For true deadbeats with multiple unpaid vendors, I've devised a simple tactic.
Me: Pay me now or I'll tell all of your other creditors that you did.
Client: To go along with his bio page, take this picture of him from last summer and photoshop his head onto some other body from google images or something. We want something real professional-looking, you know classy. We find it is cheaper to just do this than, you know, actually get a photographer and stuff.
Another "let's save money by making more work for the designer" moment, from the Clients From Hell archives.
A client sends through a “draft” contract to me. The payment section is blank.
Client: Have you signed the contract yet?
Me: No. It looks fine, but the payment section is blank. We agreed on $80k. If you can fill the blanks with the amount you agreed to, I’ll sign.
Client: Yep! We’ll fill it in after you’ve signed.
Me: Does anyone ever fall for that?
Client: Not enough people for my liking, to be honest.
A client shows me an eCommerce site they want to be built.
Me: What you want is about a $20,000 website.
They later tell me:
Client: We found a guy who lives in a cabin who just needs money. He's gonna do the whole site for $1,000.
He didn’t work out.
Another "you get what you pay for" moment, from the Clients From Hell archives.
A client wants a new logo for his not-for-profit: a recreational facility for military vets and their families. He mentions not liking what his current designer proposed, and wants a new concept. He's evasive when I inquire about specifics of his marketing plan, goals, etc. Recognizing a fishing expedition, I pivot our chat to budget.
Me: Sounds very interesting. What is your budget?
Client: Well, you tell me.
Me: Certainly you have a notion of what you're willing to spend so...
Client: Listen, I just hired a highly-regarded designer in Miami for this and don't want to reinvent the wheel. So you tell me.
Me: Then can I see what they produced?
Client: Well, I want some fresh ideas and don't want you to be influenced by the other guy's solution.
Me: I need to see that before delivering a proposal.
The client sends me a PDF depicting several very competent logos. Not what I'd do, but each had a patriotic flair that would certainly resonate with vets.
Me: What's wrong with these marks? They're nice.
Client: I want to start over. Then we'll need a website, brochures, social media and so on and you'll be part of that.
Me: Sounds great, I'll send you our design questionnaire so we can build a list of features, timelines, budget, terms, etc.
Client: Look, don't overthink it. It's just a logo. How much?
I hate when people say "It's just a ____".
Me: Well, based on what I know from our call today, I would say between [price] and [price]."
Client: You sure? That seems high. I didn't want to spend so much.
Me: Well, what did you have budgeted? Then maybe we could craft a process and solution to meet that budget, which is...?
Client: Well, you tell me.
Client: Hmm, the picture is not fitting to the screen?
Me: Of course, the 16:9 format will not fit on a 4:3 screen so it will be scaled down to fit the screen horizontally and you have these black bars on top and bottom.
Client: Then it must be cheaper because I get a smaller image for my money.
Another "I don't get it so it much be cheaper" moment, from the Clients From Hell archives.
Me: So as per our marketing strategy I have approached this advertiser and they have given us a great deal on some ads on their website.
Client: I hired you to make sales, why are you outsourcing making sales? What is the point in me paying you if you are paying someone else to do your job?!
After spending some time with a potential client interested in web design work, I finally asked him about his budget for the project.
Client: Oh, actually I won’t be paying you. I thought you wouldn’t mind working for the networking opportunities.
Another time we're expected to pay our rent with influence, from the Clients From Hell archives.
Client: We’re not happy with the concept you sent over, as a result, we don’t feel we should have to pay for it. Can you please send over the design so far as a word document so we can change it ourselves?
Another "hey, this might be a way to get out of paying!" moment from the Clients From Hell archives.