Clients from Hell
- A troublesome client receiving his business cards.
A colleague of mine asked if I could rebrand his company, and I agreed. He signed a contract, paid...
A colleague of mine asked if I could rebrand his company, and I agreed. He signed a contract, paid his deposit and we set a deadline for initial concept proofs. I met the deadline, and I send him the initial proofs. He chooses a concept, but I wasn’t certain that he really liked what I’d come up with, so I asked him if he’d like me to go back to the drawing board and keep working on something.
I assumed all was good. After the first round of revisions, I pressed him a little.
Client: What’s not to love?
I went ahead with the next round of revisions, after which he finalized the design and asked for the files.
Two weeks later (a month after I’d initially submitted concepts), I received an email.
Client: What do we do about the logo? It’s not masculine enough.
…Okay. I make the corrections he requested.
Me: Is that better?
Client: I don’t like it. Actually, I think it’s terrible. I feel like I’m not getting my money’s worth – I could probably put $300 on a contest website and get something I love, so why am I paying you? I mean, this is taking really long. It’s been over a month since I saw your concepts!
Me: …Well, maybe you can tell me more specifically what you’re looking for?
At this point, he sends me links to Google search results for “masculine logos.”
Client: I don’t know why I have to do all this research.
Me: I’m sorry you feel that way. But can you tell me what you SPECIFICALLY like about these examples?
I followed up a few times. Eventually, he texted me to let me know that he’d gotten my email but hadn’t had time to respond. That was over a month ago now. I’m still waiting for his response.
Jeez, I’m sorry it’s taking so long. Must be my fault. *shrugs*
It’s the complete confidence in ignorance that sells this one.
I was directing a fundraising campaign video, and the client wanted to bring in another camera operator
Client: So I’ll be calling in another person to do some extra shots
Me: Great! I have the shot list and I’ll send it over once I’ve marked the shots she can shoot with little to no instruction.
Client: Sounds good, thanks.
I sent the list. After a conversation with the other camera operator, it seemed like she knew what to do, so I stepped aside to let her work.
On the last day of her shooting, I came to the location early to see what was going on, and the second camera operator was chatting with the client. Approaching them, I said hi.
Client: So we’ve decided that she (the second operator) is going to finish shooting and edit and finish the whole thing, you haven’t turned up to any of the shoots last week.
I wasn’t “at the shoots” because I had previously organised engagements. I told the client WELL in advance and we’d agreed on a schedule… which was WHY he hired the second camera op in the first place. I reminded the client of this fact:
Me: You knew I couldn’t be there – we scheduled all this via email.
Client: How would I know? I delete all my emails after reading them.
I threw in the towel, took my gear and headed home.
The fundraiser failed due to lack of funds.
An actual message I received from my Print Broker client. He used to give me a lot of work so I returned the favour by charging HALF my rate, however, he now drip feeds small jobs and has a monthly spend smaller than my food bill. Lesson: Never drop your rate.
I’m currently working on illustrating three children’s books for some clients who found me through a...
I’m currently working on illustrating three children’s books for some clients who found me through a Reddit post. I had already agreed on doing the 30 illustration project for abysmally low prices- but at least I get 25% of all revenue, should it ever come to that, and with a solid contract I am protected against endless revisions. However…
Me: Hey guys, I finished several mock-ups for the cover. Please let me know which is your favorite. I would advise against having too many characters and details aside from the main character since you’re only publishing the book on Kindle and the screen will be really small.
Client: These are great! Let’s take the top left as a jumping off point. Can you include all 10 other characters and the two locations where the story takes place?
Me: I mean, sure, but it will be pretty busy. I really recommend you keep it simple for the screen.
Client: We’d like to have everyone on the cover.
I went ahead and gave them a new version. They approved it and I finally submitted the colored lineart.
Client: This is really wonderful! However, can we have another version with a more plain background? We’re concerned all that detail won’t be visible on a Kindle screen.
I was designing a landing page for a client. After showing him my initial idea:Client: I like the...
I was designing a landing page for a client. After showing him my initial idea:
Client: I like
the direction so far, but we need to keep in mind users do not read things. Do
not make them think!
5 minutes later
Client: Great, I’ll send over our copywriter in a moment because I really think more copy will push this to the next level.
- The fine print of a design competition.
My husband and I are old-timer animators and sometimes do work on the side, usually only for people...
My husband and I are old-timer animators and sometimes do work on the side, usually only for people we know well. Sometimes people pass our names on to others, and we run into situations like this:
Client: Hi, I got your name from ________. She said you are an animator.
Me: Yes, the old-fashioned pencil-to-paper kind. How can I help?
Client: I would like some animations done for my sister’s surprise birthday party.
Me: OK, what do you need to be done? And when?
Client: I’m putting together this presentation about how great my sister is! It’s going to be on three screens and I want it to look great.
Client: Wow, she sounds very special to you. Now, what exactly do you need?
Her: Some animations and pictures and things.
Me: So… do you want animation or cartoons? Those are two different things.
Client: Oh! Cartoons are good too! Lots of cartoons we can hang up and put on tables for people to take home. And one could be a cake-topper!
Me: …So you need both animation and cartoons. What kind of animation do you need?
