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I learned my lesson…

Clients from Hell - 17 December 2020 - 3:00pm

I had just started out as a freelance animator. I saw a post about an animation gig and got in contact with the client. They wanted to make a web series with each animation being about 1 minute long. Excited about my first real gig, I got to working straight away and had the first episode done in 4 weeks including alterations.

Me: Here’s the first episode, so that’s going to be 650€.

I know that’s low but I was young and foolish.

Client: Oh… that’s a bit expensive. I was expecting to spend that much on the entire project.

The entire project was 8 episodes.

Me: Right… Well what’s your budget?

Client: Maybe 200€ per video.

Me: Alright let’s do that

Client: How about we do 150€ per video and I can guarantee steady, continuous work.

I should have just left it but I was just starting out and I thought it’d be better than doing nothing and that maybe I’d get some exposure as well. I got started on the second episode and sent the invoice for the first.

Four weeks later I finished the second episode.

Me: Hey, I just sent you the invoice for the second episode.

Client: Yeah, I’m loving your work and your energy, you’ve done exactly what I wanted. I’ll get that to you right away.

Months go by and no payment. I kept chasing but to no avail. I’d just keep getting responses with excuses about how this happened or the money wasn’t available at the time.

I accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to get paid. Months without a word from the client go by and then out of the blue I get an e-mail.

Client: Hey! I have some new work coming up and I think we can make it happen!

Me: Nice, I’m still waiting on payment for the previous work

Client: Oh sorry… I forgot… I’ll get that to you

The months turned into a year and it’s always “I’m just so busy… I forget.”

I learned my lesson though. Now I get a deposit up front before I start anything

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More professionalism, please

Clients from Hell - 17 December 2020 - 2:00pm

I worked with a client who ran her own small business selling soaps. She was doing moderately well – enough to hire me to develop an eshop and have a team of 8-10 employees working at her store. I was lucky enough to be arms-length from her, but in my in-store interactions with her I found she was bullying to her employees, treating them rudely, sharing their personal details with me and talking trash semi-constantly. She was never on time to any meeting EVER, and would take up to a month to pay my invoices because she would just forget to. 

After a few rounds of this, I decided to follow up on an invoice after a week and a half.

Me: Hello! I’m just following up on this invoice. If you could pay me by the end of the week I would really appreciate it.

She sent me back a 500 word essay about how she was going to pay me on her own time, and how rude I was to remind her to do it. 

Client: You need to show the client more respect. It’s called “Professionalism.” You should look into it. 

My body. It is consumed with rage.

Ever gotten a lecture from a client who had no right to lecture you? We want to hear about it!

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Is it done yet?

Clients from Hell - 16 December 2020 - 4:00pm

I sent a client a proof, asking for feedback for revisions. Despite follow-ups, it took them three weeks to look at it, which took us past their deadline. They sent me a raft of changes to be made and then, two hours later: 

Client: Aren’t you done yet? This should be finished by now.

I agree, but I’m not the problem here. 

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“This took me half an hour”

Clients from Hell - 16 December 2020 - 3:00pm

I’m a content writer. A real estate firm hired me to create a blog for them to increase SEO. I met with them to see what key phrases they wanted returns on and to set a schedule.

Me: Okay. that’s enough for me to start with. I’ll get the first article to you in three days for review, and we can start to release them on a weekly basis after that.

Client: Just the first in three days? I thought you could finish all of these in a week. 

Me: I mean, I have to research these. 

Client: You should already know this stuff!

Me: These topics are all real estate specific. They’re not common knowledge. 

Client: Yeah, but you’re just writing a few hundred words. That shouldn’t take you long. 

Me: …It takes longer than you’d think. 

Client: Fine. 

I went home and turned to some other client work. An hour later I received an email from the client: it had long, rambling paragraphs about mortgage rates filled with grammatical errors and clarity issues. The subject line was “This took me half an hour.”

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One price fits all

Clients from Hell - 16 December 2020 - 2:00pm

I make cosplay costumes, and in the before-times, I would sell commissions to clients who were less savvy with a sewing machine so they could wear my work to conventions. 

I’d made a spandex unitard superhero costume for a client that they were really happy with. It was a simple design and didn’t take me long, which was reflected in the price. They were ecstatic, and referred me to a friend of theirs. 

This friend was looking for an anime-based costume with lots of details, multiple pieces, and quality materials. As they described it, I was getting excited about working on it. 

Until I told them how much it would cost. 

Me: Okay! Based on what you’re described, that’s going to cost between ${X] and $[Y], depending on how much time it takes me and what I can get the materials for.

Client: What! That’s nearly three times what you charged my friend!

Me: …Yes, but that was a much simpler design and took me far less time. 

Client: That’s ridiculous! You should just have a flat rate. One price fits all. 

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Black and white, and color all over

Clients from Hell - 15 December 2020 - 4:00pm

Client: Can I get a color copy of this?

It was a black and white document. 

Me: Um… Even if I make a “color” copy, it’s still going to be black and white.

Client: What? Don’t you have a program for this? 

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Heroine problem

Clients from Hell - 15 December 2020 - 3:00pm

I’m an illustrator who specializes in fantasy settings. An author reached out to me to create a cover for his (self-published) novel. 

Client: So, for the cover, I want the heroine holding onto the hero and staring up at the overwhelming darkness. 

