How to Part from Clients

How to sack a clientAs a freelancer (whether a copywriter, designer, social media adviser etc.) you love your clients. After all they are the ones that help you keep your business afloat and pay your bills.

But there comes a time – every now and then – when you have to say goodbye.

We’ve all been there – at first the relationship with your client is good, but as time goes on, cracks begin to appear. They are taking up more and more of your time, arguing over everything, they take an age to pay their invoices and they start to quibble over your fees (which they were perfectly happy with).

The time has come to part company to save your sanity. Not an easy decision as your livelihood will take a hit, but what’s more important, cash or your mental wellbeing?

So, how do you do it? How to you sack a client?

Stage 1: Always be professional

No matter how tempting it may be to tell them exactly what you think of them and that you never want them to darken your door again – don’t.

You are a professional and that is how you must remain at all times. And yes, in this type of situation it may mean you taking the blame for something that has nothing to do with you. Tell them you don’t feel as though you’re the right person for the job, or perhaps you don’t have the time to give the project that it really needs. Another good one is that you have to put your prices up and therefore your services no longer fit their budget.

Whatever reason you come up with, make it sound as though really you’re doing them a favour.

Stage 2: Be ever helpful

Once you’ve made your excuses to terminate the relationship, go that extra mile by suggesting someone else who may be able to help them.

How great will you look? Not only have you pointed out that you are no longer able to do their project justice, you’re also helping them find someone else who can – God you’re good.

Stage 3: Tidy up

After cutting the apron strings and making a few suggestions for alternative suppliers, make sure everything that should be completed is completed – you don’t want to leave anything half finished. Go to whatever lengths are necessary to make sure all the ‘I’s are dotted and ‘t’s crossed.

No one likes to end a business relationship, but there are times when you have no choice. Just make sure you come out of it holding your head high, knowing you’ve done everything you could to help your client.

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#1 Peter Wise on 03.07.12 at 2:09 pm

Good advice….although sometimes it’s tempting to just not return their calls, which is what some clients do!

#2 admin on 03.07.12 at 3:11 pm


#3 CJ Media Pacific on 03.10.12 at 5:28 am

In this day and age you would think we need all we can get, but as is mentioned time and sanity prevails and we must let them go.
Usually before this happens I believe in a second opinion, and there has been times where my own attitude needed changing and not the clients.
Sometimes nothing is better than not enough especially when you find a client is 10% of your turnover but 90% of your work.

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