Clients from Hell

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Horror stories from freelancers
Updated: 43 min 32 sec ago

Do what I want, not what I gave you.

3 February 2020 - 2:00pm

Client: Here’s art another company made for us, recreate it.

Me: OK, here you go.

Client: This looks like a vehicle owner’s manual, I want it to look like the previous order. 

Me: You mean, the order you sent me? That I matched? 

Client: No, I wanted it to look like the art I provided. No worries… I will just go with the other company. All good.


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<p>I run a small web and software

3 February 2020 - 1:00pm

I run a small web and software development outfit and we accepted a contract to fix the website woes of this older gentleman. He has his website hacked and defaced every few months so our recommendation was to plug the holes and relocate to a new hosting provider.

Me: Transferring your emails could take a while – maybe a few hours. You have about 15 gigs. We’ll put off having you use the new hosting’s email server until we can get those migrated

Client:  No. Give me the access now, I’ve already paid for it.

Me:  Understood. Just so you know, you won’t see your old emails until we can get those transferred.

Client: Just get it done!

Me: Alright.

15 minutes later:

Client: I can send and receive new mail but I cannot find my old emails! I pay you well, I refuse to be treated like this! 

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Winter sucks. Treat yourself to new fonts. 44 Handmade fonts for $14.

2 February 2020 - 2:00pm
Winter sucks. Treat yourself to new fonts. 44 Handmade fonts for $14.

This week’s deal is a little treat you’re going to love: 44 handmade fonts for only $14.

> They’re delicious morsels that will make you feel better for a great price.

We’re neck-deep in the winter and it’s no fun. Inject some variety into your life with these awesome premium fonts that will rejuvenate your design practice. Enjoy the whimsy of Anthem, the sweetness of Dorayaki, the Edward Gorey-esque austerity of Stand By, and the refreshing simplicity of Monday. Each font is unique and useful, and if you sell one design with a single one of these fonts, you’ll make your money back and then some.

Normally all 44 fonts would cost $283, but this week you can save 95%% and pay only $14

> Check out the deal here! 

The post Winter sucks. Treat yourself to new fonts. 44 Handmade fonts for $14. appeared first on Clients From Hell.

<p>I’m a freelance video editor. The

2 February 2020 - 1:00pm

I’m a freelance video editor. The “client” here is a “former” friend.

Client: I need a favor. I need a movie trailer for Sundance.

Me: I’m really busy on another project. I wish I could help you but I don’t have the time.

Client: I can pay you 180 per shift!

Me: …That’s really low.

Client: I need you to finish it in 3 days.

Me: First, that’s not enough time to cut a really high-quality trailer from the raw footage you have and second, I really, really don’t have the time.

Client: I need you to start on Thursday

Me: I’m on a shoot that day and the following days.

Client: This is a really great chance to impress my DoP. He shoots dozens of movies a year – this could lead to more work.

Me: I really want to help you but I don’t have the time.

Client: I gotta go, I have another call coming in.

Me: OK. Good luck.

A few days later I discovered he unfriended me on social media. I saw him again a month later and he was extremely rude to me for having the gall to actually be doing paid work I guess.

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<p>I was writing a series of B2B emails

1 February 2020 - 2:00pm

I was writing a series of B2B emails for a client. All was going will until they didn’t pay my $800 invoice.

Client: I’m not paying for these emails. They’re not getting a 100% response rate.

Me: Typical open rate for B2B emails is 30% and the ones I wrote are getting 75%. That’s fantastic for industry standards.  

Client: I don’t care about industry standards. I’m the client – I decide the standards.

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<p>I was working on a simple window

1 February 2020 - 1:00pm

I was working on a simple window sticker for a client’s store just to let customers know the entrance was around the back. It should have been very simple but I had been working on it for days and we had gone through many different layouts and background images and he just wasn’t happy. 

I was showing him a few different design ideas when I accidentally pasted a massive image in the background using a hotkey.  

Me: Whoops! I’ll just get rid of-

Client: That’s perfect! That’s the one we’ll be printing.

You would think that would be the end of the story, but the next day he decided he didn’t like that one after all and we still haven’t reached a conclusion.

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<p>Me: So roughly what size would you

31 January 2020 - 2:00pm

Me: So roughly what size would you like the finished design to be? 

Client: Oh, about the size of a digestive biscuit.

