What Clients & Freelancers Are Really Saying

There are tons of sites out there that tell you what you’re supposed to say to a client and how you’re supposed to say it. Being a professional on both ends means being careful how you word things and learning what to say. But have you ever wondered what that client really meant? What about freelancers? What do they really mean?

It’s easy to know when people are happy to answer your questions, but when they aren’t they often say something different than what they mean. I’ve compiled a list of common things freelancers and clients say to each other and then what they really mean. Enjoy!


Says: This is an easy project.
Means: This is a huge project but I don’t want to pay you for it.

Says: This site looks great, but…
Means: I hate it.

Says: I don’t have much money to pay you, but they’ll be several projects after this one.
Means: You’ll never hear from me again after you build me that site for 1/8th of the price you quoted me.

Says: We need a CSS/HTML/Javascript/PHP Ninja/Rockstar
Means: We want a gullible freelancer who’ll do 5 people’s jobs for less than the price of 1.

Says: I don’t want to take advantage of you, but….
Means: I want to take advantage of you by making you do this for free.

Says: That’s exactly what we want.
Means: I’ll decide if I like it when you’re done.
– @JeremyHixon

Says: I want it to look cool.
Means: I want it to look minimal and clean like Apple’s website….(Big difference!)
– @Trudesign

Says: I really want 2 hear what you think of this, you’re the pro
Means: I’m not going to listen unless my wife’s cousin thinks it’s pretty.
– @ShoogleDesigns

Says: I read WordPress can hack into your site and fix it for you. You should be able to do it too.
Means: I’m trying to act like I know what I’m talking about, even though I don’t.

Says: Is this price a scam??????
Means: I’m embarrassed I asked for a Ferrari on a Pinto budget.

Says: I had another developer work on this first.
Means: Now I need you to fix his mistakes.

Freelancer Speak

Says: I don’t really have time for a meeting this week.
Means: Meetings are a waste of time and only tire-kickers ask for one.

Says: I don’t sign NDAs.
Means: You’re idea isn’t unique, so what’s the point?

Says: (In response to the question, “Are you too busy?”) Of course not!
Means: I’m slammed and I can’t believe you’re bothering me right now.

Says: I don’t advise doing that.
Means: I don’t want to do it OR It will look like crap.

Says: I don’t charge hourly…
Means: …because you’d balk at my rate. Project rates sound better.

Says: I’m scheduled up for the next 6 months.
Means: I don’t want your project.

Says: You could, but…
Means: …you shouldn’t.

Says: I can do this but it will be very expensive.
Means: Please don’t make me do this!

What do you think clients and freelancers are really saying?

image by Taston