When to Walk Away from a Client

credit: Keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

credit: Keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

Last week, we talked about how to handle problem clients. This week, we talk about how, when and why to walk away from your clients.

Pulling away from a client is a step out of my comfort zone, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. However, there comes a time in every freelancer’s life where exiting a business relationship would be of your benefit and possibly that of your client’s, too.

With that in mind, here are a few tips on knowing when to walk away.

1. Throw away the boomerangs

There was once a client I worked for on Fiverr; I’d revised a script for a commercial for his non-profit organization. I think I ended up revising the script on four or five separate occasions over the course of several weeks. He was always very nice about it, and I have nothing bad to say about him as a person, but I don’t think I’d consider working with him again.

I learned two lessons from working with this particular client: A. Limit the amounts of revisions you do on your work. B. Charge for each revision. As much as I hate to admit it, the only way I probably would have learned that lesson was to experience it myself.

2. Leave the cheapskates

One of the most common issues I have regarding freelancing is low rates.

Listen, here – there will always be someone who does it cheaper than you; when it comes to price, there’s a threshold you and I can’t in all good conscience cross because we know the compensation is not worth our time.

Don’t apologize for what you charge, especially if you’ve worked out the price according to how much you can do per hour, how the project is structured, the deadline and so forth. If the client asks you to lower your price significantly or they’ll pull out, cut them loose. It’s not worth the time.

3. Kick over-demanding to the curb

Again, through Fiverr (really, I genuinely enjoy the site. It got a lot better for me as time went on.), I had a client who wanted me to write a story for him. I charge by the page, so I wrote the first few pages and submitted it to him, according to the price.

This would have been all well and good, however, the story he wanted had many branching storylines and he wanted a complete outline done for the price  of a couple of pages, which, in my view, was more work that the price he paid.

If a client starts demanding work beyond the scope of what they’re willing to pay, you can do one of two things – negotiate with them or you can let them go. Whatever you decide according to your situation, use tact.

4. Don’t put up with disrespect

Look, you’re a professional, no matter what people say. You’re doing work for pay, you’re (hopefully) doing it well – that makes you a professional.

If there’s one thing you shouldn’t have to tolerate, it’s disrespect. Whatever you do, don’t return fire, as tempting as it may be. Instead, be professional, tell them you obviously have differences in opinion and get out of there.

Don’t take what they say to heart. Rise above it and keep on trucking.

That can be tough to do, though. Hmm. Maybe I should discuss that next week…

How do YOU let go of trouble clients? Discuss in the comments below!

Be sure to check out my portfolio and professional site here

Happy freelancing and we’ll talk again next week!

– Adam


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One thought on “When to Walk Away from a Client

  1. […] Next week, we’ll talk about when it’s time to part ways with clients. […]


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