Clients from Hell

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Horror stories from freelancers
Updated: 1 hour 52 min ago

User Submitted Post

31 July 2020 - 2:00pm

Client: What is this PDF? We need to send a vector file to the printer! Give me a vector file! 

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Learning New Things

30 July 2020 - 3:00pm

I was meeting with a Client, and he had a random question towards the end of our conversation. He had been working in his Administrative job for about 20 years.

Client: Oh, by the way, how do you e-mail a group of people? I’m trying to figure out how to do that for work.

Me: Um… have you tried copying and pasting their e-mail addresses into an e-mail?

Client: No, I’ll try that. That makes sense.

Me: Yeah, or you could Google how to e-mail a Group based on the e-mail that you’re using, such as Google or Outlook.

Client: OK, that’s helpful too.

Before you ask, yes, this happened THIS YEAR. He asked this a question in 2020. 

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An online shop, but they can’t buy it online.

30 July 2020 - 2:00pm

Client: I would like a website to promote a book that I’ve written, so people can buy it.

Me: Okay, so you need an eCommerce platform so people can buy it from the site?

Client: No. They can fill in a form and then I can invoice them, and they can pay by cheque. No one buys things online, it’s not secure.

Me: I assure you, people do, and we could set it up with a very secure payment processor.

Client: No one who wants to buy MY book would be stupid enough to enter their card details online.

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User Submitted Post

29 July 2020 - 3:00pm

Client: I want you to call the +200 contacts on this list and make new clients. Also, I want you to design this brochure, some Facebook ads, and 5 banners for my website.

Me: Okay, what should I work on first?

Client: Both. You need to design while on the phone! All the previous designers did that, don’t be unprofessional.

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User Submitted Post

29 July 2020 - 2:00pm

Client: Can you link our page to our Wikipedia page?

The company has an “About Us” page. I still can’t figure out why you would want to direct traffic away from your own website and toward a third-party site that has no stock in painting you in a positive light.

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User Submitted Post

28 July 2020 - 3:00pm

I was doing some contract work for a company, building their new website. It was a WordPress site and required a lot of specially programmed PHP customization.

I was placed under the head of IT. He was running the project and had written most of the code for the project.

Or so I was told.

Client: I wrote this plugin that integrates with a third party service and this cron script. They’ve suddenly stopped working. Can you fix them?

I took a look at his plugin. It did much of the required task but just stopped before the full task was done. It had no error checking whatsoever, just assuming that the third party service would always send a good result back. It was also spotted with comments like “I’ve added this here in case you need it later – Nish”, and “Not sure why you want this, but it’s done now – Raj.”

I didn’t say anything. I just fixed it and moved on to the cron script. Same thing. Half done, no error checking, and odd comments.

While the Head of IT was collecting a nice wage and claiming authorship of all this work, it was clear he was subbing it out on the sly to much cheaper, not very competent coders from overseas.

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Cautious of watermarks

28 July 2020 - 2:00pm

I work for a company that sells Christmas display ornaments to businesses.

Client: So, these won’t have your faded logo on them, right?

Me: That’s the fourth time you’ve asked. No, we don’t print a logo on these displays. Why do you ask?

He sent me a cellphone pic of his screen. It was our e-com site, and a mock-up of the product – which had our watermarks all over it.

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User Submitted Post

27 July 2020 - 3:32pm

A potential client asked me to make some edits to his blog. I requested he added me to the users, and because I would need to make some changes to the site I asked him to make me an administrator

Client: I set you up as an editor. Hopefully, you have all the access you need.

Me: Not quite, actually. To make a few changes I’ll need to be an administrator, at least for a day.

He not only removed my user access, but he also blocked me from his website.

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Hide and Seek

27 July 2020 - 2:00pm

A few years ago, part of my job involved keeping a commonly-shared Excel spreadsheet updated with test cases and test outcomes.   

One day I decided to hide some of the columns temporarily.  I forgot to “unhide” them, then I saved the spreadsheet.  Dumb mistake, but no big deal, right?  


Me: Oh!  No, but I DID hide them and accidentally saved the spreadsheet that way.  Sorry about that.

Client: Sorry?  SORRY? Have you any idea what you’ve done?

Me:  …but …it’s not that big a deal, is it?

Client: (looking like he wants to hit me)  Are you joking?  We’ve lost all that work!

Me:  The data isn’t lost – it’s just hidden.   

Boss:  What are you talking about?

Me: See?

I un-hid the columns. The client stomped away without another word.

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Get tools to sell the summer with awesome elements for only $7! 98% off!

26 July 2020 - 3:00pm
Get tools to sell the summer with awesome elements for only $7! 98% off!

Summer is a feel. Capture that emotion with these awesome tools for only $7!

> Everybody loves the nostalgia of a perfect summer vacay. Design for that nostalgia. 

There are certain touchstones that scream “summer” for everybody, even if they’ve never personally experienced them. Just for example, there’s something timeless about the Polaroid photo – a sun-bleached image in a white frame of friends at the beach, or a vase of flowers in a window. You see that, you feel a glimmer of nostalgia for days gone by in the heat of the summer. This bundle gives you the power to MAKE those images, giving you tools like the easy Polaroid creator, poster paper mockups, window shades, and more!

Normally all these items would cost $380, but for the next week you can harness the feeling of summer for only $7.

> Check out the deal here. 

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User Submitted Post

26 July 2020 - 2:00pm

Client: I want a clean simple design for my website, and it should be fast.

He approved the mock-up, I finished the work in a few days.

