Clients from Hell

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Horror stories from freelancers
Updated: 1 hour 16 min ago

Did I stutter?

15 January 2019 - 12:00pm

Me: Please give me the contact information of the print guys, so I can talk to them directly.

Client: Send me everything and I will send the files to the printing company. 

Me: I need to be able to talk to them in terms of printing and specialized language. Please give me their contact.

Client: We already have a contract. I will send them the files myself.

Me: I’m not talking about a contract. I need a con-TACT from the printing company. I need to talk to them directly. 

Client:  We already have a signed contract. Give me the files and explain to me what I need to tell the printing company.

At this point I get frustrated at the thought of me teaching this guy everything I know, so he can have a professional conversation with the printing company. 

Me: I am not saying anything about a contRact!!! I am talking about a CONTACT, a way to talk directly to the printing guys, an e-mail, a phone number, so I can personally send them the files and answer all the industry specific questions that they might have for me. Please let me do my job and give me the CONTACT info of the printing company. 

Client: Oooooh, okay. 

Me: (fuming forever).

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final changes

15 January 2019 - 11:00am

A client reached out to me with an “urgent request” for “same day delivery.”

Client: Please! I’m doing a presentation and need this immediately! 

I delivered.

Every day for the next two weeks (yes, on weekends too), they sent me additional “final” changes, for a presentation that “happened” two weeks ago.

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<p>Me: I’ve attached your proof to this

14 January 2019 - 1:00pm

Me: I’ve attached your proof to this email.

Client: Should I look at it?

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DIY

14 January 2019 - 12:00pm

I was working as a concept artist for an indie company that wanted to make a video game. They needed a ton of assets and I wasn’t sure if I could fit it in, but they literally begged me to submit an art brief. I agreed.

They sent me a rough concept to go off. I started to put the artwork together, trying to give them a fresh take on the concept.

As time went on, they changed every… tiny… detail of my design to exactly fit the initial concept until they were practically designing it themselves via emails.

At this stage, I lost interest and passion. But when they mentioned working alongside another reputable design studio I sat up and paid attention. Having my work seen by them would be great exposure. Maybe they would hire me someday! These guys were one of the top design studios in my field. 

Client: So we showed your work to that design studio!

Me: Really? W-what did they say?

I was wondering what they thought of it, and nervous that I had no say in any of the design as the client had 100% creative control.

Client: Well, to be honest, they didn’t think you made it.

Me:

Client: They said it looked like you got a totally different artist to work on it.

Sigh. In a way, I guess I had.

I never worked on a second brief for that client.

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Save over 99% on 2000+ stylish and cute vector elements!

13 January 2019 - 12:00pm
Save over 99% on 2000+ stylish and cute vector elements!

This week’s deal is an enormous bundle of high-quality watercolor design elements!

> They’re cute AND elegant. Top that. 

You’re a great designer and a solid illustrator, but that doesn’t mean you’re great at watercolor. That’s where this bundle by Mikibith Art comes in. Harness their skill for your designs!  Deploying subtly beautiful flowers, adorable pets and stylish and adorable characters. The seamless flower textures alone make this bundle worth it, and the rest of the 2000+ add incredible value. Need a “girly” touch to a design? This bundle will get you there, fast. 

The variety this bundle gives you is normally worth $1000, but for the next week you can save over 99% and get all 2000+ elements for only $9. That’s less than half a cent per element. Get this brand new look for your design arsenal at the cost of only two premium coffees. 

> Check out the deal here. 

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<p>Client: I’m making a game, and I

13 January 2019 - 12:00pm

Client: I’m making a game, and I need assets for the tutorial.

Me: Sure, send me the wireframes.

Client: What’s a wireframe?

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<p>I got contacted by an on-again, off

12 January 2019 - 1:00pm

I got contacted by an on-again, off-again client to design their annual breast cancer benefit tee shirt. 

Client: We haven’t been using you for a while since our tee shirt printer guy does our design work for free, but the shirt you did last year was such a huge success and the guy who normally does our designs says your work is on a whole other level, so we really want you to do something unique and knock it out of the park this year.

After getting their thoughts on the general direction of the design, I send them back an eye-catching monochrome vintage tattoo inspired piece that fit with their message of cancer-killing warrior women and the general design brief. 

Client: This is perfect! You totally made everything we envisioned come to life! This is seriously amazing! Now can you just put our logo on the back of the shirt?

I swapped the logo colors to match the pantones we selected for the front of the shirt, added a small breast cancer ribbon and sent over the mockups. 

Client: On second thought, we really loved our logo on the back of the shirt so much that we think THAT should be the front of the shirt. Can you just simplify the current front design and put that on the back instead?

I managed to simplify the front design to something that still remained true to the spirit of the design and put that on the back. I wasn’t thrilled, but what are you going to do.

Client: We changed our mind again, sorry. Can we put the logo back on the back of the shirt, add a few more breast cancer ribbons to it, and then just put a big breast cancer ribbon on the front of the shirt with a quote about breast cancer and our name? We want this to be a super simple design. Thanks!

