Logo designs were presented for a grassroots group dedicated to creating an alliance between local food producers and farmers.
Me: I’m sorry to hear that the committee doesn’t find the logo designs inspiring. I wonder if you could give me some more guidance? All I have for feedback is that “they need more oomph.”
Client: Well, they’re just a little plain. Can’t you add a knife and fork? Or maybe a wheat sheaf? The group felt they need a little jazzing up. Anyway, we’re not really sure what we mean. But you’re the artist, so hopefully this will help you refine it.
A major client contracted us to organize a conference for 1,500 people. Part of the job involved building a website and a booking platform, but the client was adamant we use a particular third-party ticketing company that had never catered such a large, complex event before. Concerned the system wasn’t capable or flexible enough to meet the client’s needs, we sent numerous emails highlighting the system’s shortcomings. Each time, our concerns were dismissed. In frustration, we put together a detailed report highlighting the problems we were likely to face, but we were told in no uncertain terms that we had to use the supplier anyway.
When only a handful of tickets were sold several months into a major marketing campaign, there was an emergency meeting between the teams involved, up to and including the CEO of the company. When the subject of ticketing came up, our client company angrily asked us why were they getting so much negative feedback from people trying to buy tickets. We politely pointed out that all the issues buyers were experiencing were mentioned in our report and that we had said that using that supplier wasn’t a good idea. The CEO’s response?
I was put in contact with a guy with a big job for me; I pitched and got the work.
It was a site redesign: I had to set-up the CMS on my own servers for testing then migrate it all over to the production server.
I’ll admit my boundaries weren’t great during the testing phase; he would come to me with different suggestions for doing functionality which I helped out with (it was a big job, but it was early in my career, and I hoped it would give me a lot of exposure).
After a week of trying to get the system to work, culminating in an extremely rude email from my contact, a friend and I got into the code of the site to look at what was going on. An hour later, we had our answer.
They had over 20,000 tags.
Once the tags were deleted, suddenly the site came back up again.
All told, I ended up getting around $5 an hour for the job.
I was hired for a website in December. The spec was relatively simple, yet the client kept haggling over the design of the site. This was fine.
What wasn’t fine was that he constantly ignored emails requesting content for the site. I eventually gave up emailing. When he finally came back to me and said he wanted the site finished by month’s end, I had to inform him I was actually going on holiday.
To try to make it up to him, I worked 24 hours straight to get the site to what he now wanted, wrote up a manual for the site use, and sent it off.
Imagine my surprise when he emailed me, despite knowing I was away, to say how upset and angry he was that the site still wasn’t ready and that my going on holiday wasn’t an option for me.
In his angry email, he listed out a series of faults. For each, the solution I wrote was the same:
In a meeting about making final frontend design decisions, we were told that none of the designs done by our graphics designer would be considered because EVERYONE would have to approve them and there wasn’t enough time. The client had already given us his frontend design, which was a nightmare. The client was an 80-year-old man.
Client: We don’t have time to do anymore design, so we’re going ahead with what I’ve given you.
Me: Well, we’d like you to at least look over them. I think they’d represent a significant improvement to the website’s look and usability. And, since they are already done, they’re ready for possible implementation in the future.
Client: No. We don’t have time to review them because I’m not the only one that would have to see them. We’d have to show every person in the building so they can tell us the changes that need to be made and then we’ll have to show the board of the company and then all our international offices.
Me: Has your design been approved by everyone?
Client: Well my design is not a design. It’s an arrangement.
I was doing music and sound for an advertisement for a company that sold musical instruments. We filmed the video, but I hadn’t had a chance to do any mixing or overdubbing at all yet, since the main client wanted to approve the video first. All the audio they heard was the actual audio in the room.
At the start of the meeting where my clients were first viewing the video, I reminded them of this. However, one of the big shots showed up late.
Client:(1) It’s really nice. Looks great!
Client: (2) Umm, yeah… <gives a little smirk>. I’ve done music long enough, but even an untrained eye would pick up on this. It’s pretty obvious that the guy is overdubbed and what he is playing is not the actual audio. It needs to be cleaned up
Me: Actually, no audio work has been done yet. What you were hearing was the mic in the room and that is actually him playing
As I do with all of my clients, I was upfront about my rates and that tasks and time outside of my initial estimate are charged at that same rate.
Client: Can you do this task for me?
Me: Sure, that’ll take about five hours.
Client: Great, go at it then.
Me: Here you are. It only took me three hours.
Client: That’s great, I have this other requirement, can you change that?
Me: Sure, that’ll take about two hours.
Client: Great, that works.
Me: Here you are, it only took me an hour and a half.
Client: Ah, we also need this other change…
Me: No problem, that should take another two hours.
