Why you should sack your client

picnic-blanket Some clients just stink

The most heart rending calls I get from my clients are when they are deeply unhappy with one of their own clients. They feel sick every time they hear them on the phone because the call is usually bringing a deadline forward, changing the scope of the project, making unreasonable demands or haggling over an invoice.

It’s impossible to do good work under these circumstances and even if good work gets done, it doesn’t get recognised.

Working ‘just’ for money isn’t enough.

That’s all very well for me to say, I hear you cry, but its true. If you do good work (and a bad client can cause you to doubt this, but that’s another story) you deserve praise and satisfaction as well as money for your work.

Why would you picnic near a cow pat?

You have a great client and a client from hell. Which one do you spend most time thinking about, most time trying to please, most time worrying what they think of you? The wrong one, that’s who!

This is the equivalent of putting your picnic blanket next to a cow pat when you could put it next to patch of daisies! Why sit in a pile of manure when you could be sitting in clover?

The double bind is that while you spend so much time on the bad client, your good clients could feel neglected. The time you spend trying to appease a hopeless cause could be spent finding more good clients.

Its not all their fault

What are your terms and conditions like? Do they give clear specifications about how you work, what you expect from your client and what they can expect from you? If not that’s easily sorted. Less easy is how you handle ‘scope creep’ – the extras that a client asks you to do without charging – but once you’ve got that sorted in your head and know how to value your work, its much easier to deal with – before it becomes an issue.

Time to call time

If you have a client that takes up too much head space, makes you feel sick and is stopping you from getting on with the work you love to do, the first step is to tell them that you have a problem with them and invoke your T&Cs. If that doesn’t work there’s only one solution. Sack them.

Walk away from them.

Don’t look back.

Spend the time you have available finding clients who love you.

If you’d like to talk about how to grow your business with the clients you deserve, get in touch

7 replies
  1. Miltoncontact
    Miltoncontact says:

    I resolved to do this with a lucrative client recently and we parted amicably, apart from the last invoice I’m still waiting to be paid for!

  2. Brian Williamson
    Brian Williamson says:

    I came very cl;ose to sacking a client recently and I might yet, but her parents (also clients) are nice people. Just seems she has forgotten her manners

  3. Neil Shillito
    Neil Shillito says:

    Been there, done that. Very sensible, very necessary and good for both parties although obviously can be difficult to broach. Also have turned down prospective clients because what they want I can’t/won’t deliver.

  4. Ann Hawkins
    Ann Hawkins says:

    Thanks Neil. Inevitably the worst situations seem to happen when people ignore their instincts and “only do it for the money”. I did have a client report that after she’d sacked a particularly difficult company they tried a few other people then came back to her with a different attitude.

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  1. […] on from the post about sacking a client, a lot of the feedback I had was that people knew when they took those clients on that it was a […]

  2. […] on from the post about sacking a client, a lot of the feedback I had was that people knew when they took those clients on that it was a […]

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