Learning how to fire a client can be difficult and scary. As a freelancer, your business thrives when you form meaningful relationships with clients and deliver services they need. But not every client is a perfect fit for every freelancer. In fact, sometimes it doesn’t work out at all.
The truth is, not every client relationship is worth nurturing. You may need to cut ties with a client if they’re trying to take advantage of, the job is more stressful than you anticipated, or their goals and ideas aren’t aligned with yours.
So, how do you tell if it’s time to fire a client? And how do you do it? Here are some of my go-to tips for assessing and handling the situation.
Tip #1: Evaluate How Your Client Makes You Feel Long-Term
Take time to evaluate how you feel before you rush to fire a client. If your relationship has been mostly positive and has only recently taken a turn for the worse, it might not be an unsolvable situation.
On the other hand, if the client is a long-term source of stress and you dream about your life without them, it’s probably time to make a move.
Tip #2: Take Stock of Your Client’s Red Flags
Take some time to analyze the situation. What exactly is it that’s making you unhappy? You can solve some issues by speaking with a client but some are more serious and beyond a conversation.
Constant late payments, a lack of support on projects, unrealistic expectations and anger management issues are all red flags that might make you consider firing a client.
Tip #3: Attempt to Solve the Problem with Your Client
Before you jump the gun on firing a client, try to address the issue. Have you tried to communicate with the client about how much support you need on the project?
Sometimes, clients simply don’t know what you need, and the lack of support is not intentional.
Tip #4: Be Professional with Your Client Every Step of the Way
No matter how miserable your client makes you, stay professional every step of the way. Never fire a client by insulting them, yelling or writing nasty messages.
Give a simple reason that doesn’t place any blame on them (like you’re heading in a different business direction), thank them for their time and give them a clear outline of how the contract will close up.
Firing a client isn’t a decision you should take lightly, but sometimes it’s in your best interest to move on. Take your time to evaluate the situation, take stock of what’s going on and clearly communicate your needs to your client. If you find that you do need to fire them, stay professional throughout the situation.
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