Firing a Client

Firing a Client

May 20, 2018 / By : / Category : Blog

The Breakdown

  1. When firing a client, track the correspondences (that way they can’t say they didn’t receive any messages).
  2. Firing a client does not have to be a messy affair. Keep it simple. Keep it professional.
  3. No client is worth the risk of losing money or the loyalty of your employees.

The Story

I had a repeat client who, every time I interacted with him, would always make it seem as if it was extremely hard to reach me or that it was urgent to update his website. He would receive my services in a timely manner (my average turnaround time is a week, depending on the project) but then he would take six months or more to pay his invoice. Every time.

To give you some perspective, I only charge a base price of $125 to $150 for the most basic websites. The more the client needs, the higher the price. For instance, if a client wants to take an actual marketing or PR approach with their website, then items like stock images, photography, videography, SEO and SEM, content creation, copy/copy editing, etc. would be added to the price. With that said, the client only wanted a site that was purely informational and basic; thus, his price was super reasonable and yet he would take months to pay for work he received within weeks of initial contact which, again, would always seem to be a matter of urgency. In addition, it would take weeks to get information from him.

I found myself frustrated with this client, so I decided that he was no longer viable to my business and I needed to professionally break up with him.

After some prayer, research, and more than two months of trying to tie up loose ends on the project, I sent him an email advising that it was now time to consider that moment to be the stopping point in the project and business relationship. I track my emails using Hubspot. The subscription allowed me to see that he opened the break-up email within about an hour of sending it. Unfortunately, it then took him more than six months and a threat to take additional action for him to pay his $125 invoice.

The Takeaway

  1. There are people who will try your patience and test the boundaries. Don’t be afraid to stand firm for yourself and your business.
  2. Clients who take longer than necessary to get information to you for work they need you to do should be considered “high risk.” Check out “Avoiding High-Risk Clients” to see what I mean.
  3. People only do what you allow. Just because they’re paying you does not mean they get to manipulate your time or money. You earned the payment and it should be remitted in the same timely manner that you provided the work.
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