I needed to get a hold of a client’s IT department to check on some compatibility issues.
Client: IT… IT… I don’t know who’s in IT. We have a bunch’a Indians running around here sometimes, I’ll grab you one of those. Just let me look in the directory here and find an Indian sounding name… Raji. That sounds good. I’ll send you over to Raji. I know he’s not in sales, because he couldn’t sell his left nut to save his life… so he’s probably in IT. Besides, he’s Indian, they own the tech sector so I’m sure he can help you regardless of his position here. I’ll transfer you now.
Editor’s note: I love contributor’s anecdotes about their humorous client interactions. Judging from our growing list of followers, you do to. But I don’t enjoy hearing about all the unpaid bills, shady practices, and downright immoral behaviour most of our readership has to deal with to make a living. Let’s make my job a little harder and fix that.
We need your help.
Over three-quarters of freelancers will be stiffed by a deadbeat client at some point in their career. Time and money are wasted chasing bounced checks or costly legal action. Most have to walk away at the expense of not only their pocketbook, but their pride. There is little legal protection in place to protect freelancers from this reality.
The World’s Longest Invoice will jumpstart a critically important nationwide conversation about how much it sucks to not get paid for your work – and how it can be avoided. As freelancers add to the invoice, we’ll see how prevalent nonpayment is, and just how destructive it can be to freelancers’ bottom lines.
In May, the World’s Longest Invoice will be delivered to lawmakers in Albany to urge them to pass the Freelancer Payment Protection act in New York. This model legislation gives freelancers the same protection the Department of Labor provides “traditional” employees and allows them to file wage claims for owed money. We are so close to making this ideal a law. Be a part of the historic precedent and help replicate its success across the country.
Clients From Hell will feature an extra post for the next eight days in a show of support.
The director of a company I designed for a year ago recently retired. The new director contacted me to follow up on the maintenance contract.
Client: I don’t like the look of the site, you’re going to have to completely redesign it.
Me: Your contract only covers monthly maintenance and updates, but I can send you a quote for a redesign if you are interested.
Client: About that - let’s cancel that old thing and have you repay us what we’ve already paid you for a year’s worth of maintenance and updates. Don’t worry though! It should cost about as much as we give you to redesign the site.
“I never thought I’d have to pay you! I bought the coffee whenever we met AND I baked you a cake on your birthday!”—The most thoughtless AND thoughtful response to $2,000 in overdue fees I’ve ever received.
Our team had been developing a website for a national brand, and every time we’d show the client our work-in-progress, they’d say “Add some more snazz to it, more zip, more flashiness!” and we’d add things like drop-shadows and 3D text, to which they’d smile and say “Better! But more snazz! More flashiness!”
The client eventually signed off and we launched the site. While drinking a beer to celebrate, the client called, irate.
Client: I just saw the site. Where’s the snazz? The zip, the flashiness? I told you that’s what I wanted! I expected the whole site to be designed in Zip or Flashiness or whatever that program’s called that you make websites in. It should all move with the Flashiness! I’m not paying for this piece of shit.
After starting and stopping development once already on a complex educational website, our client finally gave us the go-ahead to develop the site completely. A month after work had begun, we received the following email:
Client: We have been reviewing our user situation and are unsure whether many of them will have internet access. Could you supply the website on a CD?