Ways To Tell When It’s Time To Fire A Client
It's important to nurture client relationships, but sometimes those relationships turn sour. When a client relationship goes bad, it's important to take action quickly rather than letting the situation drain your bottom line or your mental health. Life is too short to invest your time and energy in something that just isn't working.
Business writer Susan Ward says to look out for the telltale signs it's time to fire a problem client. We share these signs in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.
1. The client physically or mentally abuses you. Whether it's making threats or disparaging remarks about your gender, race or appearance, never tolerate abuse. It's time to cut ties with any client who is abusive to you or your staff.
2. The client is dishonest. There's a certain level of trust that must exist in client relationships. Occasional misunderstandings happen, but when clearly articulated written or verbal messages are constantly misinterpreted by clients, Ward says to cut them loose.
3. The client makes unreasonable demands. We all have our own personal bar for what's reasonable and what's not. If the client continually calls, texts or emails you outside of your agreed upon hours, it may be time to part ways. The same thing applies for clients who can't make timely decisions and then expect work to be completed on time or ahead of time.
4. The client is consistently slow to pay. When a client doesn't pay on time, it's more than annoying; it impacts your company's cash flow. You can't afford to keep those who don't pay invoices in a prompt manner.
5. The client constantly nitpicks or disputes your invoices. If your client is agreeable up front and then tries to reduce the cost of the project come invoice time, it's aggravating. Hold firm, get your payment and then part ways.
6. The client keeps changing his mind. If you charge by the hour and don't mind the frustration of having to continually start over, then keep this client. Otherwise, you must decide where your personal cut-off is.
7. The client doesn't follow your advice. If your client doesn't listen to your expertise and expects you to pick up the pieces when things go wrong, Ward says it's time move on.
8. The client plays you against the competition. It's great to get quotes for work they want done, but when clients use competitors' pricing or timelines to adjust what you have already agreed on, that client probably isn't worth the trouble.
9. You could wind up in legal trouble by continuing to work with the client. Any time there's the possibility of a legal liability, you're better off letting the client go.
While it's never enjoyable to fire a client, it's also not enjoyable (or productive) to suffer through a bad client relationship. If you have a troublesome client, consider the points above to determine if the relationship is worth it.
Source: Susan Ward is a business writer and experienced business person. She runs Cypress Technologies, an IT consulting business that provides services including software and database development. Ward has been a Small Business Expert for The Balance for over 18 years. She won a Small Business Influencer Award in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.