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Things I Wish I Could Say to My Clients

I’m always hesitant to complain about my clients because so many of them are my friends (AKA friends who read my blog). Most of the time, though, my friends aren’t the clients who drive me crazy; it’s the ones that pop up out of nowhere and don’t understand how the relationship is supposed to work. So a disclaimer before I begin – if you’re reading this, chances are very good that this post is NOT about you.

For those of you who are new around here, thanks for visiting! And a little background: I’m a freelance web designer and I work from home. Most of the time I work with awesome people who want their websites to be awesome, too. Every now and then, however, I get a client who makes me want to climb a mountain and scream at the top of my lungs. I guess that’s the price I pay to be able to work in my pajamas, but it doesn’t keep me from getting frustrated at times.

Things I Wish I Could Say to My Clients

1. There’s a reason you hired me, so don’t balk at my rates. If everyone was skilled at designing websites, I wouldn’t be booked solid for the next 2 months. I work very hard and I don’t hand over a design until the client is completely happy with it. You’d think that would be worth something, right? Well, some of my clients don’t think so. I’ve had people try every possible trick to score a discount or get out of paying – one in particular almost convinced me she had already paid ahead of time. I knew better, but that’s how persistent she was – she made me doubt my own memory. I don’t understand why people don’t hire someone cheaper if they’re so concerned about the price. My work can be fast, good, or cheap, but only two of those can apply at a time.

2. Believe it or not, you aren’t my only client. My favorites are the clients who seem to think I have nothing to do but make endless tiny adjustments to their design. Oh, and they usually need the changes immediately. My terms and conditions clearly state that any deadlines must be disclosed before the project begins, but guess how many of them read that? Zero. Then they act shocked when they find out that I have other things to work on and can’t deal with them on command. The fact is, I prioritize my work based on the needs of ALL my clients, not just one or two who pretend the others don’t exist.

3. If you don’t respect my time, I’m not going to respect yours. I work a LOT of hours. That said, sometimes I have to do things that normal people do. Like go to the doctor or take a shower or (gasp!) even sleep. I’ve actually had clients semi-stalk me in an effort to get their way. I get emails that say things like, “You didn’t answer my email from 15 minutes ago, but I saw you post something on Facebook!” I’m sorry, but I still have a life outside of work. And while I often work at night and on weekends, that’s not a guarantee. Unless you want to pay through the nose, you’ll get a response when I have time.

4. Even when you get on my last nerve, I still want your design to be amazing. I’ll be honest – sometimes when I finish a project, I pray that the client will never contact me for another one because s/he was so difficult. That said, I still give my best effort to every single project I work on. (Just not always on the timeline my clients demand.) Many nights mornings I’m awake in bed, thinking of the perfect font or perfect blend of colors that will make a website more like what my client wants. I spend my so-called “free time” researching new design elements, themes, and coding skills that I can use to do my job even better. And no matter how much I bitch and complain, I love what I do. I just hope more of my friends hire me so I don’t have time for the clients that suck.


  1. So awesome… When I read this I thought you meant therapy clients… and that made me LOL.

    Kudos for not actually exploding and turning someone's site into a time bomb. 😉

  2. You can have a hundred great, satisfied clients, but you always remember that one that drives you nuts. I was at a charity event last night (volunteering!), and a client that I have spent more time and Advil on than I care to admit came up to me and said that she was perfect and every thing she was having issues with was great. As I was about to pass out, she then says, "But, can we make it a little bet better?" I just can't win!

  3. I feel like as you build your business you'll eventually be able to turn people down, which will be awesome! My high school therapist was great and always booked, so he was able to pick and choose who he wanted to take on. He said a guy contacted him about working on anger management and he was like yeah, really didn't want to do that, so he said no.

  4. Glad you are booked for two months straight! Very awesome! I agree that hopefully you'll be able to turn down some of the more annoying clients at some point. Your business will be moving along very well at that point, not that it isn't already 🙂

  5. Wow that's great that you're booked for 2 months! Sounds like it's going well for you.

  6. Have people become more demanding or just so self centered that they think they are the only one? I can handle demanding, but I hate people who are self centered.

  7. I miss the unicorn, sure I do…

  8. Sounds like it's time to up your rates!

  9. While I do agree and symphathise with your post, I guess I could write a counter post to my some of my contractors. I think we all think we are reasonable people, but even reasonableness is so subjective these days and so much depends on personal chemistry. My only rule these days is to avoid working in a business or professional capacity with anyone whom I want to keep a relationship with. I nearly had a hernia after a family friend did a bad reno job, overcharged me, and I still had to suppressed my anger and be nice and civilised to her. I couldn't even have the satisfaction of ignoring her after the bad work. I will try not to hire or work for a friend after this – unfortunately this is exactly in opposition to your wish!

    • Oh, you should write the post! I'd love to read it. I definitely think there's risk involved any time you hire someone, which is why I encourage my clients to ask lots of questions to make sure there's a good fit. Sometimes I turn down work because I can tell it's going to be a difficult relationship, and I'm definitely not afraid to pass on a job if I feel someone else would be better qualified to do it. I'd rather lose the business than give someone a crappy design. Unfortunately I know not everyone sees it that way.

  10. I have a friend who complains when people post something on Facebook before returning her call, text, or email. I told her to get a life!

    Congrats on being so busy with your busy!

  11. Completely understand! I once had a client request a print ad design six days before the submission deadline. That would've been easy enough, but after revision 9 (at his request) I told him I didn't have time to make any additional changes and that the design worked the way it was.

  12. If you are in business then fortunately or unfortunately you get the best of the both worlds. We all live with it and just let it go…

  13. Invest It Wisely says

    Glad to hear that things are going great for your business, Andrea. These are all good growing pains to have. 🙂

  14. Andrea, I'm glad that your business is doing so well! It must feel wonderful to have your decision to become self-employed validated.
    A good friend of mine has an interior design/furniture store. She says the biggest headache for her is getting people to pay up! She also hates to do business with so-called friends because so many of them have tried to get away with not paying for her services/goods. I don't have the patience to deal with that kind of BS, so I'd better continue to work for someone else. ;o)

  15. Booked out 2 months is great!

    Really, sometimes problem clients can be unprofitable and take people away from necessary activities.

  16. You need to check out Clients from Hell ( if you haven't already done so. Some of those stories are just so awful and hilarious.

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