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Clients from Hell

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About this blog

A blog, which I feel that anyone that spends more then 20 minutes in the PP chat can connect with. Entertaining stories about stupid clients. All entries are automated. 

Entries in this blog


I was leaving a client who I’d worked with for 4.5 years, and agreed to help them find someone to replace me.

Me: I really think you should go with this one candidate. She has the most creative design skills and the best portfolio by far.

Client: I don’t care about their portfolio. That doesn’t tell us anything. I just want to know if they can do the job.

Me: ….

Source: Clients from Hell


I work on a freelancing website, where people often post contests. I was browsing their contest section recently, and found this gem:

Client: I want a professional writer to write for me a book about ((How do you achieve your goals and your ambitions and become successful in your life)) 

I want the book to be: 

1. At least 150 Page including the index. 

2. In Basic English (do not use difficult word) 

3. Do not copy any paragraph from Google. 

4. Choose a suitable title for the book 

5. Copyright is in my name.

Note: I will set the appropriate price after seeing the work submitted to me.

It gets better! What do you figure the initial payout was? Brace yourselves: it’s $10 – with no payment guarantee.

I screamed.

Source: Clients from Hell


I had been doing some design work for a corporate conference and had been communicating with the company’s marketing team via email. Though I started the project communicating with their head of marketing (who had design experience and was easy to work with) at some point they took a week off, leaving me to communicate with the rest of the PR and marketing team, who had zero design experience between them. They were great to work with up until this email:

Client: We know your original brief was to stick in line with a sleek style but we now leaning towards a more creative/eye-catching vibe. Please replace the grey with turquoise, and why don’t you try putting red fireworks in the background to give it that party feel? 

Let me re-iterate this was for a professional, corporate conference. 

The boss came back after their week off and told me to change everything back to what it had been before they left. Still got paid for my time though, so I can’t really complain too much.

Source: Clients from Hell


I work for a design agency and frequently get some odd requests from clients, but nothing that I can’t handle. My go-to colleague in the client services team said that he has a project that “only I can work on”.

Obviously, I was a little confused by that statement but proceeded to listen to the brief. The only reason I was the “only one” that can work on this project was that the client only specified she would only work with LGBT designers. 

Now, I am a gay man, but not what most people expect; I’m large, hairy, play rugby and have an awful sense of fashion. 

This was the exchange we had with the client when they came in to explain the project.

Client: Hi, can I meet who will be doing the work?

Me: That will be me.

Client: I’m really sorry but I specifically requested an LGBTQ+ designer to work on my project.

Me: Oh, I’m gay.

Client: Well, to be honest, I’m not super comfortable with you working on my project. I don’t think you’ll have the right feel for it.

Me: I have a long history of doing design for all sorts of project, from construction brochures to fashion magazine supplements. I assure you I can handle it.  

Client: I just cannot work with someone who fights their own personality and can’t embrace their lifestyle.

At this point, I thought it was best to leave and let my colleague try and work out the issue with his client. About 30 minutes later, my colleague comes out of the meeting room and the client just walks out the front door.

My colleague proceeded to tell me that the client did not want to do business as she felt that I “wasn’t gay enough” and that she feels that i “wouldn’t understand her vision”.

All she wanted was a few leaflets and brochures created for a campaign she is doing regarding homeless LGBTQ+ teens. 

Source: Clients from Hell


We reached out to our readers with a simple question

If you could teach your younger self ONE lesson about freelancing at the beginning of your career, what would it be?

Now, because our readers are smart, wonderful, and uniformly good looking, they responded with some FANTASTIC advice.

Some were funny:

Accept bitcoin as payment!

And some were sad:

Designers: pic.twitter.com/TKAEemz9ci

Some shared really fantastic productivity tips:

This is fantastic.

This is vital

Other people talked about communication, and keeping your relationships with clients healthy:

A client/freelancer relationship should feel more like partner/partner vs. master/servant. If it doesn’t, make changes.

Pay more attention to your clients and post regularly. I feel that if I had done that years ago I’d be in a different situation today

Not a freelancer, but an apprentice. And I can already tell you when you work with someone who has no experience in this area. TELL THEM what you are going to do and especially what is going to be on the bill.
A lot of them think what we do is nothing and refuse t pay.

