As an entrepreneur, you have the amazing opportunity to be your own boss, pick your own hours and build your business to be whatever you want it to be. However with those amazing opportunities, there are also some not-so-fun parts of the job that you may run into. For instance, you may find that a client isn’t the best fit to work with. That can be for a number of different reasons, and it’s important to know when it’s time to let go. In today’s post, I’m sharing a roundup of signs it’s time to let go of a client and how to notify them professionally.
You’ll also find THIS POST helpful for determining if a client is right for you.
When to Let Go of a Client & How to Notify Them
When to Let Go of a Client
Your goal is to always work with your clients long term. But unfortunately, you’ll run into a few bad clients from time-to-time that aren’t enjoyable to work with. At some point, you’ll find yourself at a crossroads where you’ll have to make the difficult decision that firing a client is the only solution. If you find yourself in that situation, keep reading for tips on how to let a client go respectfully.
The Relationship Brings You Too Much Stress
Though a little bit of stress can be expected from time-to-time, a relationship that only brings on stress with little to no joy is toxic. You want to feel excited about your client relationships and to help their businesses flourish. If you constantly dread communicating with them or find yourself uninspired to assist this client, it may not be a good fit.
Your Client Is Unprofessional
Clients can become good friends – no doubt. Some of my clients have become my greatest friends. But you also have to be careful about keeping your relationship professional when working together. For instance, if you prefer your clients to email you regarding anything business related, you need to make that clear. Each of your clients should know and respect that. If they keep texting you regarding business-related information after informing them of your wishes, that’s unprofessional. In order to have a good working relationship, you have to have mutual respect and boundaries set.
Doesn’t Pay On Time
If you’re constantly having to send reminders to your client to pay for your services, that’s a red flag. I love to use an automated system like Honeybook to invoice my clients. Honeybook sends reminders to clients if a payment isn’t received after the first invoice is sent out.
Whether your client isn’t paying you on time because they’re unorganized or whatever other reason, you should question the relationship if it happens more than once or twice. Clients who don’t pay on time are disrespecting you as a business owner.
Takes Up Too Many Resources
Generally, you have a contract between your business and your client. And if you don’t, I STRONGLY suggest you do have one for each client. In the contract, it outlines what services you’ll provide. If the client starts asking for additional services on a consistent basis, you need to review the contract with your client. You may need to add on additional services to the contract to be sure you’re being paid for your services.
Another way problem clients can take up too many resources is if they start reaching out to other members of your team they don’t normally work with. They need to respect how communication is handled within your business. If a client won’t follow those guidelines, it might be time to move on from them.
How to Let Go of a Client
Telling Your Client the Truth
Before you’ve decided to end a client relationship, you should schedule an in-person meeting or a Zoom call to discuss your relationship. Because truth be told, there are some clients who have no idea they’re highly demanding or even becoming a problem just by the nature of the personality. Maybe they have a strong personality and just don’t realize their shortcomings.
Whatever the reason you’re reconsidering the relationship, the client should be made aware of the issues first and see if there’s a way to resolve them before you actually end the relationship. If they still continue doing the same things over and over, then you can determine if ending the relationship would be the best for you and your business.
Give Them Enough Time
Once you’ve determined you’re going to cut ties with a client, you need to give your client plenty of heads up. You don’t want to call them up and tell them you’re ending your services for them that day. That will make you and your business look unprofessional. Giving them a two-week notice is best and a courteous gesture to help them find another vendor to work with.
Offer Referrals to other Businesses
Once you’ve given them your notice that you’re going to stop working with them, a nice thing to do is provide them a list of other businesses who could assist them. That way you’re not leaving them high and dry.
Take Responsibility for Your Decisions
When you have the conversation with your client that you’re no longer going to continue working with them, take responsibility for your decision to do so. You don’t want to focus the blame on them. You can say that you’ve enjoyed working together and think you’ve accomplished a lot in the XYZ time you’ve been working together. But you think it’s for the best interests of each of your businesses to part ways at this point in time.
How to Notify a Client You’re Ending the Relationship
There are a few key points to include in your message to your client when you’re ending the relationship.
- Reference your initial discussion (including the date) you had about the difficulties of your relationship and ways your client agreed they would improve on those difficulties
- Reference certain instances after your initial meeting the client breached their promises to you
- Explain to your client that your number one priority is to have a mutually respectful relationship with your clients
- You’ve come to the conclusion that it would be best to part ways for both parties involved
- Give them at least two-weeks notice regarding the split
- Provide them with referrals to other businesses that could assist them
- Explain to them that you’re proud of the accomplishments, like XYZ, you were able to do together
- Wish them continued success in all of their future endeavors