The world of freelancing is full of information on how to land clients. With this in mind, it is intriguing that you might have to look for information on how to fire a client that you may worked so hard to get. Needless to say, a freelancer-client relationship is a give and take affair. Where one party doesn’t work for the success of this harmonious co-existence, then it might be time to part ways. What are some of the reasons that you might have to fire your client? How can you do it in a way that the action doesn’t impact negatively on your business?
Why fire a client?
This action is arrived at after a series of events and signs that your client is due for firing. This includes:
- Endless complaints. A problem client will always have something to complain about regardless of the effort you put in resolving the issues he raises.
- Payments are implemented late and probably after several reminders
- His rates are much lower than other clients in your fold. Despite this, he still treats you as if he is doing you a favor.
- Addresses and orders you around as if you are a lesser being. He may have an attitude of ‘take it or leave it.’
- Doesn’t keep his word. For example you may have agreed on a certain amount of work within specific time-frames. With time he doesn’t keep to this and may send you no work without any explanation. Others will suddenly send you too much work and expect the same quality as before as well as expects the same delivery times.
- Doesn’t respect your time and privacy. They expect to be given attention wherever they need it – and this is often.
- He is keen on having you do something unethical.
There are many other reasons why you might have let a client go. This includes a situation where you have too many clients and you just have to drop one or two to sustain your output and quality of work without suffering burnout.
How to implement the firing in a professional manner
Once you have your solid reasons why you can no longer work for a particular client, there are several ways to politely drop them.
- The simplest way is to just let them know that you are terminating your working relationship because you want to pursue other interests or whatever other reasons. It is not prudent to implement a blame game. Just refer to the part in your agreement that gave either of you the freedom to end the contract at any time after meeting job related requirements. Before this however, cover yourself against any possible legal action your client might institute against you. Do the following.
- Meet all your obligations towards unfinished projects
- Save all communications and agreements between you and the client.
- Send your client a final invoice and let them know that payment should be immediate. Wait and only take further action if they don’t pay as you have asked them to.
- Never badmouth your fired client whatsoever.
Give your former client a soft landing
Offer to introduce them to another freelancer who may be ready to work with them. This way you keep your bridges intact. Things might change with the client or with you (if reasons to drop the client were because of you) and the relationship might be revived. Sometimes candidly but clearly, stating your reason for terminating the relationship might be the wake-up call for the client to change and treat other freelancers well. He might even come to his senses and apologize.