Don’t put clients on a pedestal. I managed to get my ‘dream client’ once and they turned out to be a huge disappointment (quite rude /demanding extra work for free (I didn’t do it) / not paying on time).

Value good people & interesting work over names.

Learn when to say no, and how to recognize in retrospect when you should have said no.

Others focused on relationships with your colleagues:

Cultivate a network of other design friends. Send them design jobs and they will usually reciprocate.

Some advice was for your grind:

Research your clients thoroughly

Get the people who’ll have the *final* say into each sign off meeting; otherwise you’ll get to the final hurdle, it’ll go upstairs for ‘approval’ and come back with changes that should have been specified at the start. You’ll be expected to absorb these into your original quote.

Set aside at least ½ a day to work on your own business a week. No interruptions. These items are important, and help avoid the feast and famine rollercoaster. https://t.co/9dtmUhwU4G

Better get comfy and skilled at spending 75% of your time prospecting and otherwise finding new projects. Annoying right? Yep. https://t.co/skt8eEW3Hx

Remember to DO YOUR TAXES:

Keep track of the taxes you owe and don’t spend it!

(This really messed up my first year as a freelancer and it was such a facepalm moment) https://t.co/9Dl9M9TzNd

And sometimes, be a little tricky:

Choice corrupts. Give client max 3 choices and highlight your pref. They’ll value you more removing their choice. Seems counterintuitive tho

But two things were LOUD AND CLEAR.GET A CONTRACT:

Always have the client sign a Letter of Agreement for your protection ( and their understanding).I learned this the hard way.

No matter how small the job, use a well-written, comprehensive contract. Scope creep can turn a tiny, easy job into a neverending nightmare. https://t.co/PrFFq4c3sk

Use a contract. Every. Single. Time.
And when they ask for more than what was agreed on - because they ALL will - refer back to the contract and charge extra for extra work.
Your talent is valuable as hell.
Also, charge double what you’re thinking in your head.


Never cut your rates or do work for free with the promise of exposure.

ALWAYS get some form of payment (ideally half) up front before starting a project.

Avoid low paying clients, they are the most rude and demanding.

Anyone who tells you that you should totally do work for free “to start out” is almost definitely involved in a multi-level marketing scheme and have no idea what they’re talking about

I’ll never forget a boss at a pizza place telling me “just go around to local businesses and offer to do free work!” even a less-experienced me knew what a colossally terrible idea that was

Don’t work for free and immediately challenge anyone that asks to a knife fight behind the abandoned Blockbuster Video https://t.co/pMpRCuTsHv

…Okay. MAYBE that last bit isn’t the best advice.

But what IS good advice is to follow all these beautiful folk who submitted these gems. Good luck, and keep fighting the good fight.

Source: Clients from Hell


I’m working for a Japanese client of a famous bike company, and they are in need of a Japanese to French translation for their manual, explaining how to repair or change parts of the bike. 

Client: Find attached a TM (*Note: Translation Memory) for the file you have to translate. Please note that even if the French sounds weird for a native, you don’t have to correct it, we’ve used this TM for years. Use the words of the TM without changing or correcting them.

The French document was a mess. Zero accents, the conjugations were all reversed, there were multiple misspellings…

BUT they were paying me well and my name wasn’t going to appear on it, so I did what they asked. I just feel bad for anyone who is going to use this manual.

Source: Clients from Hell


A client didn’t like my initial design for her website and asked to meet so she could explain her ideas.

She brought a poster board covered in shapes cut out from construction paper, vinyl letters, and pictures cut out from magazines. It looked like a 5-year-old’s craft project.

I mocked it up as best I could. It was still awful.

She loved it.

Source: Clients from Hell


I offer Managed IT Services in my area. I took a job for a pediatric therapy office to install a network including an enterprise router, multiple access points, backup solutions, VPNs, a server, and a security system.

I arrived on site around 6am in the morning looking to pull a 12hr day and finish most of my work on the first day so that I could leave the second day for fine-tuning.

