Lesson 8: Firing Clients


When you start a web design business you’ll be eager to work with anyone in order to start generating an income.

However, sadly, not every client out there is a good one.

How do you define – who is a bad client? and when do you part company?

Below are a few tips on how to make the job easier.

1. They Make Unreasonable Demands

The goal of any business is to manage the expectations of the client. However, when those expectations get a little unreasonable alarm bells should start ringing. Many of us have probably experienced a client who is always on the phone, or that client who puts a change in at the last minute, expecting a quick turnaround. The fact is you’re only human. The key is to make sure the client is happy with all timescales and deadlines outlined in your web design brief before you start.

2. They Want Things for Free

In today’s world marketing budgets are tight. Every penny has to be accounted for so at the end of the financial year a profit can be made. It’s no surprise then that many clients will try and negotiate as much as they can to get the best price for the work. Unfortunately, this usually means they want something for nothing. Don’t be afraid in this instance to stand your ground. Just like them, your business has to turn a profit as well.

3. They Always Delay Payments

It’s probably one of the most frustrating jobs a business owner has to go through. Chasing invoices is almost like a game of cat and mouse. Some clients are great and are happy to pay by standing order and on time. Then there are those who like to wait until the last minute before they pay. In most cases they’ll happily take a warning first before paying. Like the design brief all your payment information should be outlined to the client at the start, and any issues with disputed invoices should be raised immediately.

4. They Don’t Take Your Advice

The client has come to you because you’re the best at what you do. If they’re not going to listen to you your advice then what is the point in working with them. A lot of clients out there don’t like change and when it comes to web design you need to reassure them that the changes being made are in the best interest of their business. If you find yourself banging your head against a wall the simplest scenario is to complete the job as requested and move on.

5. They Don’t Reply to Your Emails

This can be annoying, especially if you have a tight design schedule where certain elements need to be approved. Clients on the odd occasion will suddenly disappear. They’re never contactable on the phone and fail to reply to emails. If this is the case, finish up the task you were doing and invoice them. With a bit of luck they’ll soon get back in touch asking for an update on the project.

How to Fire a Client

We’re not talking a Sir Alan Sugar firing here. You need to be polite and diplomatic with them. Put your case forward as to why you’re parting company and give them the opportunity to offer any feedback. You might be lucky and find a resolution that suits both parties and future business can continue. Point them in the direction of someone else who may be better suited to helping them.