The last few days I’ve been reading a lot of the quotes on ClientsFromHell.net’it’s amazing how addictive the site is if you’re in the web industry and dealing with clients on a daily basis. The question I’m asking myself is; are so many clients really expecting us to not get paid for our work?
The website features countless examples of clients that request changes without any budget, and clients that have already accepted the deliverables and had their work delivered but decide the last minute that it’s too expensive or they’ve found a cheaper designer to make the site for them. What is it with our industry that makes people think our job is so easy and quick that we should offer our services for free?
Perhaps it’s because of the lack of understanding about the design and development processes. This lack of understanding can make our job seem easy to those who don’t know what they’re talking about. Some of the clients on ClientFromHell.net seem to think that it’s merely a matter of ???????pushing some buttons??????? to turn a graphic design into a fully functional website.
Perhaps it’s because of an old and incorrect stereotype from the time where many so called ???????web designers??????? were, for example, teenagers working from their parents homes. I’ve been such a kid myself’that was 8 years ago and a lot has changed.
Web designers can still be teenagers who know a little HTML but the fact is of course that most professional designers and developers need a decent income to feed their families. Just like with any other job, we need to get paid. I am so amazed by the amount of clients who think they can just ignore the price and terms that were agreed upon.
Me: “That’ll be $210.00.”—Link
Client: “I’ve decided I want to pay you less.”
Me: “But this is the price we agreed upon.”
Client: “I just decided I don’t want to pay you that much after all.”
Can you just work half as hard on my job as you would normally do? Then maybe I can pay half your normal rate?—Link
It seems as though every time we ask you to do any work, we have to pay for it.—Link
I will need a weeks free trial to see if I like the website then I will decide if I pay you or not.—Link
You’ll never make any money if you’re always charging for every little thing that you do!—Link
I’ve had one company expecting me to produce a working prototype of a custom ecommerce solution before they would decide to hire me. In my opinion, it’s an insult. It would means spending many hours working for free on something that we don’t even know if someone will use. I wonder if the client himself thinks it’s normal to work without pay.
Perhaps it’s because there are web designers out there that work for next to nothing. This is why I don’t bid on projects on popular bidding sites—most, or all, of the time I’d get outbid by someone with less knowledge and experience but the client will go with the lower price because he can’t see the value in paying a proper fee for a web design project. Things such as scalability are sacrificed to push the price lower.
Since you have over-bid our project, can you recommend anyone who has your exact same design skills and client facing abilities for half the cost?—Link
Client: “I want a great corporate logo that looks like a Fortune 500 company’s logo.” Me: “Okay, I can do that. I bill at $XX an hour.”—Link
Client: “Well I guess just don’t spend more than a few minutes on it.”
I just need you to update our site with the new logo but we’re already over my maximum budget so I’m going to need to cap the payment on that to where we are now.—Link
After spending some time with a potential client interested in web design work, I finally asked him about his budget for the project. His response was, “Oh, actually I won’t be paying you. I thought you wouldn’t mind working for the networking opportunities.”—Link
Perhaps it’s just computer illiteracy. People often have no idea of how a website is produced or what it consists of. This computer illiteracy can interrupt our work but it can also give us a good laugh once in a while. If the client has humor, perhaps he or she can see the fun in the situation as well.
As a designer or a developer, we need to keep in mind that most clients don’t know what they want, nor do they know the difference between good and bad design. It’s our job to inform and educate our clients, making them able to make informed decisions no matter their computer knowledge.
Client: ”Why does the eblast print in black-and-white?”—Link
Me: ”Are you using a black-and-white printer?”
I don’t know what I want until I know what the final product looks like. So, I would like you to create 5 fully functional websites so I can decide then pay you for one of those.—Link
A lady asked me to scan in a photo of her dead husband in a fishing boat. Once that was done she asked me to use Photoshop to turn the man’s face so it was facing the camera.—Link
We are also for some strange reason often expected to work around the clock and answer any phone calls or emails that are made on weekends and evenings. Especially we freelancers are expected to do this since we don’t have any set business hours.
If you’re working from home, it’s your job to let the client know when it’s appropriate to call you. Some people don’t consider common sense. Instead, they believe that since they are working on a Saturday evening, so must you. Since they are paying you, you should be working around the clock exclusively on their project.
I’d suggest getting a business phone number and definitely not use you home phone or cellphone. Personally, I’ve got a Skype number for my business though I prefer email since I can compile a thought out response when I feel that there’s time to do so. Trusted clients have my cellphone number for emergency situations.
Phone call at 8 in the morning. Client: ”I’m very disappointed in you not responding to my urgent emails! I flagged them URGENT!”—Link
Me: “Uh, we’re technically not open for another half hour, what time did you send the emails?”
Client: ”Around 3am! I’ve been waiting FIVE HOURS for you to respond! You’re hardly treating it as urgent!”
Well, I’M working through the Christmas holiday, so if you get your designers to work too then we can get our website up faster.—Link
It surprises me that no matter what web designer you’re talking to, they always have a “bad client story” to tell you. I must have been lucky since my clients are very easy to get along with and they’re all smart people that listen to what I have to say.
On the contrary, SmashingMagazine recently posted an article saying there are no bad clients, and FreelanceFolder has an article saying that clients are not demons from hell. They both feature good points and I too believe that with experience, you’ll learn how to properly deal with, and educate a client.
They will understand that your decisions are based theory and years of practice. Of course, there are still people out there who are stubborn and won’t listen but educating your clients will increase your chances of a good project outcome.
Paul Boag, @boagworld, also talks about the subject in the interesting number 201 of his Boagworld podcast, mentioning how quick we are to judge our clients. He says that the reason why you end up with a horrible website is that you are not doing your job and communicating with your client—”People design for themselves.”
Here are a few other favorites I’ve come across on ClientsFromHell.net. If you want to take a break and have a good laugh, I suggest you browse through the site for a while. It has so many priceless quotes you’ll be wondering if most of them are made up. Also check out the classic comic “How A Web Design Goes Straight To Hell.”
I had been working with a client since Feburary creating a full identity package. After countless teeth pulling sessions and geting the greens “just right” we were ready to print in September. I get a call from her saying “I put a stop payment on my cheque because we want to get some renovations done on the house”.—Link
Client: I want the colour to be white but somehow black.—Link
Me: You do realize that it takes a bit of time to design an entire website, right? And that I was already rushing just to meet your semi-deadline. I did the work that you asked of me, and now you don’t want to pay me, is that it?—Link
Client: I am not going to use your website. I did my own website in 4 hours and I have never done anything but a starter page before! And since most of the information you added looks recent because it is taken from my recently made site; it probably took you less time. What exactly would I be paying you for? You have had over a month to do this site, and after doing one myself I know you did not devote much time to making it.
I understand that you prefer to use photoshop, but we don’t feel like that program is universal enough. If you could do all of the design work in Microsoft Paint it would be easier for us to edit what you do and give you an idea of the changes we want.—Link