Clients from Hell

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Horror stories from freelancers
Updated: 2 hours 29 min ago

viral payload

28 March 2019 - 12:00pm

Client: We want to hire you to do one infographic per week ongoing long term. You choose the subject, do the research, write, design and illustrate them and you have to guarantee each one of them will go viral on the internet. We will pay $50 per graphic.

Me: If I had the magic ability to predict what would go viral I sure wouldn’t turn over my ideas and copyright to you for $50. Good luck finding someone who can do that and when you do be sure to give me their phone number.

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Just don’t copy anything

27 March 2019 - 1:00pm

I was making a logo for a client. He insisted that he wanted a true original – no copies. I did that.

A few days after everything was completed, I received another email from that same client.

Client: What do you think about this?

Me: What’s it for?

Client: The logo – I found this one on Google and I like it. 

Me: I thought everything was complete with your logo design. If there’s something you would like modified, we can discuss that.

Client: I talked to my business partner and we both like this one from Google. 

Me: You insisted that you wanted original work. Copying off Google Images is the opposite of that. Besides, that looks a bit like clipart.

No reply, but he then sent me another email with a stock photo attached.

Client: Use this but make it black and white thx.

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golden opportunity

27 March 2019 - 12:00pm

I do some freelance illustration. A client got my name through a class I was teaching in the community.

Client: I’ve written a children’s book, and I’ve been trying for years to get someone to illustrate it. I’ve published two books before, so I’m not an amateur.

He goes on to tell me his daughter is a famous (what is it you are?–oh, right, illustrator) but she won’t illustrate the book for him, even though he’s offered her %$#@ big money. He wants to get together to show me the manuscript, or get my mailing address. I give him my email address.

Me: If you email me the story or more info about the project and what kind of illustrations you’re looking for, I’ll get back to you with my rates and schedule.

Client: So you won’t give me your address or meet with me so I can give you the manuscript?

Me: If it’s already typed up, it would be much easier to just send it by email.

Client: No, I can’t. I can’t do that.

Me: Well, email is really the best way to contact me. I work mostly digitally, so the illustrations will be delivered as digital files–

Client: I’m not a complete amateur! I’ve written a children’s book–what more do you need to know? I’m a rich old *&^%#$, and I’m willing to pay big money for someone to illustrate my book! I can tell you’re blowing me off!

Me: I’m totally willing to hear more about your book, but–

Client: You just missed a golden opportunity to make some money. You’re blowing me off, and I don’t appreciate it!

Me: I’m not blowing you off; I’m sorry if you feel that way–

Client: *hangs up*

Yup. I’ll regret missing that golden opportunity for sure.

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comin

26 March 2019 - 12:00pm

Several years ago when I was still finishing up high school, I was pretty well known around school as an artist and sometimes did commissions to help with medical bills. One of my classmates approached me about designing a book cover for her poetry book

Client: How much would it cost to commission you for a book cover?

Me: Depends on the design, size, time, etc…. What’s your budget?

Client: I don’t know what my budget is, yikes.

Red flag, but she’s a friend. She gave me a bunch of specifications and examples of poetry books she liked, which happened to include covers from none other than Rupi Kaur. I didn’t know who that was at the time, but I can now guess why this client’s poetry didn’t sell. After she detailed what she wanted, she summarized it with:

Client: A’ight, so literally like thirty-minute minimalist shit.

The type of intricate flat line art (not my speciality) and custom designed font that she wanted was in no way “thirty-minute minimalist shit.”

Like a fool, I began doing the design before we discussed prices, partially because I was happy to have something to do and partially because I wanted to avoid commissioning the family member on my waitlist. I would ask for specifications and sent her progress pictures frequently.

Me: When would you like it finished by, and can we discuss pricing?

Radio silence.

Me: *sends a progress picture*

Client: Oooh.

Me: How much would you be willing to pay for this? Are you going to sell the book?

Client: Yeah. Just a heads up I don’t get paid for like two weeks so I can’t pay you until then. Umm. Is $35 okay? I can give you a cut of the profits if I figure out how to do that.

I, having little idea how much I should be charging for this, decided that this was fine because I really needed the money and she’s my friend. She said she’d get it to me when she got paid but that date came and went with me supplying the finished piece, and a few months later I asked her for the money again. 

Client: I literally have no idea when I get paid so this is fun. Do you want cash or Paypal?

I was freshly eighteen at the time and hadn’t gotten around to making a Paypal yet because all of my commissions were done in person. My client was seventeen and I figured she was using her parents’ account.

Me: Preferably cash.

Client: Okay I only have $20 in cash right now. 

I didn’t get any of it. I contacted her eventually yet again and mentioned that I had medical expenses that I really needed the money for.

