to your repertoire of different drawing styles and techniques? Remember, you have only shown me variations of one style and openly admit not being able to draw some things, curly hair, buildings, horses, things in motion, etc.   In order to request additional money, you must increase the value of your service. There are 3 criteria in which you should excel before you ever request a raise from any employer or justify an increase in cost to your customer… The first one is Rarity, meaning how rare is the service you are providing. Can your service be found anywhere or are there only a few people providing it. This is a reason why diamonds are so expensive and quartz stones are not. Diamonds are rare and can only be found existing under certain conditions, while quartz can be found walking down the street. How rare is the skill, talent, or artistic vision in the service you are offering? Is it 225% more rare than the rest of the competition?    The second is imitate-ability, meaning how easy is it to imitate the service you are providing. Can your service be easily imitated or duplicated? I am well aware that the style of art that you use as well as the application is not very advanced being barely above a sketched that has been filled in with a color fill button, and parts of the images (such as the lightning and moon) are pretty much cut and paste into the image, rather than drawn from scratch. I assure you, I can easily remember watching the students in the Anime/Gamer’s club while I was in college using the same method that you are using to create your art. That being said, is your style, skill set, or method of operation 225% more difficult to duplicate, or differentiated from the other artists who want me as their customer? I have a personal friend who can draw everything that you have drawn without using a single line, she uses pen dots for everything. This skill would be difficult to imitate and thus be worth the price she would request if I wanted work from her.    The third (but not final), is quality, meaning is the quality of your service or work above and beyond the rest? This is pretty much self-explanatory. Is the service, or artwork you provide 225% better than other Manga styles, or is it basic at best?   [Editor’s note: the submission contained 8 more paragraphs of this and is clear proof of sociopathy].   All this….because I asked for more money. After almost two months of work, I got $1.38 in royalties. Didn’t even get a free copy, I had to buy a book with MY OWN money. He said he’s a customer, but treated me as if he’s a scumbag boss & I am an underpaid employee.   tl;dr – what an incredible asshole. 

The post Scumbag “Author” chastises me for asking for better pay appeared first on Clients From Hell.


17 April 2019 - 1:00pm

My client needed a design for a three-piece, stacked sign with each of the three pieces offset from each other. I was given a pic of the manufactured sign with dimensions. The second and third pieces looked similar in size, but because they were offset and the picture was taken at an angle, it was difficult to tell exactly how they differed from each other.

Client: Second piece is 7′-2.5″ wide x 2′ tall. Third piece is 47′-19″ wide by 2′ tall.

Me: 47 feet and 19 inches? In the picture, it looks like the third piece is very close in size to the second piece. Can you verify the dimensions?

Client: Yes. I took the measurements myself.

Me: If the middle sign is only 7 feet wide, I don’t think the sign under it is 49 feet wide, plus an additional 19 inches.

Client: The third piece is 88″ wide. If you would have just added the two measurements together, you would have had the correct width.

Seriously? First of all, who the hell writes 49′-19″ when they mean 49 inches and 19 inches. Second of all, who the hell writes feet and inches out like that? Why not just write 50′-7″? Lastly, 49 and 19 do not add up to 88.

*bangs head*

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Don’t sell service, sell STRATEGY: Annabelle King’s tips for great pitching

16 April 2019 - 3:41pm
Don’t sell service, sell STRATEGY: Annabelle King’s tips for great pitching

When pitching your work, most creative freelancers sell their skills or their services. However, the key to landing big clients is to show that you’re an indispensable part of their team by selling strategy

Anabelle King realized this over years of working at agencies, and now she lands big clients with her boutique branding business I Like Storytelling. She shares her strats for creating a collaborative relationship with her clients in today’s episode! 

Today’s links: 


Want to support the show?

Order a custom infographic from! Use this link ( for a great price! 

Think you’d be a great fit for the show? Let me know at

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or recommend us to a friend. It helps immensely.


Download here!

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Now that’s what I call “WOW factor!”

16 April 2019 - 2:00pm

My client insists everything needs to have a “WOW factor.”

Trying to please, I decided my next project was going to be 3D using the latest Maya, WebGL and three.js technology. It took 3 – 4 months to make and I thought it looked great.

Today I get a text message from his assistant saying he wants to take it down and replace it with a downloadable 8.5×11 PDF. 

Real WOW factor.

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User Submitted Post

16 April 2019 - 1:00pm

I’m an illustrator and sometimes take commissions online for a little side money. 

Client: I’d like you to draw my girlfriend in a cute pose for a birthday card for her.

Me: Sure thing. Could you please send me some photos of her?

He sent me a dark, grainy photo in extreme close-up he snapped on his phone, no flash, of his girlfriend sleeping in bed.

Me: Um… I can’t really tell what she looks like. Could you send me a better photo? Maybe not so dark and one of when she’s awake so I can see her features better? I also can’t tell her body type with an extreme close-up like this.

He then sent me almost the exact same photo but pulled back a little to show her entire body… under blankets. Very helpful.

Client: I can’t send you one of her awake cause then she’ll wonder why I’m taking a photo of her.

I do my best to draw a generic cute girl with some of the very basic features I can detect in the photo, e.g. long dark hair, round face… basically just that.

Client: This doesn’t look like my girlfriend at all!

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