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Clients from Hell

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I recently undertook an animation project for a large corporate. My client was actually the media...

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I recently undertook an animation project for a large corporate. My client was actually the media production agency that they had hired, so I was providing work for the end client through an intermediate client that I had worked with before. My previous experience with this media production agency had been “mixed,” to say the least, but I’m all for second chances.

It all looked good at the start – they sent me a production schedule with a bunch of review dates and interim deadlines which would keep the whole thing ticking along nicely with the minimum of downtime.

After about a week, said schedule went out the window. No effort was made to replace it and the whole thing became a shambles of “when the client gets around to it” which meant that I had huge tracts of time where I wasn’t working, couldn’t charge but had to stay available “in case changes were needed.”

In the end, the project that had been scheduled to take six weeks ran on to seven months and counting. Despite this fact, it was difficult to get any extra money out of my client. What’s more, if the end client wasn’t happy with ANYTHING in the project, they would blame me and demand that I make the changes for free. To add insult to injury, even though the client would sit on changes for weeks, I was expected to react instantly when they came in, at one point having to leave my friends in a restaurant because they “desperately needed” me to FTP a file to them at 10 PM, due to a supposedly unbreakable deadline.

Eventually, the job was signed off by the end client, I was paid, and I uploaded all the source files to my immediate client. That, I thought, was the end of my involvement and I promised myself I would never work with this media production agency ever again. 

Give them an inch, they’ll take a lightyear. Two months after the supposedly final deadline, my client contacted me saying that two of the files needed re-rendering because they were encoded wrong. I pointed out that I had sent them the source files and it would be easy for them to do it themselves. They demanded I do it immediately.  So I dutifully rendered the files, put them in an upload queue and went back to my paying clients. The next morning, I checked everything was uploaded successfully. It was, so I sent the client an email to tell him so.

Client: The new renders were uploaded onto the FTP 19 hours ago. You should have notified us that they were there at that time so we could send our client the project as soon as they were ready. They’ve been waiting long enough. 

If that’s not clear: they hadn’t sent the project to end client at all yet. They’d hassled me endlessly to complete the project for a deadline two month earlier, and then sat on the files for weeks. Then they demanded that I re-render them and upload them FOR FREE and had the gall to complain that I didn’t do it fast enough. 

If that’s not enough to complain about, for some reason my skin has turned green, my purple trousers have ripped, and I have an overwhelming urge to SMASH.

> Want to know if freelancing is for you?

Source: Clients from Hell

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