Clients from Hell
A super popular fan account for an NFL team posted that they were looking for a designer to create custom YouTube thumbnails. I reached out to throw my hat in the ring because I figured it would be easy side gig money. They responded and asked if I could check out their channel and redesign a couple thumbnails to “see my style.” I generally don’t do spec work for free, but I had the time and they were pretty simple so it only took an hour.
Client: WOW we love your work! We noticed you do this professionally – would you be wanting to get paid for these thumbnails?
Me: Uh… yes.
Client: (no response, ever)
I am a Portuguese marketing chief for a Swedish marketing company. I was creating business cards for a client that’s based locally but exists in almost every country in the world. I noticed that the business cards they were making for their Brazilian location were in Spanish.
Me: I noticed your business cards are in Spanish – that’s kind of a bad look in Brazil, honestly. It would be like coming to Sweden with Danish materials. If you want, I’m a native Portugese speaker; I could translate them free of charge.
Client: No thanks. Portuguese and Spanish are basically the same thing.
No. They’re not.
As if this was not enough, their French cards also had Spanish and English words mixed up in them making no grammatical sense.
This week’s deal is some kind of giant, mutant MEGA deal, created from 26 other popular bundles at less than a dollar apiece.
There’s so much here – thousands upon thousands of amazing elements that are incredibly useful. Textures, patterns, image masks, vector symbols, vintage illustrations (including some SUPER COOL retro video game system diagrams), halftones, vintage wallpaper patterns… It’s a lot. A LOT a lot. This is among the best deals we’ve ever promoted here. Give yourself a gift. You’re worth it.
If you bought all 26 of these bundles together on their sale prices, they’d add up to $375. Again, that’s if you got them all on sale. For the next week, you can get a sale on that price and get all 26 bundles and its thousands and thousands of useful elements for just $21 – that’s literally savings on savings.
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I started my morning with this delightful conversation before I could even answer the email the client had sent about it 20 minutes prior. For background, we were replacing mirrors in a hotel: we reduced the number of different sized mirrors from 13 to 3 in order to, ironically, avoid confusion:
Me: Good morning, Client, how are you?
Client: Confused. I have 12 mirrors of type 1, 4 of type 2, too many of type 3, but none of type 3 when I should have 28.and I should have 28.
Me: I understand your confusion. Per the plans we sent yesterday, we are only using Types 1-3. Type 4 was consolidated in with 3, which is why you have extra.
Client: You don’t understand, type 4 is listed on this order.
Me: (panicking slightly) You should not have any of that. Are you saying you have four mirror sizes?
Client: No, I have three.
Me: Alright, that makes this easy: all rooms get type 3 except for the ones that get type 1 or 2. There are only 14 of these in total – just refer to the floor plan.
Client: I don’t know why you didn’t just send me a list of rooms saying which mirrors go in which room!
Aaaaand, we get to the heart of the matter: client just didn’t want to have to read the 16 room numbers that are different and wished we’d broken down all 450 rooms individually.
Me: Hello. I just spoke with the wife of the field engineer that was on the way to the data center. His car got hit by a truck while he was waiting at the lights. He is now on the way to hospital. It seems that his arm is broken. We can get another engineer on the site in an hour. Please let me know if you can arrange the access.
Client: This is totally unacceptable!
I’m a freelance artist that offers hyperrealistic traditional commission paintings, and my pieces usually take several weeks to complete. I received a message from a prospective client just a couple of days before Christmas
Client: Hi! I’m [Name]’s assistant and I’m looking to order a commission for one of their friends as a Christmas gift. What are your turnaround times like?
I had never heard of [Name] so out of curiosity, I did some quick googling to find out they were some Z-list celebrity I’ve never heard of with some very minor roles in a couple of well-known shows and movies.
Me: My work usually takes a few weeks to complete and I’m currently booked up for the next several months. I’m also afraid that the postage deadline for guaranteed Christmas delivery was last week. Let me know if you’d still be interested in booking, and I’m happy to answer any questions you might have!
Client: You’re sure you can’t turn it around by Christmas for [Name]?
Though certainly not my worst prospective client, it always surprises me that some people expect highly detailed work to be completed in a snap of a finger- and of course, wait until the last possible moment to try to order a commission.
