Client: Love what you did with the flyer. It’s perfect.
The next day, five times:
Client: Can you redo it?
I was asked to work on a studio-based show for TV with a fast turnaround of two days prep, one day edit, one day tidy up and get to air. Having worked on it the year before and ending up working 37 hours straight to get it done in time for broadcast even though the contract was for a max 8.5 hour day, I was hesitant, to say the least, but was assured by the hiring company my contracted hours would be stuck to by the client this time, and they did a LOT to try make sure that was the case.
But of course, I receive a call from the client at 11 PM the evening of my first day:
Client: So, what exactly are your hours on the show this year?
Me: I'll be doing 8.5 hours, which is my contracted maximum, but we have planned things out so well, the first day was on track, and I've arranged a shifted pattern with the other editor so you are always covered. To be honest, there's no reason we can't make this schedule.
Client: Oh wow, they are keeping you on a tight leash this year, huh? It really doesn't allow you to really be free with your time. Not like last year. It's not great, right? I'm concerned.
Me: Well, I'd prefer to stick to the hours, and like I say, we have planned meticulously and are on a very rigorous deadline, so as long as that's kept in mind, there's no reason for me sticking to the agreed hours should be an issue.
Cut to three days later, and I am once again a husk of an editor, having worked three times as many hours over the two days than agreed because some clients think plans, schedules, and contracts are totally optional.
Have you ever had a client assume that you just don't need to sleep?
I work for a highly visited news web portal that covers many stories in the region.
One of my "favourite" clients asks for the photographer to come and visit the opening of a digitally mapped and marked trail on one of the local hills (an hour's ride from our working space) that their company was sponsoring. It was considered urgent since the client said they didn't have any other photographer and someone had to cover the story.
Our photographer, in order to take the most beautiful sceneries and panoramas, makes an extra effort and during the event climbs up the hill without equipment, spends the whole day in the mountains covering the story, gets in a life danger twice, and brings us the best photo in the end.
Eventually, the client sends their own photographs and video content.
When asked why we don't use our photographer's content, they said "too much greenery and there were none of our managers."
Have you ever had to put in the work and not have it recognized?
I was working on a submission package for a client for a big government contract. The deadline, for some reason, was on a Monday. The client knew that, I knew that, we all knew that. We had two weeks to put together the application.
The client dragged their heels on everything - giving me source content to draw from, design materials, templates. I pulled together a full draft the prior Tuesday and pushed it to them to give me feedback ASAP.
They gave me major revisions... at 6 PM on Friday.
You know how sometimes in movies, a magic spell turns someone solid, and then they turn to dust which blows away in the wind? I felt like I saw that happen to my weekend.
I was working with a client who kept asking for revision after revision for a design (I'd made the mistake of not limiting the number in the contract, since I THOUGHT it would be a pretty simple job). I finally spoke up.
Me: Just so you know, after this revision I'm going to have to start charging you for my time. We're well past the initial scope of the budget at this point.
Client: Oh, okay. Let's just go with the third version, then. I liked that one best.
We were at revision seven. He was just trying to see what other versions would look like.
I received an "urgent" email from a client I'd done some design work for in the past. The body of the text read as follows.
Client: I have a design job that I need to talk to you about ASAP. Please respond immediately.
I was working on some other files for other clients, but I cleared time to make a meeting.
Me: You have an urgent project for me?
Client: Yes! It's a promotion for an event I will be hosting locally [...] in three months.
So... not urgent at all then. He just wanted to tell me about it right away.
Client: We need this poster modified. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel – we just want you to modify the colors. Can you turn that around by 5 PM?
Me: That shouldn’t be a problem. I have some time now, so I’ll have a look right away.
I changed the colors, I moved the layout around a bit and changed the imagery. Job done, submitted at 1:30 PM.
At 4:30 pm, I got this response:
Client: I love it, it’s exactly what I want. But I think we want a complete redesign now. Would you mind?
Me: Sure! When do you need it?
Client: We still need it for 5.
A sudden death complete redesign from the Clients From Hell archives!
I met a client over Zoom after a massive push to get a job done because they demanded last minute revisions (after not giving any feedback for weeks).
Client: Are you drinking coffee? That's so bad for you.
Also bad for you: staying up until 3 AM trying to accommodate your bulls****.
Client: We set the deadline for this morning. Did you have some other understanding of when the deadline was? Why are we not on the same page here?
A client who sent their final revisions the night before... at 1 AM, when I was sleeping, for a deadline of 9 AM.
This is a verbatim real job posting I recently saw.
Client: This is data collection job. I need a person to collect the data from various sources (we will give sources). The job requires 40-50 hours. We can pay 5,5 € / hour including taxes. You can do this job from any place you want, even from home, listen to your favourite podcasts while doing, etc.
Client: The job needs to finished today / tomorrow.