The good must also come with the bad; occasionally, you'll end up in a negative client relationship. They will take a toll on your psyche and make it hard to excel with the other clients you value. That's why it's essential to know how to fire a client nicely, knowing you did the best you could. You want to know the red flags of bad clients and how to fire a client politely. It's important to know what this looks and feels like so you can quickly get out of the contract.
7 Signs of a Bad Client
Having to fire a client is a unique situation, but when it comes down to it, bad clients can take a toll on your time and energy. Toxic people, including clients, will often have traits in common. When experiencing a few of these signs with a client, your business may be better off without them. You want to know these red flags and how to deal with bad clients.
The Client Doesn't Respect Your Time
Do you have a demanding client who expects you to complete work within an unrealistic time frame? Do you have to work beyond regular hours to meet their needs? You can politely let them know your work hours and put your foot down on deadlines. If they don't respect your boundaries and conditions, it may be time to fire a client.
They Don't Respect the Conditions of the Contract
Bad clients often lack organization, so they'll start adding work that wasn't in your contract. This can drain your agency's resources, not allowing you to keep your schedule organized. It might be time to think about how to tell a client you can't work with them when they don't respect the parameters of the contract agreed on.
You're Losing Money on the Client
There are a few ways that you may be losing money on a client. Mostly, it's due to them taking up your time and some of these hours aren't billable. They may want to talk to you on the phone constantly or send emails back and forth. If they're consuming your time and energy, it can hurt your business and cause you to lose money. If your project timesheet is full of extra hours beyond the initial contract you're not getting paid for, you can measure how much you're losing with a demanding client.
The Client Is Verbally Abusive
This is one of the most apparent toxic behaviors. If you're wondering when to fire a client, we would say at the onset of verbal abuse. If you feel entirely beaten down from being criticized by a client, it's time to let them go. You should never be yelled at or called names in a professional environment.
Team Morale is Down Because of a Demanding Client
One bad client can cause a lot of stress to your whole team to the point that their morale is reduced. They will fear what the demanding client will have in store for them every day they walk into the office. When this happens, productivity and motivation are lost, and the whole business suffers. Firing a client is hard, but it's not worth losing your team over.
A toxic client has very little respect for you and your team. Their needs come first, so they'll do all they can to underpay or fail to pay you on time. If they consistently pay late or don't pay enough, it's probably time to let go of the client.
When it's the Right Time to Fire a Client
A demanding client can do things like undermining your work, causing you to lose confidence. They may refuse to pay or ask you for unreasonable demands that you didn't sign up for. If you're starting to feel stressed every time, you need to deal with bad clients; this is your queue to fire them.
Your business may be spending too many non-billable hours trying to contort to a toxic client. Using time tracking software with clients is a good idea to gauge your earnings against the time spent. It is one of the facts that will back you if you're looking for ways to tell a client you can't work with them.
How to Fire a Toxic Client - The Right Way
When you want to fire a toxic client, you know it could be challenging. However, there are right ways to do this that allow you to keep it professional. You can use our client termination sample letter to professionally let the client know you'll no longer be working together.
Client Termination Sample Letter
Subject: (Your company's name) - Termination of professional services
Dear (client name),
Thanks a lot for your interest in working with us last (duration of your collaboration), but I am writing to inform you that we have decided to complete our partnership.
According to the terms set out in our letter of engagement (add the date of start), our services to you will terminate as of (date).
Due to current circumstances, we will no longer be able to collaborate with you. I apologize for any inconvenience but feel confident we are giving you a significant amount of time to find another solution.
We are happy to recommend an alternative that can better suit your needs (two or three other businesses you can refer your client to). We're happy to help with the transition when you employ one of the mentioned businesses we've sent you.
I want to thank you for your business. We wish you and your company much success moving forward.
(your company's name)
How to politely fire a client involves staying professional. If you have some measurable reasons for why you're letting them go, you can show them. Leaving emotions out of it is how to tell a client you can't work with them. You want to avoid any outbursts and reduce any stress from the situation. When you feel confident you know how to fire a client nicely, you can easily send them the letter without apprehension.