Client: Okay would Paypal work? I’m getting paid tomorrow and I can Paypal you the money then.

Me: Wait, you mean it’s your own personal account? You know that it’s illegal for you to have one of those if you’re under eighteen, right? It can negatively affect you in the future. I’d delete it if I were you.

Client: Shit, thank you so much.

Guess whom I never heard from again? I graduated, and years later heard from mutual friends I still keep in touch with that she cut everyone off and followed her new boyfriend to college and lives with him. I’m not that upset about the money, because it’s only $35, and I’m not a confrontational person so I let it go.

But I googled my own name when applying for a stable job recently to see what potential employers would find about me and guess what one of the top results was? Her poetry book on Amazon, the cover of which was credited to me. 

 

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Toddler boss

25 March 2019 - 1:00pm

I was hired to maintain a company’s key spreadsheets to ensure all customer information is kept up-to-date, but the director treats me like his receptionist.

I was asked to summarise any calls that come in for him when he isn’t in the office, and send them as a list via email for him to call them back. He is then meant to send the list back to me, edited with his notes so I know the latest updates for next time they call.

Last week he was meant to make a total of nine calls. He left two of these so late that they gave up. I revised the list to remove them and sent them to him for feedback. He never responded.  

I was waiting on some notes from him through an entire week, and asked for them on Friday midday. Guess what, he’d started his weekend early and “wasn’t able” to send the notes.  

He also has 200 unread emails in his inbox and then complains that “nobody f**king communicates anymore”.

The guy needs a nanny, and it ain’t gonna be me.

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A favor

25 March 2019 - 12:00pm

Client: I need an aerial photo of the city for an ad.

Me: All right, that will be [quotes price].

Client: That’s double what I can get it for on a stock website, I was going to do you a favor and pay you [half of what he said the website wanted].

Me: So you’re telling me you want to pay me HALF of what a stock website wants and you’re calling it a favor? 

Client: Now you’re just trying to make me sound like a jerk.

Me: I just repeated what you said back to you. 

Client: Fine, I’ll just download something off of google for free.

 

I’m waiting for the ad to be published so I can reverse-image search it. You know, so I can screengrab it and do someone a real favor. 

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Create professional logos FAST with this template kit for only $14!

24 March 2019 - 1:00pm
Create professional logos FAST with this template kit for only $14!

This week’s deal is everything you need to put together basic logos FAST in one outstanding kit! 

> At only $14, even if you just use it to spitball designs it’s a great value.

You’re a professional designer, but that doesn’t mean you need to reinvent the wheel for every client. These logo templates help you conceptualize, pitch and put together logos FAST. Some clients want something unique, others want something simple and this will help you find out which is which. Having this bundle in your back pocket will help you create concepts to hone in on exactly what your clients are looking for in half the time or less! Shapes, fonts, textures and more make this a one-stop shop for making simple, attractive logos. 

At $14, if you sell one design using these elements you’ve already made your money back and then some. Save big for the next few days

> Check out the deal here. 

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User Submitted Post

24 March 2019 - 12:00pm

I met with a client in person for the first time after working remotely for months. I received this email the next day. 

Client: Hi. Right. Sorry about this but we’re going to terminate our contract with you. Don’t get me wrong, your work is great, but I wish you’d been upfront at the start about your physical presence. It doesn’t fit our company image and we can’t have anybody supplying us services who doesn’t fit.

Some advice: join a weight-loss group and join a gym. You won’t need those ‘walking sticks’ after. This isn’t an insult – you’re good looking otherwise!

Maybe we can work with you in future if you fit our image. Please waive our contract termination fees as you didn’t tell us at the start you weren’t a good fit. Thank you.

About the “walking sticks” I “won’t need.” I’m disabled from a serious car crash 10 years ago.

I’m not waiving their fee.

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User Submitted Post

23 March 2019 - 1:00pm

Client: I got a new laptop, but it doesn’t have a CD drive. I can’t load my printer software.

Me: Why don’t you download the drivers?

Client: Oh! Good idea.

Months pass.

Client: Man, I really wish I could print from my laptop! But it doesn’t have a CD drive, so I can’t load the printer software.

Me: Why don’t you just download the drivers?

Client: I tried that, but I couldn’t get it to work.

Me: Hm. Weird. Maybe you should call the tech support number on the printer manufacturer website. They can probably walk you through it.

Client: Oh, the website! I never thought about going to the website! Great idea!

Me: …Where were you trying to download the drivers from?

Client: …My Windows Control Panel.

After I finished laughing hysterically, we got her drivers downloaded, and she can now print from her laptop.

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User Submitted Post

23 March 2019 - 12:00pm

I own a gun store, specializing in AR-15 and AR-10 rifles, parts and accessories, gunsmithing, and so forth. A man came in with a box of parts for a complete AR build.

