So I have a guy that I do regular work for but he's flaky at the best of times, sometimes he takes an age to pay, sometimes he "didn't receive the invoice", sometimes he is super vague in his brief "I want Hollywood Sleek - don't ask".

So anyway he has asked me recently to do him a logo...I spent a good half a day on this for him and sent him over a few drafts...Then he says he has "done it himself in 5 mins on photoshop" and it was "easy" the logo that he's done looks horrendous but cest la vie...

Got into an argument because he had "asked all his friends and family" and they said they "loved the design" I told him they WOULD say that so they wouldn't hurt his feelings/are biased don't care.

Then he asks if I could re-do it in a similar style to his and make it better.

I spend more time on it and then get a message through saying "nevermind dont bother I will sort it" So now he's had a good day out of me plus a consult on his own work and after all that time I have to just smile and say okay no worries.

So should I charge for hours work? What would you do?

Thanks everyone....and yes I should have asked for payment upfront but as hes a regular I considered it low risk but obviously not.


  • 4
    Do you have a contract? If so, what does it say?
    – curious
    Jun 12, 2018 at 23:03
  • 6
    Get rid of this client as soon as possible. He is a disaster waiting to happen.
    – Vincent
    Jun 13, 2018 at 11:57

4 Answers 4



The time is only wasted if you're not charging.

This doesn't sound like a client, just a guy asking another guy for occasionally paid advice. I think your client needs to be educated:

  • Whatever you do, at least the hours need to be paid. Let him know what your hourly and/or daily rate is before starting any new items. Put that in writing and remind the fees every time he comes back with a new request.
  • Get a downpayment on every new request until he accepts what everyone else already knows: "time is money".
  • Whatever he does in Photoshop or otherwise should not create a discount on your side. If the client wants to help, he is welcome to suggest ideas and provide references, but that constitutes briefing and feedback, not design work.
  • Client asking friends and family about their opinion and being vague when briefing: that should be a big no-no flag for you.
  • Look for new clients.

Require 50% payment on estimated time up front. That provides multiple benefits. First, it at least minimally covers your time and provides a little insurance against runaway clients. Second, it forces the client to take the project seriously, because they've already invested. If they are unwilling to make a deposit, you may be better off without their business.


Well, if you work regularly for him, and knowing how he behaves, you have three options:

  • Do not charge anything, which would be quite painful for you and your work

  • Charge for your working hours to show that your profession and time are not a game, but it's difficult to justify because there is not a project done

  • Do not charge anything, but recharge this concept in the next/s work/s. If you have spent 5 hours in that failed logo, it is very easy to divide them into fifteen minutes blocks in subsequent projects. Obviously this is personal and not shared with your client. Sounds hard but it is not, actually it is the same he did not sharing with you that he was making a parallel logo in Photoshop while you where working.

All depends on the confidence you have with your client, but reading your question, he does not look very accessible.

There are things that must be followed with a client:

  • Make clear from the beginning what your fees are. In my case I have two different budgets per hour:

    1 - Working time: making or fixing an Excel, change prices or add products on the web, remake a simple page design.

    2 - Creativity hour: design, layout, code.

  • In the invoices specify which job corresponds to each price, or at least have it in an Excel sheet for you in case you are required to prove it.

  • Control friendship with a client

  • Never give your personal Facebook to a client :-)

Anyway, keep in mind that even the perfect client is never as perfect as we would like. So it is very important to take care of who gives us work and always show that from our side everything is fine in the working relationship.

My personal immediate decision in a situation like yours would be the third point from the top list, with the working time budget because there is not a project done.

  • 1
    I see your third option as unethical personally Jun 13, 2018 at 3:52
  • 3
    Great. Will be nice in addition of giving your opinion, you open a second answer and propose your ethical alternative in that situation and with this type of client.
    – user120647
    Jun 13, 2018 at 5:46

Some clients are difficult to work with, and cause a lot of wasted work, calls, long email conversations, discussions about projects that rarely materialise, etc. Some of these clients are worth keeping, either because they pay well, or you support what they're doing for another reason; don't feel bound to those who aren't.

Make sure they pay for themselves by upping your rate for them to cover the overheads of working for them. A friend who works in a construction industry referred to this as 'a***hole tax'; you might prefer to consider it an 'extended support package' :)

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