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When and How to Fire a Client

Lolo Siderman, Founder and CEO of Gypsywing Media (http://www.gypsywing.com/) discusses letting a client go. These suggestions will help you work out methods for assessing and firing a client at the right time.

  1. Pay attention to warning signs
  2. Ignoring boundaries, failing to follow timelines
  3. Bargain hunter: individual who pays less, but expects more
  4. Scope creep: when a person continually requests more & more
  5. Explain your actions & understand their goals
  6. Increase the rate for requested work
  7. Detail the work done & potential charges for additional requests

As a business owner you may come across the serious problem client from time to time, and knowing when and how to fire a client is important. So watching out for warning signs such as failure to respect boundaries, calling you on your cellphone on the weekend or late at night, failure to follow timelines if you they owe you material or content and they don’t get it to you, but still expect you to keep your end of the timeline. That’s a big warning sign.

The bargain hunter, so the individual who is paying significantly less than the rest of your clients, but still wants the same service or beyond. You also have the scope creep. That’s you’ve set out this as the project and they just keep asking for a little more, and a little more, and a little more. And in of itself any one of those things is not a problem but it’s the quantity of extra requests. And finally, if they are just dissatisfied, they just don’t like the work you are presenting to them.

If you start seeing some of these signs you want to be clear about what’s going on and understand what their goals are. And so, having another conversation about where they want to go with this relationship with you.

Starting to add rate increases and costs when they are asking for additional work, so just because you’ve laid out this contract and you have this agreement and they are asking for a little more and a little more, that doesn’t mean that you have to keep doing it. You are not obligated to making all these changes that aren’t included in your contract. So, acknowledging that you’ve made X, Y and Z changed at no additional cost but did it normally would have cost X number of dollars. And at future changes beyond say 15 minutes of your time or X amount of material we’ll have this cost with it. And then go ahead and start sending those invoices if they keep sending you additional changes.

So by increasing rates and making it about the business end of it, about the service, about what they are receiving and your compensation, you leave it up in the air. So you’ll either be compensated accordingly and it will be worth of your time. Or it becomes their choice to leave and it keeps it professional. It keeps the emotion out of it. And it’s all on a very even straight level. So this is a way that you can actually get rid of a client without having to take that step of yourself. They make the choice themselves.

So nobody wants to be in this situation. But, at least this gives you a way to handle it and potentially exit in a very professional way.