“Firing” a client goes against everything you’ve learned as an entrepreneur. However, there aren’t enough hours in the day for you to spend too much time chasing after a client who isn’t perfect for you. Get rid of the clients who are too problematic or stressful so you can focus on clients who are a better fit and more lucrative. What is a deal breaker for you is not always a deal breaker for others, so look at your personal situation and decide for yourself.
Here are six reasons why it’s time to fire your client.
Doesn’t value or listen your opinion.
One of the reasons why your client is hiring you is so they can tap into specific knowledge that you have to complete a job. If your client is not valuing your opinion or considering your advice, it might be time to cut them lose. If you are unable to fulfill your job role effectively, it will just lead to feelings of frustration on both sides. Your client will feel like you are not working effectively and it might reflect poorly on you if the brand doesn’t do well, even if the client hasn’t listened to your suggestions.
Unrealistic expectations and demands
Before you get hired, set a schedule when you are available to answer a client’s emails or phone calls. If you don’t mind having a client call you at 8 p.m. on Saturday, more power to you. But, if that isn’t for you, that’s okay too! Just make sure that your expectations are clear to the client, and let them know what your set schedule is. If you personally set aside specific times to respond to clients, then that can give the client a feeling of assurance.
They can feel like “this person is setting aside time just to focus on me, which I greatly value.” Just because you are a freelancer or a startup doesn’t mean you have to give up a work-life balance. But ultimately it is up to you to tell the client what your expectations for communication are.
A client that wants work done at the last minute could be more trouble than they are worth. If they are consistently calling late in the week asking for work to be done quickly, then it can add more stress, and create more mistakes when you are trying to rush through a project. If it happens occasionally, it may not be a big deal, but you can’t be constantly saving your client from his poor planning and time management skills. If this sort of client stresses you out and is causing you to sacrifice work hours and sleep hours, it might be time to let them go.
If there is a change of management in the company you are working for, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to get rid of the client. It just means you have to restate your expectations and make sure that you fully understand your new client’s expectations. Reevaluate the contract and agreement to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Unresponsive and indecisive
To be able to successfully complete a job, you need to have a client that responds to your messages in a timely manner. Having open lines of communication to provide updates, send messages, or to ask questions is an important aspect of your relationship. Poor communication from the beginning could spell bigger trouble later.
What can be equally difficult to work with is a client that constantly changes his mind throughout the process. If you are getting paid per hour, having a client change his mind halfway through is frustrating but could be okay because you are still getting paid. Nevertheless, if it is a set-price project, this will inevitably waste too much of your time. Even if you have to give up the fee, it might be worth it if they are constantly changing their minds.
Doesn’t pay on time
Money makes the world go around, and if your client isn’t paying you, or is late, then this is a huge red flag that this client shouldn’t be long-term. Having to constantly chase after your money that you have already earned is a waste of your time, and could be better spent chasing new leads and working on your existing clientele.
On the contrary, if you have a client that does pay on time, but consistently seems to be fighting about every single point in the contract or wanting something extra thrown in for free. It’s understandable that they want a good deal, but if what they are looking for is “cheap,” then run away! The service you are providing is a high-quality product that you have spent time and energy creating. This is not something you want to be giving away for “cheap.” By making sure you are reasonable-priced and high quality, you can chase away clients who are just looking for “cheap and quick.”
The client is too difficult to work with
If the client is rude, abrasive, and is mentally or physically abusive, cut him loose! The lack of respect means a good relationship is impossible and could affect your work.
Before getting hired, take a look at how the client treats his staff. Does he treat them with respect or does he belittle their ideas? By seeing how your client treats his own staff, you can get some insight on how he will treat you. Additional factors to take into consideration is the turnover rate of the company. If the staff is constantly changing, that is a sign that it is not the best place to work for.
There is a huge difference between a hard project and a hard client. Just because something is difficult and challenging, it does not mean that you should give it up. Without having an opportunity to grow and challenge yourself, you and your business might never reach the full potential. That being said, if the client makes the work too difficult or there are other red flags, it is time to fire the client.