Clients From Hell



I’ve been MIA fro this blog for a while – not because the Client ‘Gods’ are smiling down on me but simply because I’ve been handling way too much shit from them! The latest is this client going MIA for over two whole months – I’ve given him a call more than once and while he’s courteous on the call and says “I will reply to the email” [ which is the first design option that was sent to him and awaits feedback ], he never really gets back. Neither does he give a reason. He could simply tell me to fuck off but he doesn’t do that either.

Then there’s a client who’s very conveniently out of the country as soon as it’s time to pay up the balance. Bitch. Can’t be reached on the phone and pointedly refused to reply to emails. Called up her boss and he feigns ignorance regarding the whole deal. they were planning a country-wide launch and I could blog about their unprofessionalism but don’t want to shove a cudgel in their spokes without an outright yes or no from them.

Did have an exceptional client recently – photography – I did the work as a rush job, gave them an idea of what it would cost – it was a little over what I normally charge – to incorporate the rush job charges – and they didn’t say anything to the quote. I have finished the project and await payment in full. My gut seems to have no doubts about receiving the entire payment without a hitch – more so because it is an internationally well-recognized organization and a small screw up resulting in my blogging about them will screw their reputation.

Who needs lawyers when you have blogging.

Filed under: from HEAVEN, from HELL, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I need a discount because of our connection.

Simply because you’re my senior from school [ ten years senior and I never knew you in school ] or a senior from the same educational institute – not even the same college under that institute – or wait [!] you’re from the same city I lived in for a decade – father being posted across every three years means I have connections in dozens of cities – what about the towns and states then? Or even countries? Oh wait, maybe I should just do everything for free for the larger good of humanity! Ah ha!

Yeah, fuck that. I have a connection / link with all human beings – it’s called genetics.


As far as a majority of clients are concerned, if they could have their way, they’d NEVER pay for design. Routinely they’re getting their wives and college kid and school kid and kid-living-down-the-street to do their designs for them and then whingeing about the bad quality when they seek feedback from their janitor. Idiots.

Filed under: from HELL, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Skinned alive

Friend’s Dad called me in for a project quote. “You’re the only one I’m talking to! No other designers!” I even wasted fuel to visit his office. Once I got back from the meeting, my assessment was, “Whatever I quote – even if it half of what I usually quote, his balls are going to drop off.” And unfortunately, I was right. Out of courtesy, I quoted half and even THAT was “Way too expensive! I think we just want a mediocre deliverable for now. When we want something really exceptionally good, probably next year, I will then get in touch with you.”

Why the fuck did he get in touch with me in the first place then? He did see my work before hand – and a lot of people have told me the moment they see my work they assume it’s expensive – and one person’s expensive is not necessarily another person’s expensive [ and THAT is my target customer ]. Who’s going to pay for the fuel? And the hourly charge for consultation?

Filed under: from HELL, , , ,


There really should be some way to charge stupid clients who live in dreamland hoping you’d do the work for them for free. Charge them for the time they waste. I’ve practically given them a solution to change their crappy Flash into usable CSS and JS and I’ve also told them how much I’ll charge and then right at the end when I’m thinking they’re ready to take it forward, they write to me saying “We’re bootstrapping. Can you reduce your charges?” WTF man. Grow up. A lot of potential clients tell me that after they see my portfolio and website, they ‘assume’ I’m too expensive. I hope I don’t come across as exorbitantly expensive to even those clients who can easily pay me. Fuck. If only I could travel the minds of everyone on the planet, I’d be the richest graphic designer ever to have lived. Fantasies. Maybe the Jedi Mind Trick would work?

Filed under: from HELL, , , , , , , ,

Family members can be the worst clients

I shot at a wedding recently. There are about 200 ‘selected’ photographs, which need to be edited. And not just color balancing, every woman wants their pimples removed, the men want their beer-bellies shrunk and of course everyone should look fairer. It’s been three days since the wedding and apart from these photographs, I need to do so much other ‘regular’ work. And every day someone or the other calls up to ask why the fuck haven’t I delivered the photographs yet. Thankfully I don’t have to get them printed – not yet anyway.

Filed under: from HELL, , ,

Asking me to outsource

A web designer wrote to me asking if I wanted to outsource some work to them. Really now. But ok, maybe I can consider it. So where’s your portfolio? Erm, no portfolio. Really? Then what the fuck are you writing to me for? I mean its not necessary to have a portfolio of commercial work – there MUST be something you did for a friend or for your own website / blog no? So he says that all he’s worked on are company projects – the current company that employs him. So I said, fair enough – show me some of that stuff. The reply, “I’m in HR, I don’t think it is ethical to share company projects with you.”


Filed under: other Designers, , , , ,

Long time no blogging

I’ve been around. Been working mostly. But off late, because of the economic downturn I guess, work’s almost zilch. Which is just as well. Been chilling mostly. And bitching about clients too.