Client: So, I bought all this online and was going to put it together, but there’s no instructions with any of this or nothing. So I called a buddy and he said it’s easy, and I need a bunch of specific tools. So look, I been watching videos on how to put this thing together and I don’t have any tools or crap to do it and I don’t have the time. It just seems like a big pain in the ass.

Me: That’s no problem, we can put it together for you.

Client: Yeah, a buddy of mine said you guys did this sort of thing and probably have all the tools. I just don’t feel like messing with it.

Me: No – I get it, we put them together all day long. The first one is the hardest, but after that they aren’t so –

Client: (Interrupting) Yeah, OK good. I’ll throw you twenty bucks and you can take the wife or whatever out. So like this afternoon I can pick it up?

Me: Our hourly rate is $35, and it’ll take about an hour and 45 minutes once I can get to it. I’ve got other projects ahead of –

Client: (Interrupting again) I ain’t paying no $75 to have this built.

He picked up his box and left without another word.

I’d like to start applying that logic everywhere with everything. Today, I think I’ll go buy a steak, potato, maybe a few sides and head over to Texas Roadhouse, throw ’em a $20 and say “Cook this medium rare and warm the potato and sides.” Maybe after that I’ll swing into Jiffy Lube with five quarts of oil and tell them “I don’t feel like dragging my ramps out because it’s cold, but I want my oil changed  – here’s $20, go yourself something nice”. It will be interesting to see how this new trend works out.

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Emperor Of The Known Universe

22 March 2019 - 1:00pm

Client: Can you change the copy to Orange?

Me: Here it is. 70% Magenta, 100% Yellow. Is that what you’re looking for?

Client: No. Can you make the Orange a bit darker but brighter?

Me: (losing the will to live) ….

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Can you make it more like Predator Blood?

22 March 2019 - 12:00pm

Dealing with an influx of work from the newly created cannabis industry has brought in a new level of clients with no clue. We are working on jar labels and boxes for a client. He has a new “flavor” that we needed to create labels for. 

Client: I have a new strain I need jars labels and boxes, same layout as all the other, but this one has a new name and i want to have it in 3M yellow, I included a color chip link I found online.

Me: Ok here is the proof, for the yellow, we are matching the RGB from your color chip with a print in CMYK, but it should be close. 

Client: Hey, this looks great. I’m not happy with the yellow. Can you make it look more like Predator Blood?

Me: You mean, like the movie? Predator?

Client: YES! Like the blood that the predator drips on leaves. I’m sure you can google it.

 

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Client who did not pay.

21 March 2019 - 1:00pm

I was making a WordPress site for a client. He requested changes every single day and made crazy requests like removing all logos from the site. I also provided some PR consultation, giving them strategies for dealing with their EXTREMELY negative customer reviews that highlighted their terrible service. 

I sent my invoice and three days later received this message: 

Client: I’m not paying this. Your SEO wasn’t good enough.

This was strange, because they hadn’t given me ANY content that would help their SEO ranking. No images, no text, no nothing. ALSO, I new for a fact they’d paid someone else $800 a month for SEO but there was nothing in place when I was hired on. 

 

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<p>Client: What&#8217;s this PNG

21 March 2019 - 12:00pm

Client: What’s this PNG business? Send a transparent JPG instead, please. 

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Banner

20 March 2019 - 1:01pm

Client: Please widen the banner a bit and make it more narrow.

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Point of Sales “Help”

20 March 2019 - 12:00pm

Me: Hi, I heard you were having issues with your internet. What makes you think that?

Client: Well It’s not showing up on my computer.

Me: Yeah, I see that you’re not getting a signal. There’s a chance the router isn’t getting power – is it plugged into the same power strip as your PC?

Me: Can you go over to the power strip and flip it on?

Client: No.

Me: Well I can’t help much then.

Client: Why?

Me: Well… If they are plugged into the same power strip and you can’t turn it on. then I’m stuck.

Client: Hold on…

*banging noises*

Client: It won’t turn on…

Me: Do you see a switch of some sort?

Client: Yeah. But no matter what I do, It doesn’t do anything.

Me: How come?

Client: (sighing) I dunno, there are like 50 switches and none of them help.

Me: …50?

Client: Yeah.

Me: Really quick, can you turn one of those switches off and on a couple of times?

Client: Why?

Me: I just want to make sure nothing on my end is causeing it…

Client: Whatever, sure. I just need this system up before [time] or my customers are going to be pissed.

I listened in for the click. They were REALLY loud. 

Me: Maam are those switches… hard to turn off an on? Like a breaker box?

Client: What’s a breaker box?

Me: It’s normally large, mounted on the wall and some type of silver. It controls all the electricity for the building. 

