Clients from Hell


Paul Murray

Ultimate Member
Found another great work opportunity on Upwork. Requires drawing stuff by hand before converting to digital artwork, but they're willing to pay less than minimum wage for your trouble if they like it.

great-opportunity.jpg
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
Got sent over a timeline in Excel - linear - and all they wanted was to jazz it up a bit and use their fonts and colours.

I do it up - took a few hours to get it to the level I was happy with - sent it on to them.

"Sorry - I didn't explain myself properly, I meant as a wheel!"

...
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
Got a request from some company that deals in precious metals, must be a lucrative business, being precious metals and all that. They initially wanted something printed, but on looking at artwork supplied I realised the quality was quite low. Offered to redo the artwork for £50 as a favour to get the print work, as they were looking to get it gold foiled.

Balked at the £50 offer for redoing their artwork to a professional standard.
Didn't know how to setup the artwork for gold foil and wanted that done for free.

Then wanted to know if I do a sample of the gold foil for FREE!
When I asked how many samples they wanted; they said, "300"

WTF?
 

scotty

Moderator
Staff member
Got a request from some company that deals in precious metals, must be a lucrative business, being precious metals and all that. They initially wanted something printed, but on looking at artwork supplied I realised the quality was quite low. Offered to redo the artwork for £50 as a favour to get the print work, as they were looking to get it gold foiled.

Balked at the £50 offer for redoing their artwork to a professional standard.
Didn't know how to setup the artwork for gold foil and wanted that done for free.

Then wanted to know if I do a sample of the gold foil for FREE!
When I asked how many samples they wanted; they said, "300"

WTF?
HA-HA! Just 300?

I'd have bee tempted to get a sheet of gold foil and cut it up into 300 bits and posted them that.

Some people?
 

gprovan

Member
I'm sure there aren't many of you who like a client to sit with you while you create their design.
And I'm no different. However, I've relented for one new client as they won't have it any other way.

I got this email today: "We are looking forward to see you on Thursday with all your laptop and all your designer tools to get started. If you want to bring snacks that fine."

I just don't know what to expect. :LOL:
 

Levi

Moderator
Staff member
I'm sure there aren't many of you who like a client to sit with you while you create their design.
And I'm no different. However, I've relented for one new client as they won't have it any other way.

I got this email today: "We are looking forward to see you on Thursday with all your laptop and all your designer tools to get started. If you want to bring snacks that fine."

I just don't know what to expect. :LOL:
Phone in sick....

Luckily I can just say, sorry but my laptop/tablet isn't high enough spec to do the work you want doing.... and as much as I'd love for you to visit mine, unfortunately due to other nda's I can't have clients over to my office at the moment either. :)
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
I'm sure there aren't many of you who like a client to sit with you while you create their design.
And I'm no different. However, I've relented for one new client as they won't have it any other way.

I got this email today: "We are looking forward to see you on Thursday with all your laptop and all your designer tools to get started. If you want to bring snacks that fine."

I just don't know what to expect. :LOL:
Don't expect snacks!
 

gprovan

Member
Well, here's the follow up from this morning.
It actually went okay. They spoke to me about what they were looking for, sat in another room until I had done some of the work and then came through for me to talk them through it.
Pretty much finalised the design.
I think they've been burnt before, but were more than happy with my work.

I didn't bring snacks but they did make me a coffee.
 

KCoppo

New Member
Just wanted to share my own client hell story! :)) So, I was working on an animated short video for a client before Christmas. It was due to go out around the 15th--but keep in mind the company has always worked to 'soft' deadlines and changes them randomly ALL the time. Anyway, I had a sudden death in the family which was devastating. I had to catch a flight to be with family and attend the funeral. I continued to work on the video whilst away because I've never let a client down. I told my client the video would be late due to circumstances and was told "we completely understand and please don't worry, we can put it out after Christmas it's not a problem". So, they did... after Christmas it was in their social media feeds.

Two weeks later, I submitted my invoice and received this email...

Unfortunately, this content failed to make any impact, receiving the lowest impressions of any content all year. In my opinion, this was due to us circulating it on 23rd December when the majority of our contacts were already on Christmas break. As you probably know, the advice from marketing professionals is that all Christmas communications be distributed by the end of the second week of December to maximise impact. Usually I would refuse to pay for work delivered late when the impact is so substantial. However, I also appreciate that it was a very difficult time for you and it’s completely understandable that work was not top-of-mind.

So, because they are 'so nice' they paid me less than half of what was owed. And I am supposed to be grateful.

The main issues I have are ... in the past they've never based whether or not they pay me on how many impressions a post receives, and they used the video! I've worked night and day for this business, developing their brand and getting them to a point where they are considered leaders in their field. It's such a let down.

Thanks for letting me rant. And I'd really love to know you'd react under these circumstances. Am I overreacting? Should I be grateful to be paid anything? Are they right and I'm wrong?
 

scotty

Moderator
Staff member
Firstly, sorry for your loss. :(
Rant away! That's what this thread is for. ;)

That's a bit of a tricky one as at first they seemed to be very understanding and then moved the goal posts on you.
Almost as if you were communicating with two different people with differing views?

You are not in the wrong as you can't plan for such a thing but then I guess it did impact on their campaign.