There was one client who refused to communicate for more than two months in spite of my repeated emails, phone calls, text messages. I had finished the project from my end and we were waiting for the CEO to get back to me with a final list of milestones we had to put in the project. The CEO never got back, launch date came and went. Once the launch date went, the project was redundant. So I thought they didn’t want to get in touch because they didn’t want to pay the balance. After two months the idiot calls up on his own and pays the entire amount in full. It turns out the flunky who was handling the project was in the process of quitting the client company, because of him, I hated the client and I’m sure the client hated me because we didn’t know what the fuck was going on all because of lowly Mr. Flunky. Asshole.

Then another client who got back to me after two weeks of finalizing a logo. She calls up and says, “We’ve changed our minds, please finalize another option from your sketches.” I told her it would cost extra – she’ already paid in full – which client would make the full payment if they have not closed the engagement? What a bitch. She completely refused to pay for the ‘extra’ working asking me why I would take [get this] “5 hours” to complete the extra work. I had prepared final files for the logo she had finalized earlier and creating final files for another option would take at least 5 hours baby! She just wouldn’t relent and came up with ‘trust’ crap that she paid the balance in mutual respect and trust and other bullshit. I finally decided to do it. [ There was a website project in the offing and I thought it would be a nice blow to her when I refused to do it. ] And five days back the bitch write another email asking me to send final files for BOTH chosen logos. I was like WTF!! I told her I could send only one. She choose one and now I’m going to make her wait for another week before I send the final files. Only out of spite. And of course I will not do the website.

And there were some more – lots more clients since Feb 08, which was when I blogged here last. I haven’t been blogging much on any of my blogs – except the anonymous blog about my love life/personal life in general. There too I use Twitter to update my status more than actually writing long boring blog posts.

Filed under: from HELL, ,

I want something simple

Is not equal to free!
What the fuck is wrong with people – do you get onions for free? Then how can you even think that design services will be for free? I mean… HOW!?

Sure you’re a Life Coach – like you’re saving humanity – and you have a website your Sister-in-Law’s son designed for you [ aaaaaaargh! ] and you take inhuman pride in claiming that he did it for free for you and now you want me to design you a logo for free?

I am a one-person shop and ‘budget’ is a word I haven’t heard of.

Well, good-mornin to ya chump, I’m a one-person shop too and like you, [ I hope ], I have bills to be paid – and forget bills – I aint doin no charity. So quit kidding and get to the point. I sometimes wonder how nice it would be to organize a competition among potential clients. The question asked will be “Tell me why I should do your design for free? The most convincing answer will get a 50% discount on my regular professional fee! Yippee!”

Filed under: from HELL, , , , , ,

Spoon feeding

There’s a new client on the block. Owns two companies – old-school, traditional businesses, no visual identity [ or a very bad one wherever it exists ]. Wants the corporate identity designed, the websites, the printed collateral etc.

Calls me up twenty times in a day – would call me in the dead of the night if I allowed it.

Asks me how to attach images to an e-mail in Outlook.
Asks me which image format is the smallest – .gif or .jpg or .tiff or .png etc.
Asks me whether he needs a Yahoo Account to upload images to the Yahoo Photo Albums.
Asks me whether a particular bank in HIS city, close to HIS office will be open today or not.
Tells me he doesn’t have an EPS of his logo – “What’s that?”
Tells me that ALL his visual identity has been done by the local printer who prints his business cards from .jpg files.

I sent him the creative brief to be filled in by him – he called up to tell me that he doesn’t understand anything in the brief [ the brief mostly asks questions about the company and about it’ market and customers and their vision for the future etc. ]. I walk him through all the questions, explaining each one. He still replies with a brief where only two questions have been answered – with the words “none”.

I sent him some samples of images – so that I could get what was in his head. Asked him to choose the top three best and re-attach and reply. He replied, sure! Re-attached all the images. And called again – said he couldn’t write such long e-mails, conversations are better – I told him I don’t need detailed explanations – just re-attach the three best images and reply.

The longest conversation I had with him lasted a little over 120 minutes.

This is just the beginning.
I mean, sure, if the client needs clarification about the design process, I will leave no stone unturned to get down to it. But how to attach images to an e-mail in Outlook?! You’ve got to be kidding me!

Lord have sweet mercy.
I agreed to work only if we started with a very small project – thank heavens for that.

Filed under: from HELL

I love your work, but…

If I had a dollar for every time this happens, I’d have a couple of million since I started work in this line.

One way to tackle this would be to reduce the rates by half – that would ensure that I get the business – don’t lose a client. But then that would also terribly scar my own design studio’s brand value. It’s a no brainer really – although not when you really need the money.

I’m still looking for a pattern by which to recognize such clients – something in the way they write their e-mails or in the way they speak – but haven’t come up with anything common yet.

Filed under: from HELL

Clients From Hell : Yeah

Bitching about clients. The bad ones. And boy are there many. The good ones are meant for the real, company-linked design blog. The bad ones go down in history here - I wish I could tell them to their face where they're screwing up but then I'll just be a poor designer instead of the decently rich one I am now. Compromises.