Friday: Small business client site goes live.
Monday: Very irate call:
Client: Why isn't the site #1 in Google search?
This was, sadly, before I started using contracts and worked on a less structured level with friends.
A friend contacted me with a request.
Client: Hey, I need a new logo, are you available?
Me: Hey, remember when I did your last logo to your specifications and you declined to pay for it because you didn't wind up using it?
Client: What's the problem? We didn't use it!
Me: Look. If you want a new logo, I'll do it, but the catch is that you pay for it.
Me: Even if you don't use it.
Client: Yes, yes, fine!
I do the new logo, to his specifications, and he doesn't wind up using it.
Me: All right, whatever, that'll be $$$ please.
Client: Why should I pay for a logo I'm not going to use?
Client's original request was for a brand refresh, seminar content & material design, and an eCommerce upgrade to their website.
Client: We've received your quote, but can't afford it.
Me: I'm sorry to hear that. Tell you what - if you'd like, you can hire me as a coach for a fraction of the cost and I'll guide you through doing the work yourself.
Simple? Yes. Easy to understand? You'd think so.
After months of stalling and admitting they didn't want to do the work, the client left for the summer and, upon returning, surprise! They requested to pivot and change directions. At that point, I had already paused on retainer payments because we weren't doing any meaningful work (BTW - only an idiot is nice and does this). I advised that a change in scope would end our current contract. Client obliged and I even – shockingly – suggested other vendors (again, only an idiot is this nice).
Client agreed. We parted ways. They met with suggested vendor. Happy Ending!
Client: How much of the fees we paid you will be forwarded to the new vendor to continue the project on your behalf?
Fast forward months and months and emails and harassing phone calls later and my lawyers send the client a letter only to be met with a full dispute and a chargeback from Wells Fargo for "product not received". I didn't sweat it because I have plenty of evidence and it should have been overruled. Except it wasn't.
Now I have options:
Curious oh wise CFH community: what would you do?
Client: What's the address of your print shop?
Me: I'm on [street] at [number].
Client: Can you give me a landmark?
Me: Sure. We're near [bank].
Client: I'm just in front of [bank] and I don't see your store.
Me: I gave you the building number. Have you looked for that?
Client: Yes, but I don't see it. The bank is right on the corner, there's nothing after.
Me: Oh, I guess there are two [bank] locations on this street. We're by the other one.
Client: Why didn't you tell me it was near the other bank?
Me: I gave you our street address.
Client: Okay, see you soon.
Later, the client showed up, smiling like nothing had happened.
Client: I would like to print some business cards.
Me: OK, do you already have the art for it?
Client: Yes. Here.
They gave me somebody else's business card with the name scratched out and their information scrawled in blue ink.
Do you ever feel like someone is filming a movie of your life and not telling you? Because everything this person did felt like an elaborate prank.
I told them I would have to create art assets to duplicate the card and charge them for it. They refused and said they'd go to the "other shop."
I wonder if it was by the "other bank."
I am a web designer that offers SEO services to clients once I have built their site.
A client wanted me to build a site and then do SEO services for 3 months to get the business going. We settled on a price, I built the site and the client was happy with it. I started the SEO; the site started getting well above average traffic, even though he was catering to a very select customer base. The client was thrilled.
Until a few months later, when he phoned me:
Client: I demand you take down my website and give me a full refund.
Me: I am sorry but the site is getting really great traffic. Why aren't you happy with it?
Client: Yes it is, but i have yet to get anyone to buy anything. I can't pay for something that doesn't give business results.
I knew my SEO wasn't at fault, so I looked into it. Turns out he was selling products you could get elsewhere, except at a 3000% markup. No wonder he wasn't getting any business.
It started well. We agreed on what needed to be done and I worked on the site. Granted, scope creep started early as I had to create mockups from scratch but I thought "it's well paid. It's worth it".
Nope. Terrible mistake.
I didn't notice when I was initially reviewing their plans, but hidden deep in their 20-page "needs" document there was a single line asking me to recreate from scratch HubSpot with the Gmail extension + a Hotjar pdf heatmap tool.
Now if you're unfamiliar with those, those are SaaS companies that have entire teams working for months, costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars in development. And this client wanted me to recreate the entire thing by myself, in a couple of weeks, for 2K.
What's more, after I started work they started asking for MORE features that weren't even in the document as part of my original document. I did the math on their asks; they wanted to pay me less than a dollar per hour. What a joke.
One of the items I sell is custom buttons (badges). Local movie productions sometimes buy them to use as promotional items.
I got an email from a new production company, ordering a set of buttons. They wanted a fairly typical design, with the movie logo and assorted quotes from the movie in production. It's supposed to be a horror movie.
Price was negotiated, the deposit made through Paypal, and they sent the content in a simple txt file. All arranged through e-mail, all as usual with such an order.
The logo was simple, and worked well on the buttons. But, the content was... off. These might have been typos, they might not. One quote was "Quiet thinking about the dead were living still."
So, I sent another email.
Me: Do you want me to edit these for grammar and punctuation? I think you might have some typos.
Client: No, they're the way we want them. Use the text we sent.
I figured it must be something sensible in the context of the movie. So, I selected a drippy "slasher" font, typeset the buttons, and sent them jpg previews.
Me: Here are the previews. Please look them over and make sure they are what you want.
Client: They're fine. When will they be ready?
Me: If I have the go-ahead, they'll be ready Friday morning.
Everything was going well, but I was still worried.
On Friday, the client came to my shop. I handed them the box of buttons.
Me: Check these and make sure they're right.
Client: (glancing in the box) They look good!
They signed off, handed me the check, and left with the buttons.
Monday, I got a phone call. I was braced to defend myself, but the caller (not the same person who picked up the buttons) just asked me in a tired voice how much it would be to redo the order as a rush job for Wednesday. I was actually free to do it without a strain, so I gave them the same price as before, and they agreed.
The client's boss emailed me the correct text, which was "Quit thinking about the dead. We're still living." Also, apparently it wasn't a horror movie but more of a suspense one, so in a few quick emails, we settled on a less drippy font.
Wednesday, Client's Boss came for the buttons. I didn't say anything about the previous person but treated this like a whole new order. Client's Boss sat at a table with buttons to check each different design and even looked at their backs to see that they were straight. They approved, signed off, handed over the check, and took the box of buttons.
Thank you, Client Boss, for seeing that the idiot in the equation wasn't me.
I have since had more orders from that same production company, but never saw or heard from the original client again.