I translated some text for an organization and sent it back to my contact person, along with the invoice and my usual message:
Me: Little typos or missing accents can occur during the transfer from text to image. If you need me to review the translation once the final layout has been completed, I will be happy to do it free of charge.
A couple of weeks later, another person from the same organization sent me an email asking to review a different document before it went to the printer.
Me: I would be happy to. It will cost (this much). Please let me know if this works and I can get right on it.
Client: What?! I thought you did that for free!
Me: I do – for my work. That’s not my work. And taking a glance at it, it seems like an automatic machine translation; there are a lot of changes to be made.
Client: … so?
I offer a four-day (96 hours) turnaround on illustration orders, usually juggling five-eight orders at a time. I’m comfortable doing so. Part of it is that I have a formula for this service.
Typically, I respond as soon as I get the order, and then again when a sketch is decided upon in order to communicate and confirm that I am about to get to work. This usually takes up the first day or two. After that, I start the illustration. I make it a point to let clients know I can’t be in constant contact at this point, especially if I’m handling more than one request.
However, there are those clients who veil impatience with ‘concern’, and message me within hours of my confirmation message that tells them that I’m starting work. This is the most recent example:
Client: Hi there, I haven’t heard from you in a while. How is my order coming along?
I received that after 8 hours.
Client: Hi! How’s everything going over there? :) Are you keeping well? Have you finished my order yet?
I received that after about 12 hours.
Client: Look, you’re taking your time here. I’m not going to be played for a fool. Get to work or give me my money back.
I received that (on my birthday) after 20 hours.
Client: Ideally, we’d have you come in every day of the work week, from 9am to 5pm.
Me: I’m sorry, I thought this was a contract position.
Client: It is! But we’d like you around in case anything comes up.
Me: Sorry, I’m a bit confused. This contract only allots 20-hours of my time. We’d burn through that within three days.
Client: Oh, I see why you’re confused. No, we just want you around. Just in case, you know? We’ll only pay you for the work you do.
I received an outline Friday afternoon stating that my final copy was expected Monday morning.
Me: I’m sorry, but I don’t work weekends. I can have it by Wednesday.
Client: But I thought you work from home?
Me: … Yes.
Client: So if you’re at home, you can be working!
"Remember, you can do work outside of your paid hours as well."
A client sent me the final specs for a design late on Friday.
The following exchange took place on a Sunday afternoon. As a general rule, I don’t answer emails on weekends/holidays. However, given that Monday was a bank holidays and the number of angry emails was on the increase since Friday evening, I decided to email the client back, letting them know the obvious.
Client: Why aren’t you answering my emails? I haven’t heard from you since Friday evening.
Me: It’s the weekend.
Client: I think you should work weekends.
Client: Fine, but you should know that I think you are making a very big mistake by not working weekends. Regardless, I expect to see designs complete by Monday morning.
Me: I can’t see how that would be possible. Also, Monday is a holiday. I will start working on Tuesday and you can expect to see designs later that day.
Client: In this current economic climate, you should work on bank holidays as well.
Me: Thanks for the advice. We can talk about it more on Tuesday.
A client calls at 8:05am.
Client: I emailed you all the stuff I needed done yesterday. Is it done?
Me: Hm, I didn’t see any emails before I went to bed. What time did you send the email?
I find his unopened email, time stamped for today.
Me: Sir, you sent this at midnight.
Client: So is it done?
"So I’d like the site to go live on Christmas eve at midnight. That’s not a problem, is it?"
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I was sent a brief for an email newsletter. Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, the client emailed me this:
Client: Just wondering how the newsletter is coming along. Let me know if you have any questions. We’d like to send something out by tomorrow afternoon. Happy holidays!
Client: I need a custom design for the brochure.
Me: Sure, can you let me know how you’d like it to look? Even a few bullet points would help.
Client: I’m too busy for bullet points.