Client: Some people dancing through the big slideshow to go with each scene, possibly acting it out to go with the pictures.”
Me: And when do you need this by?
Client: You mean when is the party?
Client: The big surprise?
Client: Next Friday!
Me: You mean three days from now?
I “respectfully” declined.
The next day, my husband got the identical request from her in his FB inbox, giving him TWO days. Not surprisingly, he didn’t even respond.
"It’s your own fault that you trust your customers. Next time you should demand payment in advance."
- Good advice from a bad person who didn’t pay me.
I’m an IT student who offered to help a woman I know to help build her website. Somewhere along the...
I’m an IT student who offered to help a woman I know to help build her website.
Somewhere along the line, I managed to be negotiated out of being paid actual cash, but in hat-making lessons. “No big deal,” I thought, “I’m into craft stuff anyway.”
First facepalm moment: she sent me a page full of WP themes she likes, all priced at about $80. I know for a fact she wants to do this as cheaply as possible *cough* hat lessons *cough*, so I do some googling and find some very similar free themes, and send them to her. I get a reply about five minutes later from her telling me she bought an $80 package.
Second facepalm moment: she installed this theme herself (well, with the help of a “friend”), but got impatient when it didn’t install fast enough, so she repeatedly clicked “Install” – which meant the homepage contained at least 50 menu bars. I had to clean them all up.
Third facepalm moment: halfway through this month she tells me she wants her site done by the end of the month. Now I tell her I have a lot of school work to get done and cannot fix her mess of a site in time. She says her “friend” can help her but wants me available to answer her questions… and she lost the link to the hosting site where the site is.
Needless to say that once this site is done, I don’t want anything to do with it ever again
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Client: Hey, we are interested in getting a quote for your services.Me: Great! What services are you...
Client: Hey, we are interested in getting a quote for your services.
Me: Great! What services are you looking for?
Client: Before we talk about any of that, how much will your services cost?
After 5 hours of work we sent the client a second iteration of logo design. He liked the first one,...
After 5 hours of work we sent the client a second iteration of logo design. He liked the first one, so we thought we would get positive feedback.
Client: I can work in Photoshop too, you know. Your design would take me approximately 20 min.
I work for an advertising website that advertises companies looking for franchisees. Clients submit...
I work for an advertising website that advertises companies looking for franchisees. Clients submit their content, I create a profile for the company, I send it to the client for approval, they pay the fee and the profile goes live on the website.
This client had a litany of complaints about their profile, including some of the details listed on the profile sidebar and the size of their images etc. I did what I could but they kept complaining.
Client: It’s been 3 weeks and we haven’t received any leads yet!
They haven’t paid yet, so their profile wasn’t even live on the site yet. I’m still trying to think of a polite way to explain this to them.
"Looks great, but only received one copy of the flyer! I had said that I’d like to print 250 of them"
- Client who thinks you EMAIL all 250 printed copies.
A client called asking me to remove the “PROOF” watermark from my proof so she could print it. After...
A client called asking me to remove the “PROOF” watermark from my proof so she could print it. After I spent 10 minutes explaining to please not print a low-res, unfinished, watermarked draft, but instead to use the clearly labelled hi-res final version which reflected several rounds of edits, she finally seemed to get it.
This is the text I received at 11:52 PM that night:
Client: Bad news, those letters didn’t come off when I printed it. Don’t bother fixing it now as that was my whole printing budget… not happy…
I shot a “tour” video of a hotel designed to show potential guests the facilities, accommodation etc. The star of the video was the CEO.
Once the filming and editing where complete, she asked me to do a few things in “post”:
Client: Could you make the bed in the background? It looks messy. Also, I really wish I hadn’t worn that cardigan. Can you take it off and just have my dress?
Client: I thought I asked for the page to be able to show TIFF
Me: I told you, most mainstream browsers do not support TIFF. We recommended JPG and PNG from the start.
Client: But the functional spec has it saying that TIFF is required.
Me: You mean the functional spec that you edited after it was signed off?
Client: I don’t care, just speak to the Chrome and Firewolf guys to make it work!
A former friend of mine had his arrogant father hire me as a web designer. He scheduled a meeting...
A former friend of mine had his arrogant father hire me as a web designer. He scheduled a meeting between me and his extremely erratic business partner.
His partner was over 20 minutes late, was all over the place, didn’t really understand anything about web design but threw all his random ideas at me without waiting for feedback. I waited patiently for him to finish speaking and gave him a quote – a quote that got higher the longer he spoke because this was a corporate site for a local bigwig and they were annoying the heck out of me, signalling what a tough job this was going to be.
I get a phone call later after our meeting from my friend’s dad.
Client: My partner said you were really unprofessional, you didn’t bring a pen and paper, you weren’t paying attention.
Me: I don’t need a pen and paper, I work from memory. I’m artsy.
Then, to prove it, I told him everything his partner requested verbatim.
He wasn’t impressed.
Client: I’m trying to offer you a job, but if this is how you do business…
Me: Your partner was 20 minutes late. He spoke at me for over twenty minutes without asking for input and then complained that I was being unprofessional.
Client: I’m trying to help you!
Me: Well I appreciate the thought but if that’s how you run your business, I’m afraid I’m going to have to politely decline.