Confessions of a Programmer

If a client is an unbearable asshole during the initial communication, I look for every excuse to pad on the hours for the estimate to get paid more. If a client goes above and beyond in their douchbaggery, I tack on an additional $40/hour.

Sometimes I will present an elaborate solution to a client, but really I'm just reading off the features of a plugin or library I'm going to download or buy after the call. Not because I can't build it myself, but because I'd rather spend more time on other/my own projects.

Clients assume because I know one language, I know them all. Rather than turning down the work, I take a crash course to work in that language, or outsource the work and clean it up afterwards, whichever is more practical at the time.

I use cPanel on a dedicated to manage our client websites. I'm not paid enough to bother with setting up everything manually.

Certain projects I build have a 3-day backdoor built into it. If the client doesn't pay upon completion, a unique hash triggered as a GET variable deletes a core file in my work, rendering the work useless. If it wasn't triggered by the 4th day, the file allowing me to trigger this backdoor is removed. This is only used for clients where the project must be launched on their servers, or if there has been a previous issue collecting payment.

I slip in the initial contract that all preceeding phone calls will be monitored and recorded, and that they acknowledge the recordings are admissable in court. This has saved me from losing money twice now.

I have never used an IDE. (I know, I know, it's really inefficient and dumb, but I'm just more comfortable with Sublime. Plus I often find myself mobile and without my computer, so I have to program from my phone.)

Each day resembles a betting spectacle of which work will be late, which will be rushed out and which will never see the light of day.

I have used "sick" and "family emergency" as an excuse to just sleep in far more than I can count.

When a client from hell crosses over the line in their conduct (such as getting very nasty and personal, or sending threats), I anonymously report them to the BBB and on RipOffReport.

  • 20
    #5 could get you in trouble though. There are laws in most developed countries, that state that unauthorized access or modifications of private systems or data, especially through such exploits, is considered cyber-crime. In other words, this might be viewed as a penal offense.

    I considered it too, but decided against it, since the scumbags that think it's OK to rip you off, are usually the scumbags who would gladly throw your ass in jail if they catch you, and you never know when your luck might run out and they hire an auditor that looks through the backups of the system and finds that file that does all of this.

    You won't get anything from this anyway except a feeling of justice. But if you manage your anger and follow legal protocol with such customers, you'll end up in a better place.

    Just sayin'

    I subscribe to most of the rest :) however if I had work emergencies that often, I'd just get an LG Gram and carry it around all the time, instead of working on the phone.
  • 67

    From section 14 in the contract they sign:

    "Until final payment is remitted, all provided programming remains the property of The Provider and their respective authors. The Client hereby acknowledge that anti-theft operations are included within the programming provided, and therefore authorize that these anti-theft operations shall be activated, should final payment is not remitted within 72 hours of delivery. After final payment is received, the provided programming is stripped of anti-theft operations and becomes property of the client, not including 3rd party libraries, which remain property of their original authors."

    We had a legal battle over this once, but it held up in court.
  • 14
    @irene Me??? A smartass? Yep! 😂
  • 8
    How do clients react, if you take down/disable the website?
  • 4
    You seem to have rather interesting clients.
  • 12
    @PonySlaystation The typical response is a frantic "my website isn't working" with a "we haven't received final payment yet, so when you pay us we'll fix it" response from us, directing them to section 14 of the contract. Most are understanding and pay immediately, but a small percentage gets nasty about it.
  • 9
    @ymas most of our clients are very easy to deal with, but we've been burned a few times in the past, so we have measures in place that we get paid for our work.
  • 9
    @irene I wish clients like that we're uncommon, but I seem to find them far too often. Luckily I spot the problems before getting in a deal with them.

    But as far as nasty clients, one of our ongoing clients is a law firm. They threaten lawsuits if we don't add changes within 3 hours of them being requested, stating some legal jargon that we have "violated the terms of our contract". The only reason we keep them is they pay us a shitload of money each month for development, SEO and marketing.
  • 8
    @irene Oh they're absolutely empty. But if we call their bluff, they cancel their contract, which means we lose $20k/month in revenue. We just email them, explaining that requests are fulfilled within 24 hours (unless it is a custom request that must be blocked out for time) and get it taken care of as soon as we can.

    They are giant dicks, but they have a giant wallet, so we let them have their little ego trip, then negotiate more money from them the following year.
  • 7
    @irene the contract requires them to pay out a two month penalty if they cancel early, which I'm sure they don't want, so they generally just try to scare us into rushing out work for them. We pretend to be scared and do the work to shut them up
  • 4
    @irene yeah, they're all bark and no bite. But most of the time lawyers tend to be real dicks to work for if they have a short temper. The first things on their mind is "lawsuit" if you don't treat them like royalty.
  • 5
    @irene Yeah the firm we have on that huge retainer is run by some douchebag with a nasty inferiority complex. He's like 4'11" and tries to be this huge macho Man everywhere he goes, all because his daddy gave him money after he won a big case in his 20s, and he used that attention to create a law firm nationally that specializes in getting people out of DUIs on technicalities. He's constantly in the news being arrested for assault and paying for prostitution, then expects us to perform a PR miracle each time so his company isn't affected by it.

    We really try to avoid law firms as clients now because of the really shitty experience with him.
  • 3
    @irene Yep. They try to skirt by it by calling it an "escort service".

    The funny thing though is that prostitution is illegal, but throw a camera in there and pay them as a "model", and it's perfectly legal.
  • 1
    @irene Bingo! Prostitution is illegal, but porn is A-OK!
  • 4
    @irene yeah, except my girlfriend would kill me 😂
  • 0
    @irene I only said she'd kill me if I did a prostitute. 😉
  • 10
    This escalated quickly.... 🤣🤣
  • 2
    @magicMirror I have no idea what you're talking about...

    *Flies away on jetpack*
  • 3
    Hell yeah, #5... Def have implemented (and triggered!) a couple of CSS kill switches on shady client sites. Your automated idea is way better than my manual setup, though.
  • 1
    One of the most satisfying posts in here.
  • 0
    @magicMirror 😂😂😂 i also have no idea what you're talking about
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