In the end, they ended up paying for three separate designs and still went with the ultra-generic tee shirt design that their printer could have come up with for free. I got paid, but I’m still bitter.

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<p>I was hired to write daily blog

12 January 2019 - 12:00pm

I was hired to write daily blog posts for a company that sells camping gear. Halfway through the project, I received a notification that it was cancelled and the client was demanding a refund for the last five posts. 

Me: What seems to be the problem?

Client: I checked your last post and it came back as being plagiarized! I will not use any more of your work!

Me: Well I most definitely did not plagiarize anything. Can you show me what got flagged?

The client sent a screenshot. The offending passage was a step-by-step guide on how to use a map and compass to take bearings. The rest of the article was completely clean.

Me: I didn’t plagiarize those steps. They have to be done in that order or the process doesn’t work. Anyone that writes about this topic will have the same steps in the same order. It’s like writing about how to solve an algebraic equation.

Client: I can’t use these! Google will punish me for using plagiarized content. There are plagiarism-checking sites you can pay for – you’re a professional! Use them!

Me: I’m not paying for plagiarism software because I wrote the articles. I didn’t copy/paste anything. Furthermore, with the publishing calendar we laid out, those subscriptions would have cost over $500 which is a third of the project total. If there are specific templates, style guides, or other tools you wish me to use, it is your responsibility to provide them.

At this point, the client began a lengthy rant about how wrong I am. I interrupted him.

Me: Look, you’re not happy with that article. That’s fine. I can provide a refund for just that article. Normally I wouldn’t do that but you’ve been a great client. Will that work for you?

Client: Absolutely not. I demand a full refund for all five articles.

At this point I shrugged and walked away, giving him the full refund. I didn’t think it was worth fighting over.

One week later:

Client: We accidentally deleted our blog and have no backup. Can you send me copies of the articles you wrote?

I sent him all of the ones I actually got paid for.

Client: Can I have those last five, too? I’ll pay you the original contracted amount.

Me: (after a long internal debate on what to say vs. what I’d LIKE to say) Sure. When the check clears, I’ll send them.

It did. I did. The client sent me several emails with happy reaction gifs. WTH?

My question for the writers here: Should we, as the providers, maintain our own accounts with these plagiarism-check sites, or is our clients’ responsibility to make sure our work meets their standards, using whatever methods they choose?

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<p>Contracts that don&#8217;t tell you

11 January 2019 - 2:57pm

Contracts that don’t tell you what you’re agreeing to are totally legal, right

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<p>I do some freelance illustration

11 January 2019 - 1:00pm

I do some freelance illustration work and sometimes take some random commissions online when I have spare time.

Client: Hey there! I was wondering if you could make me some cover-art for my Batman fan-film?

Me: I could do that. What would you need from me?

He proceeded to describe his idea, going into the finest details for each of the over 20 characters he wanted to be portrayed in the illustration.

Me: That sounds like quite a time-consuming project. I was wondering what your budget would be for a piece like this?

Client: Well, I’m currently a little short on money, but if you like, I could make it up by working for you! I could write stories or articles for you, or for your friends! Wouldn’t that be amazing?

He proceeds to send me some of his work, of which resembled the work of an enthusiastic teen discovering fanfiction for the first time while skipping their English classes.

Thanks but no thanks.

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<p>I work as an on-site graphic

11 January 2019 - 12:00pm

I work as an on-site graphic designer for a real estate company. We design mostly mailers and postcards for the agents to send out to clients but we also put together marketing packets and presentations for them to use with potential sellers or buyers.

One day, I received an email from an agent looking for us to send her a copy of a presentation we’d done for her in the past. After searching for our files, I found she had several variations of past presentations, and then this conversation ensued:

Me: Which presentation were you looking for again?

Client: The one from last year? The custom one?

Me: You actually have several custom presentations from last year. Do you know which one it is?

Client: It’s this one.

The reply had an attached copy of the file she was looking for.

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Superscript

10 January 2019 - 1:00pm

Hand-coded an HTML email for a client, as you do, and their digital PM sent this, bless her cotton socks:

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<p>Client: So this video on our website

10 January 2019 - 12:00pm

Client: So this video on our website does not load on my phone, or my co-worker’s phone. We’re both using Microsoft Edge. Can you fix this? 

Me:

Me: Try using literally any other browser than Edge. 

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wireless router

9 January 2019 - 12:00pm

Client: I set up the router like you told me but I still don’t have any internet.

Me: Is the router’s WAN light on?

Client: No.

Me: Are any lights on?

Client: No, it’s all black.  

Me: Did you plug the router in?

Client: Why should I? It’s wireless, isn’t it?

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<p>Like all the people working with

9 January 2019 - 11:00am

Like all the people working with computers, I too was mistaken to someone who knows absolutely everything and can do absolutely anything. 

I don’t mind learning new things, so when I worked for this client who built store furniture, I was asked to create 3D models, Build a 3D shopping app with a video game engine, and later on, create the company’s website from scratch.

All this while already working on other projects that were already part of my job.