Day two, the client shows up and starts changing what they want.

Client: I know we said the router would go into this closet, but I’m thinking we might want to move it now.

Me: We can’t do that.

Client: Of course you can!

Me: Normally, sure. But when you had this office built, you had wiring installed and then poured concrete around it. This is where the ISP cable is.

Client: So?

Me: We’d have to chisel through the concrete to make a new access point.

Client: Just knock out the wall!

Me: It’s a load-bearing wall. I don’t have the tools for that, much less the permits.

Eventually, I was able to get the client to keep it where it was since it was a central location. In total, the work took 2 ½ days to complete because the client took up almost 4 hours of my time trying to figure out how to move that router. When he paid me for my work, he shorted me on four hours of time for “lollygagging” as he put it.

I told him that he can find another IT Manager.

Source: Clients from Hell


I was looking through adverts for copywriters. This person seems to want a PA, a copywriter and a PR manager all for minimum wage. The full horror is below:

Client: I’m looking for someone to help create newsletters, enhance social media presence, design and create digital and hard copy adverts/posters, keep on top of existing advertising, VIP data management, business building for corporate events etc. The list is endless!

You’ll need to be a self-starter, honest, trustworthy and hardworking. You’ll be set tasks and goals but you’ll need to manage your own time and get things done to deadlines. You need to have a bright and bubbly personality and be confident in customer/potential customer interactions.

You’ll need a creative mind, a bit quirky, able to think left field and not just follow the crowd. I need someone to help put my ideas int0 action but also come up with their own.

You’ll need to be methodical and organized because I am not! I may need you to help manage my time too!!

I know this advert is a bit vague, but if it tickles your fancy a bit, give me a shout and we’ll have a chat!!

Job Type: Part-time

Salary: £7.20 /hour

Source: Clients from Hell


This week’s deal is on 29 GORGEOUS handwritten fonts. 

> 29 Fonts for $9. That’s $98% off. 


You’re reading Clients From Hell; that means you have a pretty clear idea of how valuable a good font is. This package has 29 different premium fonts, each with its own hand-drawn personality. Try the distressed denim cool of Zenith, or the free-spirit chic of Mustache. Designing a wedding invite? Lend a personal touch with the flowing lines of Daughter, or BellaScript. Each has a distinct character that will enrich whatever design you use them on. 

Buying all 29 would normally cost $456, but for just a few more days you can get them all for $9, or less than the cost of a single premium font

> Check out the deal here

Source: Clients from Hell


My agency agreed to do a website for a new client on the cheap because he was a friend of our MD (always a dubious start). We had the client in a few times, and he was one of the most obnoxious, rude and socially awkward people I have ever met.

He referred to himself as a consultant but was just a middle-man trying to sell as many different services as he could from a wide variety of different tech companies, and he would take a commission for every service he hoped to sell.

It was evident during our meetings that he didn’t have any knowledge of any of the services he was trying to sell other than random pieces of jargon he had picked up along the way. For the website content, he wanted to lift it, verbatim, from his partners marketing collateral.

We started to put the website together, and it grew in size every time we spoke to the client as he found yet another new ‘service’ to add.

One day the client rang our office and asked to speak to me to discuss the website. As I was sat next to my manager and she needed to speak to him also, I put him on loudspeaker. Before I had a chance to warn the client he was on loudspeaker, he made a derogatory remark about my manager, so it was now too socially awkward to tell him my manager was also on the call.

My manager had to listen to the rest of the call in silence. After the call ended I hung up the handset receiver and my manager, myself and another member of staff immediately started discussing how rude and obnoxious he was and how he had no clue about what his business actually did.

After about 5 minutes, we stopped talking about him and carried on with our work. That’s when I heard the clicking sound you hear when you hang up a wired phone handset. Oh shit.

I looked at my phone handset and realized the green ‘loudspeaker’ light was still on. He’d heard our entire post-phone call conversation. While he was a prick, I felt terrible as it was clearly an unprofessional thing to do and I was so embarrassed.

After discussing it with my colleagues, we managed to convince ourselves that there was another explanation. Perhaps he did hang up, and the sound of the handset was clicking was the client picking his phone up to make a call to someone else.