Client: … 

Client: It’s not doing anything. 

Me: Is there a big switch at the top of all of them?

Client: Yeah…It’ss like a couple of them all mixed together.

Me: Let’s flip that one, and see what happens

*CLUNK*

Client: YEAH! 

Me: What happened?

Client: The lights turned on!

Me: 

Me: Maam did you have power?

Client: Yes?

Me: But the lights weren’t on?

Client: Well, my phone worked.

Me: is it a cell phone?

Client: Yes.

Me: …Your phone will work even with the power out.

Client: Really? 

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Dare to DREAM: Ami Sanyal and how to pitch value-based pricing.

19 March 2019 - 10:17pm
Dare to DREAM: Ami Sanyal and how to pitch value-based pricing.

Value-based pricing is the holy grail of freelancing. It’s how you make a lot of money by showing your clients that you can give them results. It’s also not easy to make the switch to this pricing structure!

Returning guest Ami Sanyal shares his DREAM framework for getting clients on board with paying you more! He walks you through:

  • Discovery
  • Repel
  • Establish Packages
  • Address Risk
  • Money

Ami was able to transform his agency with this approach, and he was good enough to share his framework with Clients From Hell!

Want Ami’s script for this approach? Text EZGROW to 393939 for a step-by-step guide! 

Today’s links: 

Want to support the show?

Order a custom infographic from Easel.ly! Use this link (https://www.easel.ly/infographicdesign/) for a great price! 

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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That’s not how it works.

19 March 2019 - 12:00pm

I’m a freelance website developer. A client tried to send me some information on an event and new logo they wanted to be posted on their website.

Client:  All the information for the event is already on the internet. I sent the link to your email. Don’t know why you don’t have it.

Me:  I’ll check my spam folder to see if it went there.

Client: Okay.

Me: I’m sorry, I still haven’t received it.

Client:  That’s weird. It’s already on the internet. I just need it on my website.

Me: Where is it posted? If you send me the URL to the page I can copy it from there.

Client: Sure, it’s (reading slowly) file-colon-backslash-backslash-backslash-capital-C-colon-backslash-users-backslash-client-backslash-desktop-backslash-eventinfo.jpg.

Me: Uh … that’s not a URL. It’s the directory path showing where the file is stored on your compu – wait, did you just drag the document into your browser?

Client: Yes! Now it’s on the internet. I wanted to make it easy for you —

(obscured by the sound of me banging my head on my desk.)

Me: Unfortunately, I can’t pull a document uploaded to a browser window on your personal home computer.

Client: Would it help if I sent you a screenshot?

Me: No.

The client then sent me the EXACT SAME FILEPATH in an email.

Client: I just resent it. Oh, I just remembered- I need a hundred large size copies to post around town.

Me: First, I need you to send me the file in a way I can retrieve it. Have you sent attachments in an email before?

Client: Sure, I do that all the time.

Me: I want you to make a new email. Attach your document to it and send it to me. Only attach the eventinfo.jpg.

Client: Can I send the logo also?

Me: Yes. I need that file to be as large as possible. Ideally, it should be in vector format.

Client: A vector?

Me: It’s an editable format that can be scaled to any size without losing the quality of your logo. The file type should be .ai, .psd, .eps, etc.

Client: I can do that. It’s a .jpg but I can save it as one of the others.

Me: That’s not how it works.

Wait for it…

Client: What do you want me to save it in? I have two of the ones you mentioned but I don’t have “etc.” format.

I’m beginning to question this career path.

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bright dark colors

18 March 2019 - 1:00pm

Client:  Please use bright dark colors.

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User Submitted Post

18 March 2019 - 12:00pm

My sister is a graduating design student and she usually takes some design projects on the side to earn money to pay for her rent. I sometimes act as her middleman since I’m more socially active and tend to stumble upon people who are looking for designers like her.

I recently went out for dinner with an old friend and our conversation went something like this:

Client: Hey, your sister is a design student right? Can you ask her if she can make a logo and do some branding works for our nutrition business?

Me: Yea. Perfect! She’s looking to take some more projects right now. Why don’t you send me the details. I’m meeting up with her tomorrow, she can give you a quote then.

Client: Quote? I was hoping she could do it for free.

Me: Oh… sorry. I don’t think she’s taking free projects right now.

Client: Wait, people pay her? But she’s just a student!

Me: Yea, well, these things take time and effort.

Client: Come on, if she knows it’s me asking I’m sure she’ll do it for free. I’ve known her since she was little.

Me: Nah, man. I don’t think so.

Client: Can you just ask her?

So I told my sister about this project and she just gave me an “Are you serious? Of course not!” look. I told my friend that my sister won’t take the project on and I received a lengthy message from my friend about me not knowing the value of friendship and how selfish my sister has become.

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