I was working on a “coming soon” page for a client. He had emailed me a photo and asked me to use it for the page. The photo was a landscape image with the brand logo and coming soon text embedded.
Me: Hey, I just got the image file. I don’t think its best to use an image for the page as it’s not going to look good on smaller screens.
Client: It’s fine, it has all the words there and there’s no need for you to spend lots of time coding it when I can just send you a photo.
Me: I’m just saying, I don’t think it will look good on mobiles because it’s a landscape photo and the text will be hard, if not impossible, to read.
Client: Just make the photo the homepage.
I sent my client over the link and he said it was great. After logging off and heading to bed I got a call from the client at 2 AM on my personal phone.
Client: I can’t read the text in the photo, it’s too small.
Me: I did tell you this before but you said you were happy with it.
Client: Yes but that was when I was on my laptop. I didn’t think it would make a difference. Most people use laptops anyway, right? It should be fine, right?
Me: Look, if you send me over the image and the font you want I can make the whole thing responsive so that the text increases in size and is easily readable.
My client then sends me the same image, along with two other images of just the text, without the backdrop. The image quality is terrible.
Client: Just use the images of the text to save me time from coding so he doesn’t have to pay me as much.
Me: Okay, done. Have a look and tell me what you think. The images you have sent me of the text look low quality, can you send me higher quality ones?
Client: The font is going over the image too much and it looks kind of bad?
Me: Can you just tell me what font you are using? it would be easier.
Client: It will take more time and money though, so can’t you just Photoshop the image files so the text looks better?
Me: The images are low quality. Either send me the name of the font or higher quality images.
The client then tells me the font name and says I have to make it in PS because it would take too much time to add the font onto the website and he wants shadows on the text.
Me: Okay I have created high quality image files and uploaded them.
Client: Now, on my friend’s phone the text looks fine. On my iPad the text looks too big.
Me: If you want, I can write some CSS so that different images show on different screens. Does that work for you?
Client: Can you come over to my house tomorrow so we can work on this together?
Me: I have three meetings tomorrow, so I’m afraid not.
Client: Please? It should only take ten minutes to get this sorted out.
After going to the client’s house he shows me where he wants the text to be positioned on each device. Each version is placed very differently. I tell him I will go back with the drawn designs and send him a link the next afternoon.
Client: No, that’s no good. Can you do it now?
Me: It’s after nine o’clock. I have been here with you since 7 PM and all you have done is draw sketches of where you want the text to be and you aren’t paying me for this.
Client: Well since it’s me doing the work why should I pay you?
Frustrated, I start coding the media queries needed to produce a different image for different devices. After ten minutes of this my client asks:
Client: Are you almost done?
Me: No, it will take a while for what you are asking, I need to make sure the images resize and move as the screen size changes.
The client watches over my shoulder for a while and asks annoying questions about the code I am using. I tell him why I am using the code and why the images of text are not easily moved into his exact positions without the code. After three hours of me working and my client making more changes about how big the text should be and where it should be I tell him that I am going home, and that I’ll work finish it tomorrow.
Client: Can we not just finish it here?
Me: It is now well after one in the morning. I have a meeting at 10 AM and it takes me an hour to get home.
Client: Well can you teach me the ‘codey bits’ [actual quote] so I can do it and don’t have to pay you?
Me: No. I’m not teaching you for free. Also, I’m running your website in my test environment, which I’d rather not just give you access to because I have other projects there. Just let me go and I’ll finish it tomorrow.
He kept me there for another hour. I spent another two hours the next day working on it while he sent me messages over Facebook like “can you move the logo up a little bit,” and “I think ‘coming soon’ needs to be smaller on android.”
Eventually we were done and my client then refused to pay me for the work I’d already done, any travel time, the time I’d spent at his house, and most importantly, for all the time I spent making changes while he corrected me on Facebook. His reasoning?
Client: I thought it was free because I helped out a lot so you didn’t really do any of the work.
This was the last time I ever spoke to this client. He sent me several emails demanding I send him the work because I “used his sketches” and the work was “legally his.”
Please take this as a lesson to always avoid these types of clients. They are not good for your physical, emotional, or mental health, not to mention your wallet.