Nightmare Clients

If anyone has any stories to tell, please do, just to make me feel better. Its now reached the point where I dread opening my email client :cry::cry::cry:

Hi @Jack_Clarity I feel your pain, 18 months after starting a front end redesign that was to only take a couple of weeks, turned into a backend coding job as well and still going… trying to get it over the line and I’ve had about 4 hours sleep almost every night in the last 2 weeks while hoping to get it finished. But the one thing is that fronted changes are easy because of PG. Personally I look at the situation and blame myself for not taking more control of the situation. In fact just this evening after taking a break before settling in for my night of coding I saw an email about how web designers have a bad rep because of things like not responding to clients, etc.

Still I go back to how I opened this reply “I feel your pain” :frowning:

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Wow @Rob that sounds like some Project!

:+1: :+1: :+1: :+1:

This is true @Rob, once you lose control of a project, this presents a problem.

I also personally feel partly responsible as I’ve been too helpful and understanding because the client has lost team members and going through a difficult personal situation so I’ve basically bent over backwards to help them which has backfired on me. I’m now practically running their business, doing technical support, photo editing, giving them ideas, improving the content and the project is having an impact on my day to day life, so I may have to buy some man juice and man up because I dread reading their emails, especially when they don’t listen to my instructions and they moan when there are issues due to them not listening!
:rage: :rage: :rage: :rage:

Took my own advice, changed my tone and we’re seeing progress. :+1:




“Nightmare Clients”

…Is there any other type?

Yes, the ones you don’t have to deal with!

Once everything quietens down , it calls for a road trip, my chromebook and I’m heading somewhere hot to spend a few weeks sitting in the sun and finally finishing my block kit.

And, somewhat bizarrely… I appear to now be courting what was, one of my most annoying clients/friends!

…and I still awaiting finishing her website, still she has finally sent me the new content today!
AFTER a year or two.

So, its funny how these things work out sometimes :slight_smile:

PS, she can still annoy me, but at least I can now have some fun with her too.
and my hourly rate is so reasonable


This would be a wonderfull business if it was not for clients getting in the road with their opinions on what makes a good web site , their insight into SEO and lets not forget their photographic and graphic skills

… HMMMMMMM I just talked myself into having the rest of the day off!!! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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I long stalked this thread for now, not seeing any reason for rushing in. Til now.

I love Rob’s attitude saying:

“Before blaming a client, I’m blaming myself.” I second this heartily.

We all have (or had) this client - without any doubt. And we all can write prose, how things can go wrong. But in 99% of all cases, speaking for me, it was my own mistake. Missing plan, CI and communication and all the like.

We love our job. And we love our clients. They’re paying our rent, food, insurances. It’s our job, cause we’re part of the services industry. Communication is our main skill. All the rest is artsy fartsy stuff. If not - better change to a different industry.

I have to admit that this is adopted attitude. Adopted and inspired by a guy called Mike Monteiro. In a free minute, you should take a look at (highly recommended). It covers both aspects: Client and Designer. Even more: It can be handed out even to clients.

If you prefer the popcorn mode, this is another one

And to prevent me from any misunderstandings (@schpengle :slight_smile: )

Even if you die before, during or after swallowing that stuff, you’d die a bit enlightened (which is in many case of advance, I guess).



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Hee hee hee… so,

Here’s to… Enlightened CLIENTS! Yeah!

ps, Ive only EVER been paid by 3 of them!
One I fell out with her for a year or so and said for her to keep her money,
(now friends again, and annoying me in a myriad other ways…)

Another I gave his money back and said he didint pay me enough to speak to me like that.
he then called me a AN Old Tart!
which is a bit rich coming from a 75 year old cockney gangster type!

and the third, was thrilled and just paid me immediately as he was the only one who gave me a detailed description and I did his site in 2 days and then edited it and gave him all the login details and showed him what to do!

(I then fell out with him a few years later/last year)

SO! there ladies and Gentlemen, do we have the sum of my Enterprising web development with clients!

Oh, i’ve started several others and…well, yeah
I fell out with most of those too!

somtimes, money just isnt worth the hassle

I am not sure how you disclose your prices and how you do what you do. From my experience setting the professional tone and laying out exactly what the client needs to do to work with you, giving them your price sheet, asking for X up front and then either X an hour or X for the project with however many changes included in that price. Detailing what a change is and what is acceptable and not with or without additional fees associated.

You LITERALLY have to guide the client and teach them the way of YOUR business and how you operate. Just because they may have worked with people before and expect unlimited access and control over the process because that is how others allowed themselves to be taken advantage of is NOT your way. If you are not willing or able to take the controlling seat then you really are at the mercy of whoever you choose to work with.

Number one rule. choose clients that have money to spend. Anyone else is charity work, which is fine but it NEVER pays the bills.

