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  1. #1
    Technically, a bit dim macdan's Avatar
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    what do you do when you don't want to work for a client any more?

    very rare situation for me, I'm not in the business of turning work away but;

    I've come to the conclusion that a particular client is more hassle than they are worth. I don't really want to go in to detail, suffice to say that the amount of time and energy spent on untangling poor briefs and fielding changes of mind is disproportionate to the benefits gained.

    My question is how does one back away elegantly and professionally without upsetting anyone?

    Would be very interested to hear of sitepointers opinions on this.
    gorillaweb is a small London based digital design agency.

  2. #2
    Function Curry'er JimmyP's Avatar
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    The question here is whether you should be totally up-front and honest about this or not...

    I would tell the client that you are moving in a slightly different direction in regard to the clients which you take on. - This way it's not so personal. I wouldn't completely dump them but just tell them that your are only prepared to take on a certain type of work in the future (a type which doesn't cause so much frustration).

    Or you could say that you're trying to decrease your workload and that you cannot no longer supply the client with your services. Maybe recomend a fellow industry peer who is willing to do the work. This way you're not leaving them totally empty handed.
    James Padolsey
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  3. #3
    Technically, a bit dim macdan's Avatar
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    James, that's good advice, I like the idea of the business moving in a different direction.

    Sometimes you have to bend the truth a little...;-)
    gorillaweb is a small London based digital design agency.

  4. #4
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Raise the rate to an amount that would make you feel like it's worth it. Give them a 30 day notice. That will usually cause a client-nightmare to self-correct!

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagewing View Post
    Raise the rate to an amount that would make you feel like it's worth it. Give them a 30 day notice. That will usually cause a client-nightmare to self-correct!
    I agree! I have a particularly bad client; rude, arrogant, late paying (pays eventually though), ungrateful, demanding etc. I got to the point where I thought of dumping him, but instead raised my prices (massively) and also made him sign a new contract which brought in strict late payment penalties. Currently he still hires me; he hasn't changed his personality but I don't give a crap as I'm making an absolute fortune out of him. Funny how the stress disappears when the money rolls in.

  6. #6
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    That's good advice Sagewing. That's what I did back in 2003 and only those who I wanted to leave actually left and those who stayed became lower maintenance. In fact, I recommend people do this all the time (I also do marketing consulting) and they always freak out. They think people will leave or get mad at them and it takes a minor intervention to convince them that those who do leave are and never will be hugely profitable and those who stay have proven they're worth the time and energy and they're excellent candidates for more sales, especially at the time of upgrade.

    Another way to raise rates is to create a new level of service and transfer all the time consuming tasks to the new "Gold" level. I also recommend a "Platinum" level but I'll post that in the promotion board.

    When I really want to fire a client I just say I can't provide the level of service they need. They either backoff and become more manageable or I do whatever I have to to move their business to another source smoothly. Cheers.
    I study speed waiting. I can wait an entire hour in 10 minutes.

  7. #7
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagewing View Post
    Raise the rate to an amount that would make you feel like it's worth it. Give them a 30 day notice. That will usually cause a client-nightmare to self-correct!
    Excellent advice!
    There are three kinds of men:
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    The rest of us have to pee on the electric fence.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Guru rageh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by macdan View Post
    very rare situation for me, I'm not in the business of turning work away but;

    I've come to the conclusion that a particular client is more hassle than they are worth. I don't really want to go in to detail, suffice to say that the amount of time and energy spent on untangling poor briefs and fielding changes of mind is disproportionate to the benefits gained.

    My question is how does one back away elegantly and professionally without upsetting anyone?
    The most professional to handle this is to be honest.

    But don't call. It will exacerbate the matter further. Things like this cannot be solved over the phone. He may argue and saying this and that without even bothering to hear you out. So tell him in writing(preferably in a letter as opposed to email)that he has become too much hassle explaining why you think that way. And conclude that that it would be better for both of you to part company for the reasons stated above and wish him good luck.

    And also arrange his files to be delivered to him next days. That would take care of the situation in a manner that is both professional and courteous.
    ------------------

  9. #9
    SitePoint Guru rageh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagewing View Post
    Raise the rate to an amount that would make you feel like it's worth it. Give them a 30 day notice. That will usually cause a client-nightmare to self-correct!
    I like your solution

    But if he did that, he would still be avoiding the real issue; that is, why he no longer wants him as a client. What would he do if the client says ok I will pay you however much you want? He still has got a bothersome client. Stress caused by a difficult client will not after all go away just because you are getting more money.
    ------------------

  10. #10
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    They'd have to be pretty bothersome at $250 an hour.

  11. #11
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    Very nice advise here.
    Mukul Gupta
    Indus Net Technologies
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    Design | Development | Internet Marketing

  12. #12
    The knight who said ni! RockyShark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagewing View Post
    They'd have to be pretty bothersome at $250 an hour.
    Haha! Absolutely!


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