Around 4 hours later I was alone in the office but feeling more relaxed about the situation. Then the phone rang, and it was the client. After some small talk, he told me he did, in fact, hear our entire post-phone call conversation! I was so mortified I felt like climbing out the office window to escape!

Luckily, he was more concerned with whether my manager heard his derogatory remarks and I got away with it and we never heard from the client again

Source: Clients from Hell


Me:  Hello and Welcome to product support. You’re ta–

Client: Hello?

Me: Yes, hell-

Client: Is anyone there?

Me: Yes, I’m here.

Client: I just got a new TV and there’s a big f***ing problem.

Me: What’s the issue?

Client: I need a setting.

Me: Excuse me?

Client: A SETTING!

Me: What setting?

Client: There’s a f***ing problem and I need a SETTING!

Me: If you could tell me what the issue is, it will be easier for me to help…

Client: I. Need. A. SETTING!

Me: Yes, but FOR WHAT?

Client: The PROBLEM with the TV!


Client: There are some hieroglyphs in the corner, and they move to the other side.

Me: Okay.

Client: So I need a setting.

Me: I’m sorry, what do you mean hieroglyphs?

Client: I need a SETTNG.

Me: What do you mean? Do you mean you need a technician to come install your TV?

Client: No, I want HELP!

Me: These “hieroglyphs” – do these glyphs show up on all channels?

Client: The hieroglyphs are in the corner, and they move to the other side.

Me:  Can you read what they say or describe them in any way?


Me: Yes, but are they text, or numbers, or?

Client: I need a SETTING.

I hung up. Never did find out what he meant.

Source: Clients from Hell


Client: Please send the image as a jpg attached to your email, not pasted in word or pages. 

I do exactly this. I would never send an image in a Word file, but whatever.

Client: Please add a jpg, the designer needs it attached to the email. 

Me: I did, but here it is again.  

Client: Please read the guidelines for submission.

Me: I honestly did exactly that, but I will send it using WeTransfer, just to be sure. 

Turns out they forwarded the email to the designer but forgot that attachments don’t automatically forward as well. The designer finally downloaded the image through WeTransfer because they sent a link.

Source: Clients from Hell


I’m a social media manager for a smallish tech company and spend a lot of my time convincing my boss that social is valuable and that I have plenty of experience in the field.

Client: I think we’re being lemmings by just trying to build up a large audience and engagement on places like Facebook and Twitter.

Me: Well, over 8 billion people in the world are on Facebook, for example, so there’s a large audience to reach that could be interested in what we have to offer.

Client: Yeah, I think we’d be better served if we created our own social media channel from scratch. Can you do that?

Me: (Internally) If I could do that, I wouldn’t be working here.

Source: Clients from Hell


This wasn’t my client, but I felt the person’s pain nonetheless.

This week I went to get my wedding dress fitted, and the shop owner was telling me about the hassle she was having with the guy designing her website. He redesigned it for her, but she didn’t like it.

Client: It looked like every other bridal website out there!

Me: Gee, that’s tough.

Client: So yeah, I didn’t pay him.

I don’t know if she felt me tense up, but I started groaning in my head.

The only upside is that apparently, her designer changed all her networking site passwords. That made me smile.

Source: Clients from Hell


We are putting together a brochure for a local-food supplier. Local companies can buy ads in that brochure; we design them based on their guidelines.

The companies vary, but usually don’t have websites/social media accounts, meaning it’s hard to find anything out about them.

With the print deadline approaching, we finally hear from a local company:

Client: Here’s our logo! Just put that in there with a picture you think fits.

Me: Sure! What does your company do?

No response. I googled the company with no results, but their logo says “farm wares” and features a silhouette of a rooster, so I used a photo of chickens on a farm.

Me: Does this image work?

Client: What do we have to do with chickens?

Me: Oh, I thought…

Client: No. Unacceptable. Change it.

Me: Well, can you tell me what you want in a photo?

Client: I’m not a designer! Just find something that isn’t totally unrelated to our business.

Source: Clients from Hell

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