I don’t know how many people or clients you have had but until you get into the hundreds of people then you really do not have enough of a base to know that much about the webdesign business from running a business side of things. You may know the technicals and make all the pretty things happen, create tight code and all that but working with people to design what THEY want is your job. If you don’t like doing that then do something else for money and just keep the web stuff as a hobby you do for yourself.

There is too much whining in this thread. Professionals don’t have time to whine or complain, they are too busy working with clients that do pay them and treat them with respect because THAT is the tone they set from the get go. Anything else is a YOU thing that you allowed to happen. That is my own personal experience.

I have been there done that with all you guys are saying, once you up your game and seriously get yourself out there most if not all of the things you are complaining about cease to occur.

Work with a few hundred clients then come back and compare notes. Don’t fish in the kiddie pool, vet your clients so you know who they are and how much if any money they have, get all the details from them in a timely manner by describing the details and process you need them to go through to get the required info from them. They don’t know exactly what they want, it is YOUR JOB to take them by the hand and help them figure it out. It does NOT take hours to do this process either.

Start by putting your complaints into a list then make another list next to it of the optimal results you want then make up a process to set that tone, guide the client to these results and ASK for the money and a percentage up front as a retainer. PERIOD.

Do that and your web design career instantly changes. Trust me, it works.

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OH yeah @Thomas !

I see where you are coming from with some of this!

Point number1.
Clients dont hire you to be their friends haha
I’m just too social.

right, lets keep watching! good shout on this chap I shall watch some of his stuff as, yesterday, my back went

I am now stuck in bed, unable to do much. Youtube, I can manage :slight_smile:

If you choose to work with people that treat you like a chump and don’t treat you with respect then that is a tone that you allowed to occur. From your posts I understand how that has happened.

I do not personally experience the things you seem to, especially with the friend zone bar counselor thing. I also have worked with charities, friends and non-profits. Most do have some monies available even though they try to get things for free if possible the monies are there in the budget, some don’t but it is your choice if you want to work with them or not.

I have always been paid by non-profits and even charities because unlike what they say they are a business and that business is getting donations. The more donations they get the more they can do and if you can show that spending X on your services will allow them to get more donations then they will find the monies. It is part of keeping the lights on, paying the rent and utilities for their space, paying their employees etc…

Most of what you have shared is more a YOU thing than anything with the way people treat you and is not a universal experience. I have not been paid for jobs, have agreed to changes that increased scope of projects and even gotten into situations were the client ended up wanting me to take over the building of their business beyond the web design.

I do use contracts and I do get money up front from all my clients. Those that don’t I cut loose.

Once you take money you are a professional. Acting like one though is a large part as to how you are treated.


Going back to your last post about the charity. I would strongly suggest to you to learn persuasion and influencing skills when it comes to business specifically. You could of easily turned those situations into winners for yourself.

Solid wisdom and something I 100% agree with but every so often a client/project comes along that makes a mockery of it all. Eventually when you finish the job you need to sit down and revisit the list you spoke about and adjust appropriately. Not taking away from what you’ve said just saying the best laid plans can go astray… in my case a friend! Learn and improve and listen to what @Terry44 said.

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I think a lot of the friend issues in regard to the way they treat you and the interaction you have with them in your professional capacity, can be nullified by the way you initially set the tone between you.

Let them know that this is your business this is what you do. Your friendship and the relationship between you as friends needs to be put in a box so to speak. Your professional role things need to be professional and polite between you. Just as if they were going to a lawyer, doctor or some other service professional. This is your work and you expect a level of respect and treatment that is different than your normal every day relationship.

Like any professional you need to outline what you do and how YOU go about it. Even though they may have had experience or certain expectations from previous web designers they may have worked with YOU do it differently.

Make sure they understand that and if they choose to treat you like a buddy or like they have with their part time high school web designer then understand that and decide if you really want to work with them or not. Expect that they will treat you like a dog and they will treat you that way going forward.

YOU get to set the tone of how you want to be treated but YOU have to do it and do it up front. This is a different level of experience they will have with you which they won’t be used too, at first. Once they know you are serious and expect a level of respect they will begin to give it as long as you continue to treat them in the same way.

If you act like the goof or wishy washy they won’t treat you the way you want to. They will treat you instead as the goof you show yourself to be. Especially if you call them out or threaten them with physical violence jokingly or not. Chances are you could end up with missing teeth and no more friend.

Treat others the way YOU want to be treated, if you can’t and choose to be childish or goofy with them then you get what you get and it isn’t anything you should complain about because you brought it on yourself. Set the tone, treat them as a client and correct them when they go into friend mode with you. They will get the clue if not, cut them loose and tell them why or say something like I value our friendship more than having a professional relationship with you. Cut em loose as clients.

Who is in control? You or them?

They are human so they will try to renegotiate terms, prices, amount of work. Set the tone, keep the expectation and show them you are serious. If they can’t or won’t keep their promises or agreement with you then cut them loose. At this point if you choose to continue it is either on Your terms or Theirs. Who is in control? You or Them?

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