It happens to every business owner and it’s not something you can completely avoid. Bringing a bad client into your business can be a really frustrating experience and one that teaches you a lot of lessons.
When It’s Time to Let a Bad Client Go
The only thing you may feel in control of during this situation is how you choose to respond to it. This is why you need to carefully consider the best way to phase an old and bad client out of your rotation. It can be difficult to break the chains, particularly when you have someone who wants to continue doing business with you and paying you.
Remember, your sanity is not worth any amount of money if this client is being rude, disrespectful or is no longer being mindful of your boundaries. Here are several things you can do in order to phase a client out. You have to trust your gut in situations like this- if you’re getting the feeling that this project is extremely frustrating or not worth your time anymore, listen to your brain!
Share That You Are Raising Your Prices
If you’ve ever heard that 80% of your business will come from only 20% of your clients, I have certainly found this to be true. Likewise, there’s a good chance that your most headache inducing clients are also the ones who provide you the lowest amount of pay. This is a great opportunity to phase them out naturally by raising your prices.
You’ll find that simply sending a basic email about your price increase will either induce them to cancel altogether or to push back and try to ask for a discount. Using statements like “my services are in higher demand and as a result of my increased experience I am raising my rates as of January 1st” will often encourage these clients to take a step back.
Suggest That You Are Working on a New Type of Project
Sometimes clients give you projects that are not a good fit for you or something that no longer fits within your business model.
One way to gently phase them out without burning any bridges is to tell them that your business is now going in a different direction and you will no longer be able to accept projects of their type after a 30-day period.
This can help your clients to realize that you simply do not offer this opportunity at all anymore. Although this doesn’t help to repair your existing relationship, it also gives you a window to conclude the business as soon as possible.
Refer Them to Someone Else
Only refer a bad client to someone else if the project is not a fit for you rather than the client being a problem. No friend of yours wants to inherit a client who is just as frustrating and problematic to deal with so be mindful of not passing that on to another person.
Your burden should not become someone else’s simply because you don’t want to deal with a client anymore. However, if the reason that you’re ending the relationship with this client is because you no longer do this type of work or at a price point that the client is comfortable with, this is a great opportunity to recommend that you no longer work together but that you know someone else who is just getting started or who may be more comfortable with that price point.
All of these tips can assist you when it is necessary to phase a client out of your business. Remember that you don’t necessarily have to burn bridges when it comes time to part ways; often this is a part of leveling up and by gently indicating that you will be taking a different direction you can ease this person out without any of the drama.