One of my other clients referred this one to me.
Client: Do you think we can meet?
Me: Sure, I’m available after 6:00pm.
Client: Okay, come by to my house at 5:00pm.
For the record, he lives over an hour away.
Me: I said I’m available after 6:00pm.
Client: Okay, well, why don’t you come to my house at 5:00pm, and then I’ll drive you home.
At this point the whole “come to my house” thing started sounding a little weird to me.
Me: I think we better meet at a middle point, let’s say the coffee shop around the subway station. It’ll have to be after 6:00pm.
Client: Okay, sounds good. I’ll pick you up at the coffee shop and we can come to my house.
Me: Sorry, but I have to ask - why do you want me to come to your house?
Client: … I’ll call you next week to set another meeting.
The client never called me or emailed me again.
"Push the design envelope. Use your right brain. Maximise feasibility."
In 2010, I discussed doing VFX for a client’s feature-length film. I gave him an estimate, time frame, and a PO Box to mail a hard drive of raw footage to. He promised to send the footage within the week.
Three years later, I received a bubble wrap envelope from the client. The envelope contained a single CD, with no case or paper envelope protecting it.
The only file on the CD was a single JPG image. It was a picture of a hand-written note taken on a webcam.
The client, thinking the webcam would flip the image, wrote the entire note backwards; every letter, every word, every sentence, all of it was written from right to left.
The note (to the best of my reading ability) said:
Client: Here is the footage, like we discussed. Call me before you start.
You know who I love? You.
Well, not ‘you’ specifically. You the community. The community’s been great! But I see you as my purely platonic friend. Anyways!
You know what you do for the ones you love? If you answered “build a relationship based on trust and mutual interests,” you are wrong and you will die alone. No, you give them free stuff!
In all seriousness, freelancing isn’t easy. We have thousands of stories to support that. Besides being a collection of our best anecdotes, Clients From Hell 2 features a lot of content you won’t see on the site, in addition to a lot of practical advice for freelancing. And that’s why our latest book is now free, forever. Just sign up for our newsletter and expect a code for your free copy of the e-book.
As an added bonus (and in response to reader requests), I have converted Clients From Hell 2 into every e-reader format I could find.
If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.
"If you want to get totally stoned one night and just go super metal on the whole site, I’m cool with that."
"Can you make it more mind-blowing?"
Client: Take the prices off of each item.
Me: How will people know how much each item costs?
Client: I don’t want the prices to be the focus of the product.
Me: Isn’t this an online store where people can purchase your products?
Client: No, it’s a gallery where people can purchase my products.
Me: Without knowing the price?
Client: Yes. Also change the header from ‘gallery’ to ‘shop.’
"It’s not really design work, it’s just purposefully placing images and text."
Client: Why would I hire another designer when I could just get you to do it for free?
Me: … I wasn’t planning to work for free.
Client: I meant that I’d get you to do this work in addition to the work I’m already paying you for.
Me: I’d have to charge if the scope of the project gets bigger.
Client: You can’t just spring something like that on me.