How To Fire Bad Clients

Clients come in various aspects.

There are good ones that you’ll do everything to please and there are also bad ones who you regret ever dealing with.

Sometimes, however, the line is pretty vague. Your client can be good one day and bad on another.

So how do you really tell when your client is bad?

There are some telltale signs as outlined below:

What Makes A Bad Client?

  • Late Payment – Nobody likes being paid late especially if you’ve already reached your agreed milestones. Frequent late payment that isn’t justly excused simply shows a lack of accountability and trustworthiness. It may even lead you to being scammed in the future.
  • Unclear Requirements – How can you work on something that isn’t concrete yet? This is common in projects wherein clients only know what they want to accomplish but not how to accomplish it. While that is okay, you need to be clear that you will take care of the means to achieve the ends. If the client is really fussy and frequently changes his mind and more importantly, specifications, that’s a problem.
  • Poor communication – Nothing ruins a good relationship between client and contractor more than a lapse in communication. If you’ve been left hanging by your client after several follow-ups, that’s probably the wakeup call you need.

Why Dismiss A Bad Client?

Have you experienced these problems? Maybe it’s time to let go of that client. While it is definitely a loss, it’s not as big a loss as hanging on. Here’s why:

  • Conserve Resources – Your time and effort are precious resources that are best kept for good, paying clients. It’s not worth it to keep hanging on to a client that isn’t probably going to give you a return on investment on all your effort.
  • Lost Opportunity – If you see that there is no hope that this client is returning, it’s better to move on. If you don’t, you could end up wasting time, which could’ve been used to get new clients.

Ways to tell when it’s time to fire a client

How do you know it’s time to end the contract with a client though?

In cases of communication lapses, you usually allocate 3-4 follow ups within a 2-week period. If your contract explicitly states a deadline, you may need to follow up every day or every hour as needed. If there’s no response after, better end the relationship.

When a problem arises, try to assess the stress you are encountering. If the changes entailed are simply too staggering and aren’t being compensated for justly, maybe enough is enough already.

In the case of late payments, it is actually best not to continue the next scope of work unless the previous milestone has been paid.

Proper Way Of Firing A Client

When you are finally decided on letting go of a client, it is also helpful to know how to do it. Some people go off and detail a lengthy email or letter that lists all the lapses of the client. That isn’t the correct way to go about it though.

The best way to end things is to do it concisely and politely.

Remember, if you explain things a lot, that also gives room for the client to turn things around and point out your lapses.

Just keep it short and keep your reasons to yourself.

Likewise, remain polite as you still have a reputation to keep.

If the client does discover that his lapses were his own, there’s a possibility to rekindle the relationship if you ended things in a polite manner.

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