Me: Sounds good, I think I can make that look really exciting. Do yo have any reference materials?

Client: Yes. I’m sending you some photo references for what they should look like. 

He sent two photos: one of him, an out-of-shape, middle-aged man, and one of Gwyneth Paltrow.

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No friend or family of mine

Clients from Hell - 15 December 2020 - 2:15pm

Client: What’s your friends and family rate?

Me: I don’t have one. Also, you’re neither.

Client: No rate for friends? I’d hate to have you as a friend.

Well, I’d hate to have you as a client.

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Back again

Clients from Hell - 14 December 2020 - 4:00pm

Client: We’re back up and running! Ready for some work?

Me: You still owe me over $2500 from before you went on hiatus.

Client: Well, we need money coming in before we can do anything about that.

Me: Funny, that’s my rule too.

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Tik Tok time’s up

Clients from Hell - 14 December 2020 - 3:00pm

Client: I want this site to be the next Tik Tok.

Me: …Right. and how big is the team?

Client: You and me, unless you know someone who can code for free or cheap.

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Is it done yet?

Clients from Hell - 14 December 2020 - 2:00pm

Client: Is it done yet?

Me: You sent me the job on Friday at 4:59 PM. It’s Monday 7:46 AM and I’m just seeing it now.

Client: So where are we on it then? 

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Create stylish Art Deco designs for only $17!

Clients from Hell - 13 December 2020 - 4:00pm

This week’s deal is on all the fonts, borders and backgrounds you need to make stunning art deco style designs. 

> Just take a look at this classic styling, all for only $17.

There’s a reason he was called the “Great” Gatsby and not the “merely ok” Gatsby. Art deco inspired much of modern design and remains utterly compelling in its own right. These fonts, border elements and backgrounds combine to let you harness this powerful and influential style for your own designs

This package retails at full price for $104, but for just a few more days you can get it at a savings of 87% for only $17

> Check out the deal here!

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Logo Turducken

Clients from Hell - 13 December 2020 - 3:00pm

I’m a designer. I’m used to asking for a logo and getting a JPG in a Word doc. It sucks, but it happens. I get it. 

What I wasn’t prepared for was a client to send me a link to a Dropbox Word doc with a photo of a computer screen with their logo on their website. 

I started referring to this as a “logo turducken.” 

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Hobby horse

Clients from Hell - 13 December 2020 - 2:00pm

Client: I’m surprised you charge this much. Isn’t this a hobby? 

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More calming.

Clients from Hell - 12 December 2020 - 4:00pm

Client: I find this black text on a white background really hard on my eyes. How about green on blue? I think that’s much more calming for people. 

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It’s not acceptable

Clients from Hell - 12 December 2020 - 3:25pm

I work for a small newspaper and this is my day , most days. 

Sales rep: Please use attached art to resize their ad.

They they upload a Word doc with an embedded jpeg.

Me: That’s not usable. 

Sales Rep: (usually about 6 hours later) Well, that’s all they sent me.

Me: OK, can you ask for just the logo? I will reset the type but the logo is too low resolution to print.

Sales Rep: Let me see what I can find on the internet. 

Me: Anything you find on the internet will probably too low resolution.

Sales Rep: Well, then use what they sent us.

Me: The art they sent is too low resolution.  Please ask the client for a higher resolution logo. A PDF, or at least 300dpi PNG. Please. We’ve been over this so many times, with so many clients. Just ask them for the right thing. 

Sales Rep: Well that’s the best art they probably have.

And then I have have to contact the client directly and find the one person who knows that they have a PSD file with editable text. Every time. 

WHY. Why does everyone make this so hard?

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It matters to me

Clients from Hell - 12 December 2020 - 2:00pm

Me: My invoice is still outstanding. Please pay it.

Client: I’ll get to it! 

Me: I actually need that payment.

Client: It’s only $600. Chill out.

Me: It matters to me. If it’s not a big deal to you, PAY ME.

 

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How long though?

Clients from Hell - 11 December 2020 - 4:00pm

Client: My daughter is trying to learn how to design. Did you go to school for this?

Me: No, I taught myself. 

Client: How long did that take, like a weekend?

Me:

Client: Okay, so more like a month?

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Custom sewing job in half an hour or it’s free

Clients from Hell - 11 December 2020 - 3:00pm

I teach sewing and drawing classes at a small fashion studio, and every so often we get people looking for custom-made clothing or alterations. I don’t advertise, but if time allows and the pay is good, I take on the occasional commission. 

Client: How much would it cost to have a custom apron made?

Me: I charge $XX per hour, and the most basic design might take an hour or two, while one with all these extra features could take 2-3 hours or more. 

Client: Well I definitely want all the bells and whistles—double pockets, hemming, fancy material, etc—but can you make sure it takes less than an hour and a half?

Me: …I can’t promise that, no. 

Client: Well if it costs me any more than that, it just wouldn’t be worth it, you know?

In my experience, working with clients like this definitely isn’t worth it.

When’s the last time a client didn’t value YOUR time?

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You stonewalled yourself

Clients from Hell - 11 December 2020 - 2:01pm

Client: Can you get this done by tomorrow?

Me: It’s afternoon Friday. I asked you for the details two weeks ago, and I told you I was taking this weekend off. No.

Client: That’s really unprofessional. We need it by tomorrow and you’re stonewalling us. 

I can’t… can these people even look at themselves for one second?

 

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