“I’m sorry, but we have to let you go. You’re fired.”
I’m pretty sure that a lot us, freelancers, dream of wanting to be a real badass and say those words one day. Unfortunately, in the world of freelancing, having someone to fire is really not an option. Unless, you fire clients.
Yes. You can fire clients. A lot of blogs teach you how to get the right clients, and doing that can be very difficult, not to mention distressing, to budding freelancers. Often, you will surely get bad clients.
Why There Is a Need to Fire Clients
- Bad clients can hamper your productivity by bugging you with their problems
- Bad clients make your life difficult
- Bad clients take a lot of your time
Say, you came across this client. At first, he was great and all. He tried to understand your limits and said that he accepted them.
So, you both agreed to the terms of this business deal. However, as the project moved forward, he slowly began to become a jerk.
You became really stressed with him and began to doubt and ask yourself, “Was this project even worth continuing? What should I do?”
If you’ll ask me, I would say, “Fire Him”.
Now, there are debates as to whether you should fire a client or not. Some people argue that it diminishes your integrity as a freelancer and makes you a selfish and greedy bastard.
According to them, you also become a part of a generation with a very disturbed perspective. But I think that firing clients isn’t necessarily bad. In fact, it is good for business.
- Firing clients does not diminish your integrity at all; it even increases it. Turning down paid projects that you don’t like means having enough integrity to say no to things you don’t want to do.
- It doesn’t make you a selfish and greedy bastard either. As a matter of fact, you are showing signs of maturity and great decision-making.
- You also don’t reflect an askew perspective. In fact, firing a client means you have a very stable mind because you don’t let yourself become a slave of your client.
Now, let’s go to the reasons why you should fire a client.
The Price is Not Right
Most newbie freelancers start their business by trying to establish a name through client acquisition. Getting enough people to talk about you is surely a great way to set a reputation because word of mouth still is the best marketing tool.
It is in this aim that freelancers start with reasonably low prices. Of course, no big company will want to work with an inexperienced guy, right? So, targeting the smaller markets seem to be a very great decision.
When is the price not right?
- When the client offers you a very low price despite your level of experience and expertise.
- When the client refuses to pay an upfront fee.
- When the client renegotiates the pre-agreed fee in the course of the projects duration.
Demands Too Much
You probably experienced this before. Clients who demand too much to the point that you feel like you are a puppet who moves accordingly as the puppeteer lifts the strings. But let me tell you one bitter truth, all clients are demanding.
When does a client demand too much?
- If he calls or emails you every minute asking you how much of the job is done and you end up not finishing the project on time because he keeps on bugging you.
- If he starts to behave like that, fire him!
Disrespects and Insult You
I think you don’t need a lot of explanations for this. Fire your client if:
- Your client becomes too cocky and offensive
- Your client reams you with foul language, questions your ethics, condescends you, your family and your race
You don’t need to work with people like those clients. Remember that you became a freelancer to avoid bosses who are jerks. You should also avoid clients that are jerks.
If there is one thing in this world that you should never put up, it is insult.
If he can’t act like a grown up professional, then, you should.
- Don’t fight back, just ignore him and cut the deal.
- Don’t forget your manners.
There are a lot of jerks and arseholes in this world and you don’t need to add up to the list.
Goes Under the Hood
This is odd but there are clients who completely go off the grid at times. They don’t honor the times when you are supposed to meet and discuss your concerns.
- You send them emails, call them but they don’t seem to respond. When your client behaves like this, fire him.
You should always remember that communication is key to any relationship. Yours, even though it’s a business relationship, should be build with communication.
If he keeps on disappearing every now and then, then you won’t get work done because you have to spend a lot of time looking for him. And think of this, if he can’t talk to you regularly, do you think he’ll ever show up when you need him to pay?
Read these for more information:
4 Reasons To Fire A Client
4 Reasons to Fire a Client by Paul Spiegelman
When to Fire a Client
How to Fire a Client
We talked about why we should fire a client. Now, we move on to how.
Firing clients can be very difficult to do. Especially when you have to talk to him but it is something that needs to be done. If you keep on taking each blow your client gives you, you’ll end beaten up. You have to end this partnership or else, you have to suffer.
Think of firing someone as breaking up. Yes, there is no easy way to do it and surely, one will get hurt. There is no nice way of breaking up (or firing people) but we have to be mature and professional enough to do it.
- Turn him down respectfully
- Thank him, for everything that he’s done
- Write an email or a letter formalizing the decision
- Explain your reasons calmly
- Refer him to someone
Firing a client sure is hellish, but not firing a client is worse. As a freelancer, you have to make decisions that make you uncomfortable because you all need these to become successful. You can’t say Yes to everything. Fire him now, or suffer later. Which one will you choose?