I was hired by a new “Business and Life Coach” to make some very light layout adjustments to three short books in Word. Each book was 95% identical content and had the same title but with different endings, for [X], for [Y], for [Z] each targetting a different group for her business.
It was a pretty easy job. She wanted a logo added to the title pages, some titles to be changed, formatting to be unified, etc. It was a small job I could do in a few hours. I included one round of revisions in her fixed price.
(I’ve included her original spellings and grammar to give a sense of the correspondence).
Me: Here’s the three files and a checklist of what I did. Remember, you have one round of revisions included.
Client: I’ve had a terrible week!! I will aim to proof and send back this week .
Client: I found some time to go through the books. I am very impressed with your work indeed. Great work! Bless you! Here is a list of revisions I need.
Her list was long but included a lot of minor changes: adding a word here, removing one there, trying a different font for certain sections, etc. Nothing was an error on my part, just additional changes that occurred to here.
Me: Here are your completed books. I have included a full checklist of all the revisions you requested.
Client: Bless you!! Thank you! Your work is brililant I will defanitely work with you again!!
I sent an invoice, she paid me. Great, I thought, what a good client.
Cut to one week later, when I receive a string of emails after 10:54 PM:
Client: changes still need to be made see attached pls send back tomorrow as have a call with my marketeer tomorrow
Client: this has got really confusing !!
Client: have you renamed them ??
I’d renamed the files to fit the titles of the actual books, which I thought was pretty intuitive.
Client: They must be tittled correctly as they are similar but different and it gets confusing
Client: please!!! can you resend me the three files again please
Client: and call them the proper so I don’t have to wade through to figure out which one I am looking at!
My titles matched the title on the title page, as well as the title in the header. She could see at a glance which version of the book she was looking at.
Client: Please please name them as I did as I am sitting up late trying to figure out which one is which!
Client: Revisions to be made!
She attached is a long list of new revisions for each book. Add this word here, add this sentence there, etc. Unbold this sentence. Make this sentence bold. Basically, things that took longer for her type into a new document for me than they would have to do as she saw them. Not one of these were errors on my part, just whims she had.
I wasn’t sure how to respond, as she was flooding my inbox with new emails every few minutes. After midnight the onslaught seemed to subside so I responded.
Me: Hi! I’m happy to make additional rounds of revisions to your books at my hourly rate of $XX, but it won’t be done overnight. I’m fully booked on other projects for the next three days but would be happy to fit you in later this week. I have renamed your files as requested though – see attached.
I renamed them as the original—now completely incorrect—titles.
Client: actually! you have created more work for me!
Client: and I don’t like your tone!
Client: You mixed up the names of the files that I sent to you meaning I sat up for HOURS trying to figuring these out before I realised they were wrong.
Client: I need these tomorrow am for a meeting
Me: It’s not reasonable to expect pages of completely new, last-minute, overnight revisions when the project is complete. Your revisions were completed in a timely manner and the work was reviewed and signed-off. I’m happy to make additional rounds, but these have to be requested within a reasonable timeframe to complete. I’m obviously not available to work on these overnight.
Client: This is highly unprofessional.
Client: I will be filing a complaint about you.
Me: With who?
Client: Enough! please. This is so upsetting! This is so unprofessional. Please do not contact me again, this is a fruitless exercise.
I couldn't agree more.