When first starting in graphic or web design, firing a client may seem like a foreign concept. After all, isn’t the whole point of building a business to increase your number of clients, not reduce it? But money is money, and as long as clients pay, they’re worth having. Right?
If you’re strapped for cash and don’t have a choice, then I say, sure, get every client you can. But as your client list grows and things become more stable, you’ll inevitably notice that some clients are easier to work with than others. Or maybe it’s not the client. It might be that you enjoy working on specific client projects more than other client projects.
Like many of us, it’s also possible that you may find yourself dealing with clients who frustrate you for one reason or another. These are the clients that make you sigh or groan every time they contact you. Dealing with them is more complicated than with your other clients.
You can put up with these clients for a while. But if something isn’t done to resolve whatever issues you have with them, the solution may be to let them go.
Not every reason to let a client go is a negative one. As you’ll see from the situations described below, there are times when you may want to let a client go because it’s the right time to do so.
You’ll grow over time, as a designer and as a business person. This growth may lead you to pivot your business and perhaps narrow down on a niche, making some existing clients no longer a good fit for you.
Whatever the reason, you will be faced with walking away from a client at some point, hopefully, in a way that minimizes the impact on your business.
If you ever feel like a client is mistreating you or is outright abusive, it’s time to let them go.
Some clients expect you to behave like an employee. They want you at their beck can call, doing their bidding whenever they want. Just because they are paying you does not give them the right to treat you unprofessionally. You’re a business person just like them, not their employee.
Any Abusive behaviour or verbal attacks against you or your business should never be tolerated, regardless of the cost of a design project. This may sound like common sense, but many designers put up with unreasonable and abusive clients because the money is good.
Let them go. You’ll find better clients to replace them.
Some clients are notorious for expecting special favours. Maybe they want special rates or discounts or expect you to provide services above and beyond your typical offerings.
If your relationship with these clients no longer feels like a good business decision, let them go.
Any client who refuses to follow your guidelines or work the way you outline should be a concern for you. If you cannot resolve the issue with them, it’s a sign they are not a good fit for you. Let them go.
Some design projects often become repetitive. I had a client years ago that wanted their product photos to be on a white background. So all I did for them was close crop photos.
It was easy money initially, but the work became tedious after several months. I realized the client didn’t require anything else from me other than this dead-end project. I let them go and devoted my time to other client projects.
Having to deal with a client who is consistently late with payments or wants to negotiate on every project isn’t fun.
Hopefully, a well-written contract will alleviate these problems. But if not, it’s probably in your best interest to let the client go. After they pay you, of course.
Not everyone gets along. That goes for designers and their clients as well. It’s not necessarily because the client is a difficult person. Sometimes personalities just don’t mesh.
If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t enjoy working with a particular client, it might be time to let them go and find someone better suited to you.
You can’t blame a client for trying to get the most from their investment. However, if a client keeps requesting additional work beyond the original agreed-upon project, and isn’t paying for your extra effort, then there’s
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