I was working alone on all of this, since everybody else, well, built furniture.

They hired a digital PR. To this day I have no idea what she did, but she insisted the website just had to be done in WordPress… meaning I had to redo everything and create a custom-made theme that matched the work I’d already done even though I’d never touched WordPress before.

 One day I heard they’re doing a big opening gala to exhibit all the projects I’ve been working on, to show how digital they are. I was waiting for the invitation till the day of the gala. It never arrived. The client didn’t even come to talk to me about it.

On the same day (it was about noon) I went to ask him when to come, and he said I wasn’t invited (again, to exhibit all the projects I alone was working on).

Me: Why am I not invited? I’m the only reason you have a digital presence at all.

 Client: Honestly, I find it weird you haven’t been able to finish them all up until now. It’s been almost a year!

Me: …I’m sick. I have to go home.

I quit the following day.

Client: You can’t leave us like this! At least finish the website.

It was the worst website I will ever make. All WordPress templates were basically baked-in HTML code for each page.

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Make the most of your day at work and play: Josh Hoffman and time management!

8 January 2019 - 3:09pm
Make the most of your day at work and play: Josh Hoffman and time management!

It’s 2019 and that means you’ve at least thought about having a New Year’s resolution! How does working more efficiently and freeing up two of your hours a day strike you?

Josh Hoffman is a productivity expert who talks Kyle through his daily routine, offering tips on how to maximize productivity both at work and in play! Learn how to plan vertically, build good habits, and forgive yourself! 

Today’s links: 

Want to support the show?

This episode is brought to you by Easel.ly, an infographic design service that transforms raw data into clear, interesting images. You can see their work on Clients From Hell

Think you’d be a great fit for the show? Let me know at twitter.com/KCarCFH

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

Download here!

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<p>I am a freelance digital marketing

8 January 2019 - 1:00pm

I am a freelance digital marketing consultant and I charge by the hour, sending a monthly invoice at the end of the month so my clients can call me only when necessary and spend less. I was working with a new client who wasn’t used to this arrangement.

Client: Can you give me a quote? I need to invoice my client and your time will be a part of that.

Me: I don’t do quotes, especially for new clients, because I really don’t know how often you’ll need me and my services. It can vary a lot from client to client and month to month.

She insisted. I calculated something up, trying to be cheap, so she wouldn’t be scared away.

She then proceeded to book me for meetings with her clients. They were short so I didn’t charge her anything for them, but it was still unpaid time. That would have been fine, but:

Client: (out of the blue) Can you remove 50 euros from your quote?

I asked around – she’d done this with all her collaborators. They’d all accepted but I decided this wasn’t acceptable – it was time she learned that some people actually do have a spine. I refused to lower my (already low) quote.

Client: I’m sorry you don’t want to work with us anymore.

!!!

I responded with what I think was the wisest and most courteous path forward possible.

Me: Please remove my contact number from your cell phone.

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<p>This series of emails I just got

8 January 2019 - 12:00pm

This series of emails I just got from a client is a reminder of why I don’t work in offices on-site anymore. I think the stupidity in this speaks for itself.

Client: I’m sorry about that file we just sent you. We designed it and sent it and CMYK I’m not sure how it got converted to RGB. Unfortunately, I just left the office to go to lunch I’ll be back in about 45 minutes or so I guess I could send it back to you directly to you. I think our client saved it and then sent it on to their department and then to you so something had to have got lost in the translation. 

Client: Cancel the 45 minutes note above, I sent a voice text to our communications department and she will send to you directly in a few minutes. Not sure why that’s happening we are very familiar with RGB and CMYK and when each are needed it seems to be either an email setting issue or Adobe export issue. This client is the only person it happens with and we’re not sure.

I checked the file and it was in CMYK. It appears everyone was melting down for no reason.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to brew a cup of coffee in my own kitchen and enjoy the calm of remote work.

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User Submitted Post

7 January 2019 - 12:00pm

I was working on a website for a luxury consignment shop.  Part of the job was taking photographs of some clothing to be put on the website. I photographed all the products and asked the client to pick them up.  I put my phone down at one point and picked it up 10 minutes later, discovering the client had left a series of texts. 

Client: Got them! Thanks.

Client: One of the items is missing. Do you still have it?

Client: If you kept it, that’s theft. Those products are mine, you don’t just get to keep them.

Client: I’m going to call the police if you don’t return it immediately!

I knew for a fact that nothing was missing, but called anyway:

Me: Hey! I just got your messages. What exactly is missing?

Client: Oh nothing, that was a mistake. When will the website be done?

The client acted like nothing happened when just a few moments later she was calling me a thief. 

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And 11 year old file for a client I fired three years ago….

7 January 2019 - 11:00am
“Boy do I miss working with you…on that note I’m looking for some creative from 2007 and wanted to see if you might have it. I’ve attached two ads that were placed in Cleveland Magazine a decade ago that John wants to use for his upcoming ad in our publication. Let me know if you can help.

Email received today from a magazine ad rep for a client I stopped working for three years ago.

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