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When It’s OK To Fire A Client

It’s a rare occurrence, when things get so bad with a client, that cutting ties is the best course of action. It can be hard, especially considering how bad the economy has been these past few years and how rates have plummeted for many in creative fields, but sometimes its the best thing to do. Below are examples of times when it is OK to fire a client.

When a client doesn’t pay their bills.
We love our jobs, but this is a business and we need to make a living. If a client doesn’t pay there is no reason to continue to do work for them. That’s time better spent on developing your own projects and/or doing work for clients that respect you as a professional.
Make sure to have everything spelled out in your contracts with regards to when payments are due and what the consequences are for late or non-payment. This will let them know exactly what needs to be done and discourage them from changing payment milestones or waiting to pay you until after they have some money.

When a client is a low-paying time-waster.
If you have a client that pays a very low rate, refuses to pay what you are worth, and takes too much of your time away from clients who pay more. It may be time to say “goodbye”.

Rude or disrespectful clients.
This one is, thankfully, fairly rare. However, if a client sends rude emails, makes angry unwarranted phone calls, or attacks you personally… Cut that rope! Make sure you’re not confusing criticism, from a client not happy with your work, as them being rude first.

When a client changes the parameters of the job or doesn’t stick to your agreement.
Again, this goes back to making a contract as bullet-proof as possible. If you have an agreement with a client, that they are breaking, it might be time to rethink the relationship. If they are adding more work, beyond what you agreed to, or constantly changing scheduled milestones and delaying payment without your consent or without offering monetary compensation for your extra labor… yep… you guessed it… it may be time to give them the boot.