A Definitive Guide to Identifying and Firing Bad Clients
If you’re an agency owner or just a freelancer, you know that the clients you get can vary a lot! Some are amazing, and give enough time and money to put your best work out!
However, some aren’t that great to work with. So instead of letting them take control of your life, you need to deal with them. But how do you do it? Stay tuned to find out.
Why Do You Sometimes Need to Fire Clients?
The biggest problem many small agencies and freelancers have with clients is that they are scared to fire them. That’s because they are paying money to you. And if you “break up” with them, you won’t get any money from them.
While that’s a valid concern, it shouldn’t be your excuse for not taking action. The thing is, firing clients will be better for you in the long term as you’ll have time for higher-paying clients.
Plus, your bad clients will take even more time away with the countless revisions and back-and-forth communication.
So instead of wasting your time on work that you might not get paid, you should instead start firing those clients so you can take your small business to new heights.
How to Identify a Bad Client?
But before you do and go out there to end contracts with clients you don’t like, it’s best to take a couple of steps back and think if the client truly is a bad one. That will help you to save yourself from ending relationships with good clients.
So how do you identify a bad client? Well, there are a few ways to do it:
- They have unrealistic expectations – If you see one who wants you to complete a project with an unrealistic deadline, you probably have gotten a bad client.
- They promise you “future work” – If you see a potential client who wants you to work for free with a promise of future work, then probably this customer wants to take advantage of you without paying for anything.
- They don’t respond to you – If you see a client that doesn’t respond to your questions, then you’ve probably stumbled upon a bad client. That could cause late payments which you don’t want.
While these three ways give a good outlook on which clients are you’ve not, it’s not bulletproof. For this, I highly suggest you start collecting data on each client you have. That way, you’ll have a better understanding of your clients, and you’ll make better decisions in the future.
Learn more about it in my How To Collect Business Data Successfully blog post.
4 Tips for Dealing and Avoiding With Bad Clients
Now that you understand who a bad client is, it’s time to deal with them. With these four tips, you will learn how to end your relationship with bad clients and avoid them in the first place.
Tip #1 – Turn them into good clients
One of the best ways to deal with bad clients is turning them into good ones. And here’s why!
The thing is, most bad clients don’t have experience with what you’re working on. They might think that your work is easy, so it shouldn’t cost that much or take that much time.
But if you can show them how hard it is, most of them will have more appreciation for your work and most likely will be willing to pay you more or give you a longer time frame to finish your project.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Co-work with your clients – If there’s a possibility, start co-working with your client. That way, they’ll see firsthand what it takes you to finish something and what you go through before sending out the finished product.
- Be more transparent – Talk about the process you go through before sending the finished product. While that might not be as convincing as co-working, it could still open the client’s eyes.
Tip #2 – Fire them in a professional way
If you cannot work with them or they refuse to change, it’s best for both of you to end the relationship between you two. However, don’t go out there insulting your client, as that could backfire and ruin your reputation. Instead, here are a few ways to deal with them:
- Give them a refund – If you have the money, it’s best to give it back to them and say that you two aren’t a fit in a professional manner.
- Refer to another freelancer/agency – If you know someone who could do what your client is asking from you, you should help them out. That way, They won’t have any hard feelings for you.
Tip #3 – Tell them simply what you do
Your clients might not understand what you can offer to them. If your title designer or design team, that could mean many things. For example, some might think you can do social media graphics, while others believe you can create a beautiful WordPress website.
So instead of confusing your clients, it’s best to tell them what exactly you can do for them. For example, instead of having a title of a designer on your profile/website, you should have something like this:
- WordPress Website Designer
- Modern & Minimalistic Logo Designer
- Social Media Graphic Designer for Instagram
#4 – Talk about your price & set expectations
Another way you can avoid bad clients is by setting expectations and mentioning the price on your website. That way, you can avoid people who won’t be willing to pay for the price or with your suggested timeframe.
And that’s how you deal with bad clients! Once you’ve dealt with them, you’ll be able to free up your time to work with clients that not only pay you but respect what you’re doing.
And if you need any help with your agency or freelancing career, then be sure to book a coaching call with me! I used to be an Account Manager for an international company, so I’m sure I can help you with this topic!