Me: Here you are, took me two hours and thirty minutes.
Client: Great, that’s exactly what I need.
I send the client my invoice.
Client: Uh, I’m surprised by this invoice. It’s for seven hours. This is not what we agreed upon in the initial estimate.
Me: You asked for those additional changes…
Client: Yeah, but I can’t pay you that much. Can we maybe talk about your rates?
Me: Sorry, no, I stated my rates upfront and I don’t give discounts.
Client: You’re making this difficult for me. I’ll tell you what, I pay you 60%* of what you want to bill me and we call it quits, deal?
Me: No deal. You pay me for the time I worked at the rate I quoted. End of story.
Client: We’re at an impasse here…
Me: I’m sorry to have to decline further negotiations and work for you, other obligations from paying clients have popped up. Please pay the invoice at your convenience. Once it’s paid in full, I’ll send you the work I did for you.
Client: But I need this work, can’t you send it to me now?
I worked for a web design/development company that was understaffed and the owner had enormous expectations for us. If you couldn’t code an entire website and move it live within a couple hours, you would probably get fired. The owner claimed to be extremely busy, although most of his time seemed to be spent taking angry phone calls from clients because the work wasn’t getting done in the ridiculously short deadlines he had promised. He would give into any demand they made, making the problem continuously worse.
One day, he forwarded me one particularly annoying client’s email and wrote that he didn’t have time to read it, so he needed me to summarize it for him. I read it and found that the main point of the email was that they were angry at how difficult it was to get a hold of him. I summarized it into a few sentences, including some of their other concerns, and sent it back.
Client: I don’t have time to read your summary, can you handle the problem?
Me: The problem is that they are upset that they can’t get in touch with you personally.
I’m a copywriter. I was at a meeting with a pair of clients who weren’t happy with what I produced for their brochure.
Client: (1) We don’t like your writing. It’s too ballsy, braggy and makes us look like we are too full of ourselves.
Client: (2) Yeah, yeah. Tone it down. You make us seem as if we show off. Be subtle!
Me: Ok, I’m hearing you. Let me know what you want me to point out about your motorbikes…”
Client: (1) Well… we invented the category, now we reinvented it again, as we always do when we launch a new product. There’s literally no one close to our product’s standard. It’s unparalleled. There’s no terrain or turf worldwide that our bikes can’t handle. They’re the ultimate in any and all aspects. Basically, every part is new, redesigned, or both.
Early in my design career, my sister-in-law asked me to design a banner that would hang in a large club store for 30 days. She needed it in 24 hours, and, of course, she didn’t want to pay for the design. After 17 revisions, most of which were to make the design “more purple” or “less purple,” she finally approved a design, and I sent it off to the printer. I called her a month later.
Me: How did the banner work out?
Client: What banner?
Me: The banner I designed for you to display at (store).
Client: Oh, that. Okay, I guess.
Me: What do you mean? Was something wrong?
Client: I don’t think so.
Me: Uh…so it looked okay?
Client: I don’t know. I got busy and never made it to (store) to see it.
“Oh, that price is too high. I’m not looking for a wedding photographer per se. We’re just looking for someone who can record the day, and also take some posed photos after the ceremony, and stay through the reception taking pictures.”—
At this point in the story, I’ve already put in about a month and a half into a website for a small nonprofit, as part of a signed agreement. I had to bring in my computer to show them the work I’ve done because it wasn’t rendering correctly on their machines. They were also in the process of getting payment approved with their parent company. At least, this was the state of things until I asked their IT admin for the wifi password.
Me: I’m a web developer helping these guys out with a project. May I have the wifi password I can show them the work I’ve done so far?
Client: Do you work here?
Me: No, not as an official employee.
Client: Then no, you cannot have access to our internet. Outsiders are not allowed internet here.
I must have looked confused. I’ve worked in IT and I know that you can track users with client management software in case they do anything against your terms of conduct. I just didn’t understand.
Client: Is there a problem?
Me: That’s just a little strange to me. I’m sorry to have bothered you. I’ll figure something out.
Client: You said you were a developer right? Why don’t you just run wifi over your phone?
Me: I’d rather not run up my data costs for something like this. I’ll figure something out, we might just go to a coffee shop.
He insists that, because I’m a developer, I should have had this handled already. I thought I had handled it by making sure the company had wifi I could use, but apparently there was a miscommunication.
Anyways, I showed them the state of the project and left. Halfway home, I got a call telling me that the IT admin had made a huge fit to administration about the misuse of wifi access, so, naturally, they shut the whole project down.
Client: We appreciate the work you have done so far, but we have more projects and we can’t afford to hire you for all of them. We hired a new intern. He doesn’t know PHP, but he is a quick learner. We would appreciate it if you teach him what you’ve been doing for us.