Firing Nightmarish Clients — I think the Writing Frump and Irreverent Freelancer would both approve of this great list of 10 ways to fire a client who’s making your life miserable from Inside CRM. My favorite?

2. The client who can’t make deadlines: This client wants you to set his project at top priority because he’s on a tight schedule and needs to get something produced right away. You agree, assuming that you’ll have all of the information you need to get it done quickly. Unfortunately, your client drops off the face of the earth, ignoring your requests for approvals and other correspondence until your previously agreed upon due date comes around. At this point, you’re both blaming each other as the reason that the project’s not done, and it’s not pretty.

How to get out: Before this client makes you miss the deadlines of customers who can keep up with you, let him know that no, you can’t deliver on your deadlines when he misses his. Push back his deadline and stick to it. Instead of setting a concrete date, make it contingent upon receipt of information, such as a certain number days from the signed approval date. Don’t accept any future work from this client, as his habits are not likely to change. Instead, tell him that you’re experiencing a high volume of work and offer to refer him to another firm.

What advice do you have for ditching crappy clientele? Leave a comment. 

Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King

5 comments… add one
  • kristen Oct 17, 2007

    Oh what a topic, Kristen! Sometimes you need to cut down with a client or phase them out altogether. I think the most polite way is to offer a reference.

  • Amy Derby Oct 17, 2007

    Great post. I’ve got nothing to add.

    Timely topic for me, though, because I just had to fire my first problem client in a long time. After I told him I could no longer work for him, he asked if I could refer him to another writer. Yeah, because I’m keen on setting my friends and fellow writers up for the same type of payment chase? I don’t think so.

  • Oh yeah, you bet I approve of advice like this!

  • Jenn Mattern Oct 24, 2007

    I actually did a post on this topic at earlier this month after hearing several complaints from freelancers dealing with hellish clients. The post is more about why it’s OK to fire a client, and when to do it than the “how” aspect. You can find it here:

    When it’s OK to Fire a Client

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