Clients from Hell: 20 Signs That Laughter Is the Best Medicine

Working from home as a website designer/Social Media Consultant is fun. I mean it. I’ve been in ‘business’ for what…12 years, and have had the chance to work with fantastic clients!

That Said There Have Been Times When…It Simply Didn’t Work Out. Why?

  • Not taking the time to present the project properly. In other words, the client ‘forgot’ to give you certain information…
  • Assuming that the full scope of the project was understood with one email.
  • Exhibiting the ‘Butterfly’ effect i.e. Jumping from one project to the other. Another classic: Changing the login info to an account needed for the said project, and not responding to the ‘What is the new password email’.
  • Sending out a request for a project, and not understanding the full ‘scope’ of the project itself.
  • Changing the direction of a project hallway through…
  • Last but not least (and I’m positive I forgot a few here): Micromanaging or better yet, serious control issues.

And We All Know, I’ve Only Touched the Tip of the Iceberg…

So, what I’ve done here is simple. Since I’ve been ‘Tweeting’ some of these quotes for the past few months…I thought I’d go ahead and create a blog post with some of the best out there.

Remember, a Client Hires You for Two Reasons

Either they don’t have the skills to do the job, or, they don’t have the time. Getting into a discussion is not worth it. If you did your job from the start re: vetted the client – and then all hell breaks loose. Well. That’s life. That’s the way the cookie crumbles when you own a business.

We have to remember, we are here to help them create their vision. Some will understand this; others will try to take advantage of the situation.

Due diligence and a good amount of laughter are the best tools!

The site is broken. When I’m on the home page and I click the back button, it takes me to another site. Source

Helping a client open his website for the first time. Me:  “OK, let’s start by opening your web browser.” Client:  “Web browser? Oh, you mean Internet Explorer?” Me:  “Sure, that’ll work. Now you’re going to click on the web address window at the top of your browser and type in…” Client:  “Wait, wait, and slow down. What do you mean by click?” Me:  “… like, click with your mouse button.” Client:  “Mouse button? What? Man, this is really confusing.”

If you’re going to charge me 40$ an hour to make my website, I would like to install a camera in your office so I’m 100% sure, you don’t bill me for hours where you’re not working. Source

That other website is stealing our business. Can you make it so that when someone types in their address they come to our site?

Client:  “I want it to be like Facebook” Me:  “Did you have a budget in mind for this project?” Client:  “I need to get it done for under $500. Source

Can you include a splash intro animation that turns the screen into a mirror so they can see themselves? We really want to push the metaphor. Source

I think this looks good but I’m going to have my daughter look at it too. She’s got a good eye for this stuff and she just did the cover for her high school’s yearbook…

comic strip for clients from hell


Can you make our website track their webcams? I want to make sure that anybody on our site isn’t creepy-stalker types. Source

Client:  “I need you to design me an internal company newsletter” Me:  “I’ll need the logo, brand guidelines, any relevant graphics, and text.” Client:  “You’re not licensed to use them”

We’re looking for a high-exposure designer for our site. We want some flash stuff, maybe even some other interactive features. I can only afford a one-time $25 payment upon completion/upload of the site; however, it’s a great way to add a fun, popular business to your portfolio.

We have no budget for this ad, but the good news is that we are definitely sure that we want to work with you.

Client:  “Would it be okay if we do a remote screen sharing or something like that?” Me:  “What, for the visitors on the website? That’s not really possible…” Client:  “No, for you. We need to watch you work. My wife is very protective of certain parts of the code”

I need to get moving, anyway, you can do some work on this on your vacation. That’s a long vacation, I bet you’ll get bored anyway, and this is back-and-forth via email, no phone, so it shouldn’t cause you any stress. Source

Your hourly rate is okay, as long as you don’t need more than an hour. And you can show me how you did it so I can do it on my own next time.

Client: “I’m not too sure about the blue.” Me:  “Actually, that’s green Client: who’s the client?” Me:  “You.” Client:  “And what color is it?” Me: “… blue?” Client:  “Right. Now let me see what other shades of blue we have.” We settled on a pine-tree blue.

Make sure it’s not too edgy, not too flashy, not too much detail, not classical/traditional, not too complex, exciting, but not all over all over the place, efficient but fun, clean, fresh, modern, upbeat, contemporary, high readability, smooth, shapeless, timeless, not outdated, but simple. Source

Client:  “Well, how big is your computer?” Me:  “My, uh… How big?” Client:  “Yeah. How big? Is it big enough to handle a big sign?” Me:  “Well it’s a newer MacBook Pro so like I said, I shouldn’t have any trouble.” Client:  “No, like how many inches?” Me: “Um, well… It has a 17-inch screen.” Client: “Well that won’t work. We need something that’s thirty or forty inches wide. It’s a big sign.”

comic strip for clients from hell


Can you show Joanne [client’s secretary] how you designed our business cards? I don’t want to pay you for doing them. Source

Our client’s competitors have put something on their website that we don’t like, can you take it off there?

The CEO will be in town tomorrow so if you could get the whole site done by then that would be great. We need our website to work regular business hours; from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday.

Client:  “We’ve decided we need a warmer blue in our logo.” Me:  “Blue is a cool color.” Client:  “Well, just make it warmer, whatever that takes.” Me:  “It’s impossible. Blue either becomes green or purple.” Client:  “We don’t like either of those options. Just do your best to warm it up without changing it dramatically. You’re the designer. We know you can do it.”

Client:  “I want my website to have a forum, and a blog, and e-commerce, and photos, and videos, and podcasts, and a place where people can make their own profile and talk to other people like Twitter.” Me:  “Ok, what is your budget for this project?” Client:  “Oh, well, I mean, like $200.”

It’s all in the way you want to look at it.

Your glass can either be half empty, or half full…

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