Personally, I think I'd be inclined to suck it up and take what they are giving but I think it would taint my view of them if I were to be honest.
 

KCoppo

New Member
Firstly, sorry for your loss. :(
Rant away! That's what this thread is for. ;)

That's a bit of a tricky one as at first they seemed to be very understanding and then moved the goal posts on you.
Almost as if you were communicating with two different people with differing views?

You are not in the wrong as you can't plan for such a thing but then I guess it did impact on their campaign.

Personally, I think I'd be inclined to suck it up and take what they are giving but I think it would taint my view of them if I were to be honest.
Hi Scotty,

Thanks for the response. You're right. :-(

Unfortunately, I did get emotional about it which isn't very professional--a few tears. It wasn't about the money but more about how much I've done for them over the past year. I've worked such long hours for nothing to help them, and also paid to attend an awards night with them because they wanted to look like they had a bigger team... travelling to London, paying for a hotel, train tickets and they never even suggested helping me with the cost--which was £500 in the end! They also told me they planned to reward me for how far I've brought their business--nothing ever happened. So, I was very hurt.

Anyway, like you suggested, I'm going to put it behind me but won't forget. I'm suggesting a different working relationship. At the moment, they treat me like an employee--even though I'm a consultant. I'm going to pull back, and put together some clear guidelines which includes receiving a clear brief, etc. and I will no longer join weekly team meetings and follow all their internal rules.

I have one question for you, how can I cover myself so this doesn't happen again. In other words, should I ask for 25% down payment for any work provided, and full payment once approved. Are there any standard guidelines available that you know of that I can use?

I love this forum... I don't get out much so having other designers to talk to is amazing. THANK YOU!!!
 

scotty

Moderator
Staff member
I didn't quite realise you had such a relationship going with them.

To be honest, quite a few lines seem to have been blurred and crossed but this can happen when you've been working with a client so closely and for so long.
It does however come across as a bit of a slap in the face though. :(
It seems like you've been doing a lot of employee type stuff at your own expense and effort with no reward or remuneration?
I do tend to have a personal rule that if it's going to cost me something, it ain't going to happen.
I think that's because I'm from Yorkshire however. ;)

This may sound a little like "closing the door after the horse has bolted" but I tend to ask for a 50% deposit up front and the balance on completion which is totally normal.
Other people tend to break it down a bit more into mile-stones at say 25% for each step.
Also, a contract wouldn't hurt but although this is considered standard it probably isn't going to be easy to incorporate at this stage.

I've also found myself in a similar position where the personal/work relationship had become less defined and found myself being sucked into things that I wouldn't normally do and felt I was being taken advantage of.
It's like a bit of a trap that you don't quite see coming.

I've just got out of one of those and I've put a lot of things down to experience. :(
"You live and learn".

If you do continue to work with them then I'd start to try and put a few rules into place to protect yourself as them choosing what to pay you isn't really acceptable.

Again. I've been there and it's not good. :(
 

KCoppo

New Member
I didn't quite realise you had such a relationship going with them.

To be honest, quite a few lines seem to have been blurred and crossed but this can happen when you've been working with a client so closely and for so long.
It does however come across as a bit of a slap in the face though. :(
It seems like you've been doing a lot of employee type stuff at your own expense and effort with no reward or remuneration?
I do tend to have a personal rule that if it's going to cost me something, it ain't going to happen.
I think that's because I'm from Yorkshire however. ;)

This may sound a little like "closing the door after the horse has bolted" but I tend to ask for a 50% deposit up front and the balance on completion which is totally normal.
Other people tend to break it down a bit more into mile-stones at say 25% for each step.
Also, a contract wouldn't hurt but although this is considered standard it probably isn't going to be easy to incorporate at this stage.

I've also found myself in a similar position where the personal/work relationship had become less defined and found myself being sucked into things that I wouldn't normally do and felt I was being taken advantage of.
It's like a bit of a trap that you don't quite see coming.

I've just got out of one of those and I've put a lot of things down to experience. :(
"You live and learn".

If you do continue to work with them then I'd start to try and put a few rules into place to protect yourself as them choosing what to pay you isn't really acceptable.

Again. I've been there and it's not good. :(
Yes, as you say, the lines have become blurred. They were my first official ongoing client and I was excited to actually be making a living as not only a graphic designer, but a copywriter as I write almost all their copy and blog articles (although I don't get any credit as I'm a ghostwriter).

Well, I think I'll put together some sort of contract. It's probably for the best.

So, what happens if you ask for a deposit, complete all the work, and a client doesn't like it? You keep the 50% and take a loss on the rest?

Like you say, it's a "live and learn" kind of thing. I'll be more careful next time... if there is a next time! :p
 

KCoppo

New Member
Yes, as you say, the lines have become blurred. They were my first official ongoing client and I was excited to actually be making a living as not only a graphic designer, but a copywriter as I write almost all their copy and blog articles (although I don't get any credit as I'm a ghostwriter).

Well, I think I'll put together some sort of contract. It's probably for the best.

So, what happens if you ask for a deposit, complete all the work, and a client doesn't like it? You keep the 50% and take a loss on the rest?

Like you say, it's a "live and learn" kind of thing. I'll be more careful next time... if there is a next time! :p
And... what if they say it's not good enough, only pay you 50% but still use it?
 
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