After the work was done:

Client: I don’t like it anymore. It should look more like Amazon, and eBay and AliExpress. 

Me: Okay, It will be a ton of extra work and will cost you $x extra.

Client: I am not paying that! Just copy-paste the design from Amazon. 

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<p>A client gave us a last-minute

25 July 2020 - 3:00pm

A client gave us a last-minute request to get a file ready for a client so he could impress them. We worked all night to get it done, sent it off, and I got ready to go to the meeting. The client called at 8:30, an hour before our meeting:

Client: Where are you?

Me: Just had breakfast, leaving in 10 minutes.

Client: WHAT?

He started swearing, and calling me stupid and irresponsible.

Client: You won’t make it in time! You haven’t even sent the e-mail with the file! You should’ve sent it hours ago!

Me: We sent the e-mail at 7am to you and the external client.

Client: You did NOT. I didn’t receive it. I can’t believe this. You failed to do your job, this is not why I hired you!

Me: We’ll resend again.

Client: (continues screaming profanities)

I arrived at 9:21, and checked my email. The external client confirmed that they’d received the email at 7 AM. I showed up to the meeting and the client was there.

Client: They’ve received the e-mail.

He said this in a soft voice, almost – ALMOST – like he was admitting he was wrong to scream at me earlier.

Me: Cool. Did you receive it?

Client: I haven’t checked my email yet.

I fired the client as soon as the job was done.

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<p>Client: I want to change one small

25 July 2020 - 2:00pm

Client: I want to change one small detail in the main title.

Me: That’s not really possible. The job has gone to print already.

Client: Yes, it is. You just need to change one plate!

Me: You really have no idea what you’re talking about, do you?

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<p>Client: (on Monday) We need the

24 July 2020 - 3:00pm

Client: (on Monday) We need the first draft in 2 weeks.

Client: (on Wednesday) How soon will the first draft be ready?

Me: …Uhhh, in 2 weeks minus two days?

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spaghetti creative

24 July 2020 - 2:00pm

Client: You see, what I find about you is, you’re very black and white, very to the point. You’re not creative enough. 

Me: Right, OK. 

Client: Meanwhile me, I’m like spaghetti, I’m all over the place and very creative.

Me: Oh ok. What was the problem with the videos?

Client: They say too many facts about the event. I want to SHOW the event.

Me: But the event hasn’t happened yet. 

Client: You know what I mean. I want EXCITEMENT.

Me: The video is full of footage from previous events, though.

Client: True, but that wasn’t this year’s event. I want to SHOW what THIS year’s event will be.

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<p>Client: Please submit work samples

23 July 2020 - 3:00pm

Client: Please submit work samples so I know if you’re right for my project.

Me: Here is a link to my portfolio site. My hourly rate is [x] with 50% up-front. Let me know if I can answer any questions!

Client: Oh wow, I love your work! Would you mind lowering your price?

I declined. A month later I received a message from the client.

Client: I found someone who did great work for a fraction of your price, see look at how good he is!

They attached a thumbnail with the other person’s work.

Me: Very glad it worked out! My rate is still the same. Best of luck!

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Free work is worthless

23 July 2020 - 2:00pm

I moved to a small town years ago, and when I did I volunteered to host and update a website for the local downtown business association; I figured this would put me in touch with local businesses and would be a good show of my work, so I did it for free.  

Over time, the business association started asking for more and more complex updates to the site that meant I couldn’t do it for free anymore.

Me: I’ve been happy to do this for you, but I’m unable to offer what want for free. I can send you a quote to build you a new website that does what you want.

Client: Great.

I put together a quote with potential features, timelines, everything. They called back furious.

Client: What’s this? I thought you were going to build us a website!

Me: No, I was only going to give you a quote for one. I’ll start building the site if you agree to the quote.

Client: But how do we know what your work is like from a quote?

Me: …The last two years of work I did for you, for free?

They refused. Since I was hosting the site and responsible for all its content, I eventually removed it.

Later I had to sue them for a map from the site that they used without permission or credit on a local newspaper promotion. 

I’ve learned from my naive ways and do nothing for free in the hopes of getting work.

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get rid of that triangle!

22 July 2020 - 3:00pm

Client: Can you get rid of the triangle at the start of every video?

Me: There isn’t one. You don’t mean the play button, do you?

Client: Oh….

Three minutes later, after they’d checked:

Client: Yes it was the play button. I just prefer it at the bottom of the screen. Can you move it?

Me: (after laughing uncontrollaby for five minutes) Yeah I don’t have control over that. Maybe check your preferences.



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Missing Invoices

22 July 2020 - 2:07pm

Me: Hi, we haven’t received a payment in over three months.

Client: I haven’t received any invoices from you so I don’t owe you anything.

Me: We send the same invoice for the same amount each month at the same time.

Client: Well I didn’t notice them so I don’t owe you.

Me: OK, we’ll need to start shutting down your services then.

Client: What? I depend on those to make money! I’ll send a payment in full.

Me: Thanks. Would you like a statement for all invoices?

Client: No, I found them.

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Synesthesia on demand

21 July 2020 - 3:00pm

Client: Do whatever you want.  You’re the artist. You know what’s cool.

Me: Here you go! I think this is a really cool design.

Client: No, not this.

Me: Okay… this is an even cooler design. 

Client: Still not it. Let me be more specific: if there was a song that encapsulates how I envision the look and feel of the design I want, it would be Beyond by Daft Punk. Especially like the first 45 seconds of the track, like it’s an orchestral arrangement of the kind of music that plays when Mario defeats Koopa.

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