The project that just will not die has just knocked on my door. This was one of those projects were I made just about every freelance development mistake out there, with an extremely “challenging” customer. The last I heard from this customer was probably sometime in February, 2006, maybe March. I had received 75% of the payment already for the project, and my part of the project was 95% done.
The customer wanted an eCommerce site and the initial project specs were fairly routine. I made a flat price quote, and when the customer pushed for more and more and more, I rolled over and gave it to him without charging him more. Without bringing up any hard numbers, let me just say that the hours that I have put into this project compared to the amount that I am getting paid bring me to around minimum wage. I am not making this up. It is really that bad. I never heard from the customer again, we had been stuck on the part of the project where he enters in the information for a few thousand products. I did everything in my power to make this smoother for him; I made changes to the online administration, and even made a custom Excel spreadsheet filled with validation macros to construct the needed SQL statements to get the products into the database.
The real problem was that the customer wanted a complex “build a solution” system that allowed the components to be purchased separately, so there needed to be complex relationships between the products, and the customer just had no idea how to tie these things together.
I was actually quite grateful to never hear from this guy again. I probably would have been happy even if I never saw a cent from him and he owed me money, because he was that big of a pain in the rear.
The customer just called me this morning, laughed about waking me up (I was still sort of asleep), and then told me he is ready to get this finished.