How to deal with PITA (pain in the…) clients

If you haven’t looked closely at the program for this year’s Creative Freelancer Conference, you may not know that illustrator and freelancer extraordinaire, Von Glitschka, will be speaking on “Becoming a Hired Gun” (an excellent reason to take advantage of the early-bird deadline and sign up before May 1).

But if you can’t wait til June 23-24 in Chicago, you can hear what Von has to say on The Freelance Radio Show, a regular podcast with fellow freelancers, Kristen Fisher and Dickie Adams.

In the latest episode, this triumvirate takes on PITA (Pain in the A**) clients and shares their strategies for how to deal with them. Here are some of the questions they tackle:

Do you decline work when you realize the client may want lots of extra time? Has it helped you set boundaries? Do you charge an extra fee to cover the costs you think will arise for extra phone calls, meetings or revisions?

What about you? What do you do with those PITA clients? Or do you even take them on at all?

3 thoughts on “How to deal with PITA (pain in the…) clients

  1. Ron Bercume

    I ironically posted this tweet this morning: “I don’t have “difficult” clients, but “dynamic” individuals that feed my children, support my agency and life long learning”


  2. Britney Wilson

    Most of the clients I get are great! I have yet to have a nasty one, thankfully. However, I do get those that don’t really know what they want and seem reluctant to brainstorm ideas. This is usually my red flag to include lots of revision time in my quotes. Setting up the terms upfront makes things much easier. I also provide billing summaries with each proof so the client knows exactly where things stand. This typically makes most clients take time to really think about the changes they want and provide better details. Let’s face it as designers we like to make the most of our time and no one likes an unexpected bill.

  3. Amit Chauhan

    Experiencing all through 31 years of my freelancing, of course i came across many diverse mix of clients. Most of them were unknown of what content they really want, but I worked honestly & with dedication to deliver the best out of me as i feel its my own portfolio for your future. Though, I have had seen three changing technologies in the Graphic Industry, I have tried my utmost to keep updated and deliver the best. The Clients were very satisfied, with absolutely no hassles or the doubts in my service. Moreover, my first speculative presentations used to be kinda ‘wow’ factor on their faces. But unfortunately things are not the same today. Things has drastically changed with the time after the Computers & Internet has come our way in life. As i’m an Airbrush, Graphic, Calligraphy & product Design Expert I have really enjoyed much working with my own hands but after the computers came in, a common set pattern of Client thinking speaks that things are at quite ease on comps to do. Rather (PITA) lol well said…Clients think they can direct the things better than us and can employ one at their own. Unfortunately, they fall prey to the software operators who are not Qualified Designers. Failing their venture, they come back with (PITA) asking for our the open file jobs or the input files which no Designers should provide. I personally think there should be some agreement performa for every jobs. If they are too demanding for more than what they are paying, they should be reasonably charged which can be at mutual consent. We should never be taken on a ride, Afteral time is our money….but one thing to say in future is that the more and more advancement is coming in Graphics or by the Digital Tech. its directly proportionate = Client’s PITA as they think its the Technology which Creates & not the Designer.