Business Relationships: When It's Time To Ditch A Bad Client

when to ditch your client

We’ve all heard of the common scenario where a person who was hired to work on a project got fired because they did not deliver as was expected. What we don’t usually hear of is the hired professional walking out on a client.

It’s tough, but some situations warrant that you walk out while your dignity is still intact and save yourself the agony of working with these “clients from hell”.

My first encounter with a client from hell was when I wrote what I thought was mind blowing copy. I had picked the right words, ensured my tone perfectly matched the tone she wanted and put all the keywords where they should be.

After waiting for what seemed like an eternity (now that I look back I only had to wait three days, which by the way is a reasonable time frame) I received a scathing email from her. She broke down my work word for word telling me how horrible my copy was.

Was I disappointed? Yes. Did I try to rectify my mistakes? I did but then I realized that no matter how many revised copies I sent her she just wasn't satisfied. So I decided it was time to let her go and perhaps another copywriter would give her what she wanted.

From this experience I decided that I had to identify when to let a client go rather than string them along when all they are causing me is endless agony.

How To Know It’s Time To Ditch A Bad Client

1. They Eat Into Your Time

If your client expects you to be at his every beck and call 24/7, on weekends and even holidays then it’s time to let them go. This type of a client will:

  1. Send you several emails every day
  2. Constantly call you because they sent you an email five minutes ago and you haven’t replied
  3. Constantly reschedule and cancel meetings

If a client takes up too much of your time such that you don’t have enough time to even peacefully have a cup of coffee then it’s time to fire them.

2. They are absurd

This type of a client is unreasonable and too demanding. They are either complaining about how expensive you are or your work does not match their expectations or how you used the word “fantastic” instead of “incredible”; they are simply never satisfied despite the fact that you know what you are providing is exemplary.

3. They are disrespectful

“Even a monkey can do this in his sleep, why can’t you?”

This is the abusive client who thinks he can talk to his hired professionals the way he wants because he is paying them. He will communicate disrespectfully or use foul language. He will also slam down the phone when he is not happy about what he hears or sends you scathing emails when you fail to do something. While at first you may feel the need to please this type of a client and keep him happy because he is paying you well, at the end of the day it hurts you professionally and psychologically. You don’t have to put up with a client who harasses you.

4. They don’t pay up

At first, this type of a client pays up on time and you have a good business relationship. You work with them for several months and they stop paying you on time or they don’t pay the full amount. Instead of their remaining balance diminishing, it piles up. This is probably the most difficult client to fire considering you have worked with them for such a long time, but if they are not paying then it’s time to fire them.

Final Word

“Fire” and “client” are two words that many business people cannot think of using in the same sentence but if a client is causing you needless hardship then it’s time to ditch them. Have you ever been in a situation where you had to fire a client? I'd love to hear your experiences and how you went about firing them.