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Clients from Hell

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My partner and I are in college and we do a lot of freelance work on top of our coursework. A...

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My partner and I are in college and we do a lot of freelance work on top of our coursework. A Montessori school in the county wanted a new logo for their school, so our professor contacted us and we set up a consultation. We only had a short 45-minute window to make this meeting during lunch, when we get to the café we the client was sitting having lunch with his friends and told us he would be right over. 15 minutes later we reminded him that our time for the consultation was limited. After 25 minutes (out of 45) he finally sat down with us.

Client: So nice of you girls to help us out with this logo.

Me: We only have 20 minutes left, so we are going to make this short. What kind of logo do you want? Do you want us to redesign your whole graphic profile? What is the deadline?

Client: Oh, we thought maybe, since we are a school, and we want our identity to reflect the logo, we wanted you to come to our school and talk to the kids, pick their brains and let them come up with some ideas. 

Now I’m exchanging confused looks with my partner as he goes on for 15 minutes on what sort of resources for logo-making he’s got in his classroom. From how many computers have Photoshop to all the arts and crafts supplies he has in a cupboard, and what our possibilities were. We try to interrupt and get him back on track, but he gets agitated, stating he IS talking about the logo, before continuing. 

Me: So let me see if I got this; you want us to come to your school for a day and teach 20 preteens how to use photoshop on the 4 computers you have with that program, you also want us to kick off a drawing competition, set up a vote online for that competition, and let the kids vote on the best drawing and then you want us to format the winner into the logo? 

Client: yes, I told you this, keep up. 

Me: You want us to do this all in a day?

Client: Yes, well, you get a whole week off while waiting for the result but after that, we are going to need the logo pretty quick.

Me: We usually get paid a lump sum after a finished assignment in the XXX range, but since you want us to be teachers for a day we will have to discuss the hourly rate for educating your pupils and get back to you.

The client seems awfully confused as to why two college girls would want to get paid for their working hours and tells us that our professor had said we would do this for about XXX price. 

Me: Yes, for a logo that WE design based on YOUR needs on OUR tightly scheduled time, you will get it for about that price, but technically you are not asking us to design a logo, but to set up and run a workshop with 20 kids for a day and then format the logo they design to fit your needs. AND you want us to put up a website to hold votes on for a week. This is a completely different assignment.   

Client: How is it different, we want a logo and we want you to help us make it. What is the problem? We’re paying you XXX for the logo!

Me: I would love to explain in detail how these two assignments are completely different, but our time is up, if we had, say, 25 more minutes, I am sure we might have cleared things up or even come to an agreement, but as is, we need to go. We’ll be in touch. 

The client seemed to take my snide remark about his tardiness as a positive, so when I emailed him the next day saying we were not going to take on the assignment, he waited 3 days before emailing me back. All he wrote was "ok.“ 

Source: Clients from Hell

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