Me: ….

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<p>I designed a logo for a guy. It was.

31 January 2020 - 1:00pm

I designed a logo for a guy. It was a small job, quick and easy. I sent the final file to him as well as all the individual elements so he could move them around if he felt like it.

Client: Everything is great! Thank you.

He paid, I moved on with my life.

A week later he wrote me.

Client: We need to do some changes to the logo.

Me: OK, what?

Client: I don’t like the color, the font, or the placement of things.

Oh my – that’s everything.

Me: OK, I’ll take a look at it.

I sent him the revised logo after his specifications.

Client: Everything is great! Thank you.

I moved on with my life.

A week later he wrote me again. Same story, nothing worked.

Me: What makes you think this isn’t working?

Client: I talked to a few people and they pointed out some issues.  

The story repeats, only the next time he wrote me, I told him that he had already paid for the logo, and I had already spent more time on it than I was paid for, so if he needed more changes he could do it himself with the elements.

Turns out he had been posting the logo online, and asked for people’s opinions in an open international forum, and whatever the trolls would tell him, he would take straight back to me, word for word.

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<p>I run an extremely successful social

30 January 2020 - 2:00pm

I run an extremely successful social media advisory business. A friend of mine called in a favor and got me to take a meeting with a large company. I made some time for it, thinking that this company could be a good long term contract.

Client: I had a look at your portfolio. It’s great. We want to bring you on board. 

Me: That’s fabulous! I’ll draw up a contract. 

Client: No, we want to hire you permanently. The hours are 9am-5pm.

Me: Oh…I don’t really do that. I’m a freelancer. 

Client: It’s a good gig. Just one thing. I don’t have the money to pay you as an advisor. I can only pay you as a receptionist. 

Me: No, I can’t do that sorry. 

Client: It’s good money! $20 an hour! You shouldn’t turn that down. You probably need the work. 

Me: I have to go.

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<p>Me: Hi, did you have time to review

30 January 2020 - 1:00pm

Me: Hi, did you have time to review the layout for the site? 

Client: Yeah, it’s not right though. 

Me: Okay, what would you like to change?

Client: I just want it more designed.

Me: Sorry, what do you mean by that?

Client: Why don’t you get it? 

45 rounds of revision later – I think it’s “designed” now.

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<p>I’m a tattoo artist, working at an

29 January 2020 - 2:00pm

I’m a tattoo artist, working at an independent shop. A client came in on a really very busy Saturday with a five-year-old.  

Me: Hey there, can I help you?

Client: Hello guys, I’m here for my tattoo.

Me: Do you have an appointment?

Client: Yes, of course.

After ten minutes of searching we figure out that she was booked in, but last Tuesday. She didn’t show up or message us in any way.

Client: But can you maybe transfer my appointment? I don’t want to lose my deposit.

Fair enough, I tell her that I’ll see what I can do. I’m not too keen to rebook no-shows, but I give her a second chance.

Me: No, not today I’m afraid – I’m booked for the day. The 21st is open, but I’ll have to rebook you…

She marched into the tattooing room, with her kids, while I was looking at available dates. She spotted the other tattooist who was taking a short break.

Client: But… he isn’t doing anything, he could tattoo me now.

The other tattooist had a full set up on his station – his client had just stepped out for a smoke.

Me: He’s in the middle of a session and just taking a break. I’m sorry, could you step out of here? The inner room is strictly 18+, you can’t have your kid in here. 

Client: Please! It’ll be a really quick tattoo. I’ll just keep him on my lap.

Me: Absolutely not. It’s the law and also a health and safety issue. And he doesn’t have enough time to clean up, much less prepare a new set for you.

At this point, the client started addressing the “kid in the room” problem as if it was the most pressing issue.

Client: But I have nobody to look after him. I have waited a month for my appointment, and I wanna have it done now. Could you, like, look after him in the other room? You could give him some of your pencils to draw with…

Me: I’m sorry but that’s not possible. It’s not a suitable environment for a small child and I’m not a childminder. AND we are fully booked for the day.

Client: Okay, then give my deposit back, I’m going somewhere else. What awful customer service.

Me: I’m sorry, but I have already spent five hours designing custom work for you, and a two hour canceled space you didn’t warn me about. Deposits are a thing so we don’t end up doing free work for no-shows.

Client: But I paid you!

