Why you should fire problem clients (and how it’s done)!

There are a number of reasons why you should fire problem clients and you’re going to learn them here.

If you’ve been in business a while, you probably know that there are times when you get clients that are nothing but a pain in the rear. And to be honest, most of these clients are not worth keeping because they cause you stress.

They take up more time than they’re worth. It takes up mental space to deal with them. You’re constantly fire fighting, constantly justifying your position as a supplier.

And to be honest, you as a business owner, especially if your self employed and it’s just you. You simply don’t need this stuff.

So, watch this short video (or read the transcript underneath it so you can begin to fire problem clients:

I’ve always been a big fan of ditching crappy clients.

If you’re new in business now, this can be really tough. Because if you don’t have that many clients or customers, then getting rid of one or two could be quite a blow.

But I promise you, the sooner you get to grips with this, the better off you and your business long term will be.

Couple of examples

Now, this has come about because in my last business (website design), I genuinely had some problem clients and I fired a few.

There was one example where one of my clients wanted stuff doing on his website for a press release that was going out on Sunday, but he didn’t send the information until Friday evening.

He left me really unpleasant voicemail message at half-past eleven on Saturday night because I’d not responded. So on Monday morning, I phoned him back and I simply said, I don’t appreciate you leaving snotty voicemails. You should know that our office hours in nine to five Monday to Friday and I no longer want to work with you.

And all of a sudden he was shocked and he said this: “What? What do you mean? You don’t want to work with me. I’m paying you.”

And my answer was: “But you’re not paying me to answer blood for the phone at 11:30 on a Saturday night or pick up your emails at 07:30 on a Friday night. So that’s it. I’m gonna send you all your stuff. You fired as a client. I don’t want to deal with you. I’ll send all your stuff to your new website guy. “

Interesting enough, I didn’t hear anything from him for a while. And then about a year later, he tried to connect with me on LinkedIn, saying his business has changed and he wants to work with me. The answer was just simply no.

You should fire problem clients, really you should.  They don't appreciate your work, so get rid of them.  This post (and video) shows you how.

But to be honest, it was such a relief simply because I no longer had that client giving me grief, harassing me, making unreasonable demands, taking up mental space and stressing me out. I just ditched him.

There was another example of a client who actually beat me to it. We’ve been building his website for a while and he kept changing his mind, changing the design, wanted to add things. And we kept adding stuff to the fee as much as we could, but it was just a stress.

It was taking up a disproportionate amount of time and it took us ages to get anywhere.

So in the end, he sent me an email saying, “I don’t think you’re up to the job. I no longer want to work with you.”

That was good timing because I was going to fire him that week anyway. And to be honest, I wasn’t heartbroken. You know, I wasn’t nasty about it.

I helped move his website and all of the stuff over to his new guy and I just washed my hands and said, you know what? Good luck. I don’t need this now.

The thing is, there’s been a handful of times like this.

No, I don’t go out of my way to piss off clients. that’s just silly. But at the end of the day, some people are just morons and you have to accept that you’re going to find them. You will happen upon them and they will inflict their stupidity upon you.

And I think you should have near-zero tolerance for morons. Save yourself the stress. Save yourself the heartache.

Don’t give the mental space. Get rid of them. Really, really? Well do you a massive, massive favour. And I know this is Anticultural.

You should do all you can to keep your clients happy.

But that doesn’t mean it should come at your expense. Doesn’t mean that it should affect your stress levels and your mental wellbeing. So simply don’t do it.

Fire problem clients by increasing your fees

A simple way to fire problem clients is to increase your fees those clients to the point where eventually they become a lot more profitable.

Maybe no less a problem, but it kind of makes up for the grief that you’re getting because you’re being paid quite well.

It’s a well known strategy to price yourself out of out of a client simply because then if they do stay, you’re actually getting generously paid for what you’re doing for them.

And eventually they may well realise that you’re quite expensive and they’ll go somewhere else.

Either way, you’re a winner. You’ve earned some money and you’ve got rid of a rubbish client. Now that’s actually quite a good strategy.

Limit the scope of work

Another thing you need to do as well is to limit the scope of what it is you are doing for these clients.

Now, I’ve been guilty in the past of having far too woolly about a definitive works agreement for what we’re going to do.

And then, of course, it drifted and it expanded and the project scope going up and up and up. And I was guilty of not managing that particularly well.

So make sure that your Terms and Condition are particularly well defined. Be clear about what you’re going to do for people, that it’s well defined and clearly understand by the client. And then keep bringing them back to that scope of work if it starts to drift off.

And if push comes to shove, just fire the buggers. Just get rid. At the end of day, you don’t need them.

So I hope that makes sense. And I hope that gives you some hope. If you do have problem clients, you don’t have to keep all clients with all costs.

Is that simple? Yes. Is it easy? Not always.

So go out there and do it. Have a think about clients who are quite frankly not worth keeping. Do they bring stressed, hassle and worry?

Remember: it’s your choice. It’s your business. You get to choose who you do business with.

If you any questions, please just let us know in the comments below. It would be great to hear from you.

Want more on making your business easier to manage? Check out:

8 Top Business Growth Tips from a Serial Entrepreneur (article and podcast)

What to do when you feel you just can’t get enough done (YouTube video)

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