For many small businesses the idea of instantly losing revenue by firing a client sounds bad. But in the long run it makes perfect sense – and will probably end up actually saving you money.
That’s because often the reason you need to fire a client is because they are being a drag on your time. That could be because they’re always ringing or emailing questions, or they never meet the deadlines you set them. Then again, it could be because they always have a problem with your bill (ie questioning items on it) or, frankly, they’re just not very nice to deal with.
Perhaps you had an inkling they were going to be difficult from the first meeting but you decided to ignore your gut instinct and go ahead and sign them up anyhow. Thankfully, though, it’s never too late to rectify such a situation.
The client ‘firing’ process
The most important part of getting rid of a client is to do it nicely, without upsetting them, burning any bridges, or causing them to bad mouth you to other local businesses. So, how do you achieve this state of grace?
Confidentially is always a given in such matters, of course. If you feel you do need to offload then do so with a friend who doesn’t know any of your clients, isn’t connected to the industry and can be trusted not to gossip about it.
Check the contract. First of all, double check the contract you asked them to sign. There should be a termination statement in there. If there isn’t, insert one in all future contracts as this is basically your ‘get out of jail free’ card. Don’t fire them immediately, wait until the recent batch of work you’ve been doing for them comes to an end.
Be professional. Be honest with them about why you feel you can’t work with them anymore. Even if they take the huff, at least you know you’ve been true to yourself and fair with them – as well as being highly professional.
Introduce fees. If the reason you intend firing them is because they’re always asking for updates and constantly on the phone then bill them for it. At least that way you’ll be getting paid for all the attention they demand. At the same time, it may make their behaviour become less ‘needy’ if it’s costing them so much.
Give them leads. You could always give the business you’re firing the names of others in your niche who might be willing to work with them. Offer them help too in handing over to the new business.
Once you’ve finally severed your connection you’ll find you feel so much better and more positive about going in to work! You are also bound to find a nicer client to replace the one you just fired anyway. The hardest part is just taking that first step…
Get in touch today
For help with accountancy, book-keeping and business matters then get in touch with the team here. You can drop us an email via the website accountantseastlondon.com. Or, you can call us, tel: 0203 151 9002. We look forward to hearing from you!