Me: You paid me a deposit, and were given terms for that deposit.

Client: Can I talk to your manager? Who is in charge here?

Me: All of us. We all are self-employed.

Client: This is such a scam.

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<p>Yesterday, I met with some potential

29 January 2020 - 1:00pm

Yesterday, I met with some potential clients to discuss being involved in one of their projects. We discussed and agreed to a weekly rate for a 40-hour workweek when the following took place:

Client: The expectation is that you will donate 5-10 hours of your time per week to the project.

Me: I’m sorry, we just agreed on me being paid for 40 hours.

Client: That’s right, but we want you to work 45 – 50 hours a week, and we’ll pay you for 40.

Me: No, sorry. I will work the 40 hours stipulated but no more unless you pay for the extra.

Client: You see, this is why you millennials are never be able to afford to buy property!

I still fail to see the connection between working for free and owning property.

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Hostage Situation

28 January 2020 - 2:00pm

I’m a freelance graphic designer who, due to the nature of my regular clients, is usually really busy in spring/summer but things slow down for fall/winter. Because of this, I am generally more open to negotiations during that time. 

I saw an ad for a production designer that was riddled with spelling & grammar errors. No name for the company or contact person was given. Their office was also not in the same city that I’m based in. Despite this, I needed the work so I send them an email expressing interest and shared a link to my portfolio. I got an email and all it said was “Call [phone number]. ” Still no name. 

Me: I sent you an email about the production designer ad you wrote.

Client: Yes.

Me: Awesome. Can I ask who I’m speaking with?

Client: The OWNER!

Me: Yes, but I’m just wondering how I should address you.

Client: Um, by my NAME…

At this point she realizes she hadn’t given me her name and changes her tune mid-sentence.

Client: …Sarah!

Not her real name – changed for privacy reasons. 

She explained the type of work she needed, which was layout ads for a magazine, and I told her that I’m very familiar with that and I do it all the time for my clients here. Then she asks my rates and how I want to be paid.

Me: I usually charge $XX/hr, but because this is a slower period for me and we’re not in the same city I can lower it to $YY/hr

Client: Fine.

Me: So since this is a new partnership I won’t ask for anything up front. I’ll show you my work as I go and once you’re happy I’ll give you a print-ready version when you pay. 

Client: Wait, so you’re holding the ads HOSTAGE!?!?

Me: Well, no. I’d be asking for payment for the services I provided.

Client: But we don’t get paid by our clients until the ads run. That won’t work us, and frankly what your asking for is a sh*tty thing to do!

Me: I’m sorry you feel that way, and I’m open to other ideas. But I do want assurances that I get paid for my work.

Client: I can promise you I will pay you. But even if there is a chance of that not happening, that’s the cost of doing business. Clients stand us up all the time and we still don’t hold anything hostage!

Me: Ok, if that’s your business philosophy then I doubt would be a good partnership. Thanks for your time.

Client: Whatever…

I still don’t understand how someone can run a business under the idea that it’s OK to not be paid.

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User Submitted Post

28 January 2020 - 1:30pm

I’m a rapper and a producer. A rapper who was on the same label as me wanted me to mix a track of theirs. Big red flag #1 – He wanted it done the same evening.

I made the mistake of doing it for free because he was on the same label – a stupid excuse, in retrospect. Either way, I sent the finished mix/master to them, they thanked me and uploaded it… without crediting me.

Some time goes by with me asking them to add credits every once in a while. Eventually, he asked me to do another mix for him – again within a couple of hours. 

Me: I’ll do it if you add me to the credits for the work I already did. 

Client: Since the release has been a month ago, nobody would be noticing the credits anyway because nobody is listening to this song anymore (which is the truth). Also, the mix is shit, so you’d just get hate comments.

Thanks for telling me you disliked my mix one month after accepting and uploading it.

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<p>Genuine feedback I once received:

27 January 2020 - 2:30pm

Genuine feedback I once received:

Client: If I sh*t on your cupcake, you’d better tell me it’s chocolate!

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<p>Client: Hi. I hired your friend to

27 January 2020 - 2:00pm

Client: Hi. I hired your friend to do a logo for us – but she just wasn’t that strong.  Can you fix the logo?

I’m a graphic designer. My friend was a UX designer.

Me: Sure, what would you like me to do?