Maybe they thought that name-dropping might motivate me to work against the laws of physics.
I paint murals but work part-time in a skate shop so that I can still turn down creative work that I don’t want to do. One of the other staff in the store left me a note about a customer who wanted a logo designed and had left their number. I don’t design logos so I didn’t follow up on it.
I phoned a customer who had special ordered some skateboard hardware. After discussing the hardware, this happened:
Client: Are you the artist?
Me: Yeah, probably.
Client: I have been trying to get hold of you for THREE MONTHS. I’ve left countless messages at the shop and they said they would leave you a note.
Me: What was it regarding?
Client: I need a logo designed.
Me: Right, I saw that note. It said to contact you if I was interestd, but I don’t really do logos so I wasn’t interested.
Client: I need a hand-drawn logo of a monkey…
Me: (interrupting) I’m sorry but I don’t design logos.
Client: Well if you LISTEN to what I WANT then you can tell me if you know anyone who can do it.
Because I was representing the shop I was polite and listened to the end. He was aggressive and condescending the whole time.
I said I would let him know if I thought of anyone. But I don’t think I dislike anyone enough to give them his phone number.
I work for a hospitality design firm: clients hire us, we design their hotels, the hotel brand signs off. Previously the approval process involved a 30% submission where they see our concept and general ideas and have the major design review, 60% with partial drawing set and minor revisions, and 90% where we submit a full drawing set and final tweaks occur. It’s caused us a lot of heartache, but after almost two years working with this brand we’ve finally managed to navigate their process. And then this morning…
Client: We just forwarded you the new Design Process package. Design Review will now occur at 60% and will require a 90% drawing set submitted for review. You are expected to have 60% of the design completed without any major feedback from the brand and complete the same round of revisions that you would at 30%.
I’m still trying to work out the math for how we’re supposed to have 60% of the design completed with 0% feedback prior to submission and still perform the revisions before the 90% submission.
Me: Good afternoon, according to the ticket placed you cannot load the website, I will need control of your PC for a few minutes, is that okay?
Client: Yes, thank you.
The client continued to work, typing responses to emails.
Me: Uh, for me to do this I will need to have full control of the PC, without your input. We cannot both use the PC at the same time. Would you like me to connect again later?
Client: No, it’s OK.
And yet they kept opening and closing emails for the next two minutes.
Me: It’s a quick job – I just need you to stop typing and using the mouse so I can get it done.
At this point the client “accidentally” (?) disconnected the TeamViewer session.
I have been in concert photography for some time and when I was starting up I used to shoot for free for some venues to get my name out there.
I mostly stopped doing that but some venues still invite me expecting me to do free work. This particular venue has been spamming me this summer so this conversation happened:
Client: Hey! It’s the last week before we close down for summer. There’s two concerts scheduled this week, would you like to shoot one of these?
Me: I am free to shoot the Thursday concert! Do you have a budget for these concerts?
Client: Unfortunately not. We have a policy not to pay for concert photos.
Me: Well, let me know when the policy changes. I changed my policy about working for free.
After attempting to reach out to a client for 3 months through various forms, with no response, I sent an invoice for a logo design (that had been done 4 months prior).
Client: (yelling) I don’t know why you’re sending me an invoice now. Why didn’t you just send me an invoice when you started? I haven’t even used the logo yet!
Me: I have been reaching out to you for 3 months and you haven’t responded. I figured the job wasn’t going anywhere so I thought I’d settle up for the work I did do.
Client: I still have things I want you to do!
Me: Well, I still spent hours working on this logo, and the last I had heard from you was 4 months ago, so…
Client: But I haven’t even used it on anything! Why are you billing me?
Me: At this point, I’m not even sure.
I eventually gave up, because getting paid would be more effort than doing the logo on the first place.
It will, if we start taking the right steps NOW. Adam Roach and Anya Switzer started LANCE, a freelancing solutions network in Canada in order to start pushing back against the race to the bottom clients want for their freelance employees. They share with Kyle their assessment of the problems freelancers face today and will face tomorrow, how they’re trying to get in front of them, and what you can do to make sure that your freelance career remains flexible and lucrative.
- Theme song by topmen.bandcamp.com!
