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freelancer firing a client

When to Consider Firing a Client

Emily Schmidt
Emily Schmidt

Endings are never easy to deal with. It can be especially hard to end your business relationship with a client for any reason.

Freelancing has become very popular in the recent times due to our increased connectivity to each other. Companies and services are no longer bound by the four walls of an office. Instead business transactions, deals, and projects can be completed by almost anyone, anywhere in the world, in any time zone.

Considering how easy it is to set up a freelance career, it’s no surprise how it became so popular. But as the supply of freelancers quickly grew to overshadow the demand, services became cheaper, clients are harder to come by, and you have to step up almost immediately to beat out the competition.

If you have been freelancing for at least a year, you’ve likely been exposed from anywhere from 1-12 clients. Some of these clients you might be working with long term on multiple projects. Now, if you’re still reading this article and thinking about how great your experiences with your clients have been, then congratulations! You’ve struck freelancing gold. However, if currently you’re dealing with one or multiple clients who you’re having doubts about, keep reading.

When to Fire a Client

When we consider ending our partnership with a client, it’s usually a last resort. The client at some point trusted you with their business so as freelancers, the least we can do is really exhaust all possible options to save the partnership.

Here are Things to Consider

All clients are demanding. The sooner you accept that, the better. You will no longer waste some time wishing you’d meet a client who’s low maintenance and makes your job easy. Now, while all clients are demanding, not all clients are willing to work with you.

Before you consider firing a client, determine if you have tried to set proper boundaries with a client. For more details check out our article How to Set Up Boundaries as a Freelancer.

Personally, I feel like the worst kind of clients are those who:

  1. Doesn’t specifically say what they want and expects us to be mind-readers. Sure there are some clients who don’t really have any background in your service, but what I’m talking about are the ones you can never seem to please. No matter what you come up with, they aren’t happen and they still don’t know what they want.
  2. Those who are not willing to compromise. They just demand you do as they ask without any adjustments or collaboration. If you ask for something from their end, they just are not willing to budge.

If any of your clients fit the above description, you may want to do the following:

  1. Think about why the client annoys you. Are you being objective? Or are you just taking it personally?
  2. While saving clients may be beneficial in the future, your resources in the present also matter. Is the client costing you money? If the gains don’t justify the means, then you have to let them go. If you're
  3. You were chosen as a business partner because of your collective talent. The collective talent is your team. Does saving this client means losing your valuable team members? If not, then end it.

It can be challenging to decide whether or not to fire a client, so leverage this information to determine if it’s time to let them go. If it makes sense to end the client relationship consider whether it should be ended in person, via email, phone call, or video chat. Remember even if it’s a poor relationship, ending it with respect and integrity will help you maintain relationships and a positive reputation.

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