Client: I want it to show a ribbon of bubbles

Sends them ribbon bubbles

Client: No, not actual bubbles. That looks like soap.

Sends them vector ribbon bubbles

Client: That’s way too bubbly. More like fine bubbles.

Sends fine ribbon bubbles

Client: Those are too small. Something in between this one and the last one.

Sends them not-so-fine ribbon bubbles

Client: The ribbon isn’t square enough at the end.

Me: Okay, I’ll fix that – and what would you like to do about this middle part?

Client: I don’t know, that’s your job to figure out. You’re the designer.

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Master comic book style for only $16! 88% off!

26 January 2020 - 2:00pm
Master comic book style for only $16! 88% off!

This week’s deal is on a pack that will help you make comics, whether you’re jumping into graphic storytelling or just want a dynamic design for a client!

> It’s a shortcut to professional comic pages that look great! 

You’re a great artist and a sold draftsperson, but there’s a lot that goes into making comics. Panel layout, lettering, halftones and textures, speed lines and so much more. This kit gives you everything you need to turn your art into convincing comic panels fast. Don’t let the details stop you from telling your story – let this bundle’s over 300 elements help you turn it into a finished product! 

Normally this kit would cost $139, but this coming week it’s only $16 – that’s 88% off

> Check out the deal here! 


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<p>I was hired as a photographer to

26 January 2020 - 1:00pm

I was hired as a photographer to take a set of images to promote a New Year’s party event promoting a champagne brand.

Me: I’ll need you to provide the setting – so decorations and people to shoot for the party.

Client: Great.

The event was in collaboration with a luxury thermal resort. They asked me to come at the resort at 10 AM on a weekday of November. Once I got there I saw that there were no decorations at all, and nothing to suggest that it’s a New Year’s party at all.

I sent my assistant to buy balloons and sparklers.

Client: So, we don’t have any models hired but we thought maybe you could be in the photos to make it seem like there’s a party going on?

Me: I’m not sure how I can take the photos and be in them at the same time.

Client: Oh, right, never mind.

After a long discussion, we agreed to have my assistant model. We did the shoot and then, when we were about to leave:

Client: By the way, we want you to make it look like the party is at night.  

Me: That is not possible. You scheduled this shoot for midday, outside in the open.

 Client: Just make some “photo magic.”

Me: It doesn’t work like that.

Client: (spreading hands wide) Abracadabra!

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<p>I’m not the designer nor the client

25 January 2020 - 2:00pm

I’m not the designer nor the client in this story. I work at a start-up and my boss hired a freelance designer to design the company logo. There were WEEKS of numerous daily revisions, asking the designer to create multiple versions of whatever crazy idea popped into his head that day, demanding to have them done immediately and then rejecting them all.

Desperate, the poor designer finally decided to have a long meeting with my boss in which he worked while my boss watched him and not leave until the final logo design was approved. That meeting lasted six hours. 

The next morning, after finally approving the final logo design

Boss: I will not be hiring this designer for any future work. 

Me: How come? He did dozens of designs with every adjustment you asked for and did not even bill for extra hours.

Boss: Yes but I designed this logo. I shouldn’t even be paying him for it. 

Me: What?

Boss: Yes, everything was my idea. All that designer did was drag a few things around on his computer and do some fine-tuning. 

Me: ….

Boss: Anyway can you call him for me? I can’t login to my email and I want him to fix it for me. 

I think I should quit.

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<p>Client: Perfect! The homepage looks

25 January 2020 - 1:00pm

Client: Perfect! The homepage looks exactly as I wanted. Just the background image. Why did you make it such a bland color?

Me: Um… Actually it’s the same image we chose together, and the colors look quite vivid to me. Are you looking at the website from your laptop?

He had a very, VERY old laptop, with a couple of inches of dirt on the screen.

Client: Yes, but I’m sure most people have the same laptop as me. It looks good for you because you’re a designer and you have a super-PC!

Me: I can assure you that my PC isn’t special. it’s pretty normal and quite old. Also, I’m just checking it on a tablet and the color looks good.

Client: Can you make it more rich and bright?

Me: I could, but then it would look good for you, but horrible for everyone else.

Trying to show my point, I raised brightness and saturation ridiculously.

Me: See? Now it looks good for you, but here’s how it looks on my screen, as well as any other screen.

Client: Perfect! Much better! 


He kept the full-saturation image and was SO happy. 

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