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The post The future of freelance is freelance, but will that future work for freelancers? appeared first on Clients From Hell.
Most of my clients are great, but this one client is a bit… difficult to work with. I make ads for her company, matching the guidelines and sticking with the company style.
Still, this client needs to control everything, has always asks me to change SOMETHING even if I did everything the way she asked.I wind up having to revise a simple ad 10 times, every time. She is literally making things up for me to change and then act like I was supposed to know those made up rules she just made? And the next day those rules are changed again. These are today’s complaints:
- The exact same font we always use is now too “thick”
- A headline spanning over 2 lines has an underline that is apparently “thicker” on the second line (spoiler: they’re exactly the same size)
- The text was “corrected” to have grammatical errors
- A layout rule I’m asked to break in 99% of their ads is now super important to follow
- The spacing between lines is too short, even though yesterday she said it’s the size ALL ads should have from now on
And that’s just what I got this morning for one ad. I expect to get it back at least 4 more times with more nonsensical changes. Maybe the shade of blue isn’t yellow enough this time, perhaps the font is suddenly to cloudy, I just don’t know what it will be next. It’s driving me crazy.
A client asked me to take some photos for a birthday party and upload all the hi-res photos to a cloud server.
It took 3 days to process all the photos and upload almost 900mb worth of photos, 6-10mb each. I gave them the link.
Client: I’m having trouble downloading the photos on my phone.
Me: Yeah, your phone is going to have troubles with that many files at that size. You should probably view them on the the computer first, and then transfer any you want on your phone.
Me: You just wanted them for your phone, didn’t you.
Client: My computer at home probably has a virus or something, so the new website doesn’t load properly. Can you change the website so it will load properly?
I later found out the client was running Internet Explorer 8 on Windows XP.
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I had been working with a new client on a logo redesign. Typically, my logo process starts with 1-2 rounds of concept sketches before we move on to a more polished single concept. This client seemed particularly indecisive- he would like one concept and then a few hours later, he wouldn’t like it anymore; he can’t tell me why, what aspects he likes, what aspects he hates, he just “isn’t feeling it anymore”. We are SIX rounds of sketches in (paid hourly, thankfully), which comes to about 36 different logo concepts, and then this conversation occurs:
Client: I think that the latest one is one to explore…
Client: Maybe not though… people don’t seem to like it, haha.
Me: Who, exactly?
Client: I’m uploading these to Facebook and getting people to vote on them.
Me: So I have a committee of hundreds judging my designs?
Me: That explains a lot.
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Good branding never goes out of style. This bundle is a short cut to great branding and design.
Whether you’re branding a beard oil, a line of t-shirts or just designing posters for the company team-building camping trip, this bundle is going to make your process a dream. Retro logo templates, free fonts, vector illustrations and more make it easy to whip up an ironic scout badge or a billboard for an adventure tourism company. I’m half tempted to get the bundle just to make labels for my home-brew. These elements are fun and specific and will save you time and money if you want to harness this look for a design.
Everything in this bundle retails for $415 regularly, but for just the next few days you can save 97% and get them all for $14!
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My co-worker and I were developing a website for a client that wanted people who were blind to be able to use it. The scenario was that they use screen readers to navigate the site. We were going through some bugs they found.
Client: So one thing we noticed is that when the screen reader highlights the “close” button, it obscures it. We think people using screen readers will find this inconvenient.
Me: …So you’re saying that people who use screen readers won’t be able to see the close button.
Me: And, just to clarify, we are assuming that people who are using the screen readers are blind?
Me: I don’t think blind people will have an issue with not being able to seen something on the screen.
My co-worker muted the phone and we started laughing.
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I started work on a logo at a reduced rate because i’m an idiot.
Client: I don’t like any of those but I don’t know why.
I gave her a list of ideas and things she might like to see. We agreed that she wants to go a specific way.
I gave her a few options and she didn’t get back to me for about a week, so I followed up.
Client: I don’t know what to say, this is exactly what I asked for but I don’t like it.
Me: Ok, well i’ve mocked it up for you so you can get a better visualization of how it will work for your business. Let me know what you think.
It’s been over a month of follow ups now… I’ve sent an invoice for work completed and had no luck contacting her. I guess i’m not getting paid for this?