Time to break up with bad clients

Tim ReadI love all of my clients.

Well, almost all of them. Which is why I have made a list of clients that have been trouble and a source of grief in the past. These are the clients who fight me tooth and nail on every penny outlined on a proposal, or the ones who like to art direct and have a hard time letting me do my job as a creative provider. There is also the client that likes taking an invoice 120 days out before deciding to pay.

Time to go. I’ll be weeding these folks out this year as I add new.

This is a tough decision and not one that should be made in haste or with emotion. It has to be a business decision based on the numbers. I consider my relationship with each client and decide if the issue is in fact them at all.

There are times when I failed to control the situation or educate the client properly. These folks will get another chance. The others, it’s been nice and thanks for your business but I have bills to pay. In the end I’m going to make room for a higher end client that values what I do and make sure I do all I can to keep them.

BTW: This is a short excerpt from a longer post on my blog about how I can take the strength I used to get in shape (and lose 54 lbs) in 2010 and apply it to a makeover of my business. Read the rest here.

2 thoughts on “Time to break up with bad clients

  1. Emily Brackett

    Tim, glad to hear you’re ready to take this step. I’ve had a few clients over the years who were pains and I just sort of naturally let them drop–was not too responsive, etc. But last year I had to out and out fire a client. I knew it would be best in the long run, but it was a hard decision as they did provide a lot of work. I wrote a blog post here: 6 Reasons to Fire Toxic Clients http://www.visiblelogic.com/blog/index.php/2010/07/6-reasons-to-fire-toxic-clients/

  2. Dyana Valentine

    Brilliant, Tim, and big time congratulations. I’m seeing more folks talking about this and want to weigh in on one point: if you cannot do your best work, they are not your best client. Period. Emily: terrific litmus test for choosing the best clients! As in most relationships: they end as they began. Taking the time to assess the qualities of the first contact often tell you everything you need to know about how the engagement will go.