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How to fire a client

By Andrew Neitlich



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Last blog, a reader asked how to fire a client.

First off, firing clients is a good and natural thing. You should periodically review your list of clients and figure out which ones to de-emphasize. You do this as your own work and company progresses, as you get better clients, and as you learn which clients aren’t worth the effort.

If they want you to work with them after you have decided to no longer serve them, there are two primary to handle this:

1. Raise your rates with this client to be worth your effort. Explain to them that you are getting busy, have raised your rates to be more competitive and in line with your value. Then see what they do. In general, it is always very smart to put an offer on the table that a client has the choice to refuse. That way, you are not the one pulling the plug.

2. Have a conversation with your client that goes like this:

– I appreciate your business.

– My firm is evolving in ways that won’t be able to serve you going forward.

– Here are three firms that can handle your needs (ideally competitors that will suffer by having this client, but who can still help the client succeed).

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