If you have been in the business for any amount of time, you are bound to encounter the client who will make you question why you are even in the profession at all. You give them advice; they don’t listen. You send them an invoice; they either question it or are not prompt in paying, month after month, after month. You give them huge deals and they act like they are being taken advantage of. We have many names for this type of client .. most commonly known as “The Client from Hell.”
When first starting on your business journey, these clients may be a necessary evil, the rent is not going to pay itself after all; but there comes a time when it is no longer essential that you have to put up with it.
When is it time to end the abuse and say enough is enough and end this toxic client relationship?
Here are 4 sure signs you need to part ways with a client.
1) Cheap clients
We have all taken that project that pays next to nothing. After all, something is better than nothing at all. Clients will continually expect this and low ball you every chance they get, but only if you allow them to. There comes a time when you have established your worth and can either demand more, or take your work elsewhere, where it is better appreciated. However, quitting without necessary notice is a total no-no; you must give the client appropriate notice and advance warning of your intentions.
2) Clients who want something for nothing
We all want to please our clients; there is nothing wrong with that. Beware though, some clients will take advantage of your generosity and expect you to go above and beyond the call of duty, and for free. In some cases, you will either need to increase your retainer, extend the deadline of the project when they are requiring more work from you than was originally stated, or charge them a rush fee.
3) Clients who are always late on payments
Many businesses will take advantage of interest free credit and terms. The 30-60-90 day same as cash incentive may be a great way to earn business at first but only if you are sure it will be paid. More times than not, you must set deadlines in stone. This would include not starting a project until a retainer is paid. Also, never turn over a finished project until the total balance has been paid. Can you imagine not paying your team for 90 days after they had done the work for you? Be firm with payment deadlines. Time is money.
4) Clients who refuse to take your advice
What are they paying you for when they will not even listen to your valuable expertise? We have all had these clients; they pay top dollar for your knowledge but then insist on doing things their own way. This is a waste of your time and energy .. and their money.
Bottom line, never make a quick decision to end a toxic relationship with a client. This is something that must be thought out rationally, weighing both the pros and the cons. If the client is constantly doing any of the above four situations, you must consider whether the relationship is of benefit to either of you and consider cutting ties once and for all.