I was creating a
website for a local restaurant. The owner needed a new website because the
college kid who had created it wasn’t updating it in a timely fashion. That
should have been my first clue, but I was just starting to freelance and wanted
the job to build my resume.
When I started,
she told me that she wanted to be able to make updates to the website herself,
so I built it in WordPress and planned to train her when the website was
She sent me the
information for her site and I realized that she didn’t own her domain name or
hosting. They were all owned by the college kid who was currently doing her
Me: You’ll have to
get ownership of the domain and the hosting before we can upload the site to
Client: Okay, I’ll talk
to him and get that taken care of.
I started working
on building her site, and waited for her to get back to me once she’d done
that. One month later she called me, but to complain.
Client: It’s been a month
and you haven’t done anything!
Me: Actually, I’ve done quite a lot of work, it’s just not
up on the site yet. You don’t own the domain so I can’t upload it.
can’t see how this is my fault.
That’s not where the headaches stopped. Once the domain wrinkle was
ironed out I started to revise her content and when I sent it to her to
Client: I don’t have time
to “review” your work! Just do it right the first time!
Me: Okay… well, just
so I know what you’re looking for in terms of how the website looks, could you
send me some samples of what you’d like, with some notes about what you like
She sent me about
10 websites, each completely different from the other. They ranged from
fantastic to ‘90s bad, with no indication of what she liked and didn’t like.
Finally she sent me the website for Paula Deen’s restaurant, which was of
course exactly what
she wanted. I used the basic layout and style while adding her brand colors to
give her the look and feel I thought she was looking for.
My client had
completely redesigned her restaurant, so the photos I had from the old website
were obsolete. She didn’t have anyone to take photos so I ended up going to the
restaurant to take the photos myself, and I didn’t even charge her for the
time. At this point I was so desperate to get her website done I didn’t even care.
When she looked
at the website on her computer at one of her restaurants, it wasn’t rendering
correctly. Since she couldn’t understand how to take a screenshot to show me, I
ended up driving there (fortunately it’s close) and discovered that she had a bootlegged
fake version of Windows OS. Of course, she insisted it was really Windows – I’m
assuming whoever set up her computers just told her it was what she wanted and
gave it to her because it was cheaper.
finally finished the project and needed to train her to make updates. She
decided her son, one of the managers, would get training too. I met them at one
of their restaurants because I prefer to train people on their own computers
where they are more comfortable. I assumed we would be training in her office,
but instead she brought her laptop to the bar and expected me to train them
while they waited on customers. Obviously, it was a disaster, and at the end of
the session she mentioned it would be great if I could just keep updating the
website for her, at which I politely declined.
I sent her the
bill. It was what we’d agreed, no more, and was under $1000.
Client: I think you’re
charging too much. This isn’t nearly as good as Paula Deen’s site.
Me: Well, Paula Deen
was probably able to pay a larger firm thousands of dollars.
Client: Really? I would
have thought it would cost $200, tops.
I have never been so happy to be done with a