How to Fire a Bad Client
I’ve spent some time on this blog dispelling the myth that all clients are good clients. The truth is that not all customers are good for your business. A bad client can cost you time, resources, energy, sanity, and most importantly, money. That’s why I advocate firing your bad clients. Let them go. Think you can’t survive without their money? Fire them and spend that extra time working up a plan to attract A-list clients. Trust me, it will be worth it in the long run.
But how exactly do you fire a bad client? I’ve fired more than a few clients in my day, so I’ll share some tips with you based on my personal experiences.
- Stay calm and professional—There’s a good chance you might be pretty upset with your client. Maybe they’re way behind on paying you, or maybe they talk down to you and you’re tired of it. No matter what the situation, you have to be the professional. You can’t control how others behave, but you can control your behavior. You’re running a business, so you can’t treat this like a nasty breakup with a significant other. Professionalism is your main goal.
- Blame yourself—Ever heard the classic breakup line “It’s not you, it’s me”? You can use this approach when firing a client. Take the blame if you feel it will help diffuse the situation. Tell them you’re not the right person for the job. Tell them you’re booked up. You can find any number of ways to use the “it’s not you, it’s me” approach to firing a client.
- Suggest another service provider—One way to soften the blow of your breakup with the client is to refer them to someone else who can provide them with the services they need. This shows that you’re not holding a grudge and that you care about their future success and satisfaction.
- Raise your prices—A lot of bad clients are clients who don’t want to pay you what you’re worth. They’re constantly trying to haggle with you to get your prices down. You can usually get rid of price shoppers simply by raising your prices.
- Take care of any remaining loose ends—Before severing the relationship with your bad client, make sure you’ve taken care of any loose ends. If you still owe them work that they’ve paid for, finish the project.
Have you fired any bad clients? How did you do it? Share your experiences by leaving a comment below.