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Professional Webmaster Business Issues Forum

Dropping A Client
I do not wish to contract for this client anymore and I want to drop them.

 5:36 pm on Dec 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

I started working for a client last week, and now I think that I want to drop them as a client in favor of working on other projects. The contract I signed is a basic service contract, and I am billing hourly. I have made no legal commitments in regards to length of the contract period.

My question is more ethical/professional. I want to let the client go, but I want to do it in a nice way so that I do not burn any bridges or make a bad impression.

I just don't want to continue the relationship. I have reasons, and I could go into them if necessary.



 3:21 am on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Then just let them go. To do it in 'nice way', give a little lead time before you walk (but no extensions, or you're inviting trouble). You don't need to offer much reason - There are only so many billable hours in a month, and you are 'streamlining my focus' or some such. Just be clean and efficient about it.

<Edit> Taking them on last week and walking this week - no way around that's looking bad for somebody.</edit>

[edited by: D_Blackwell at 3:22 am (utc) on Dec. 22, 2006]


 7:44 am on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Always be honest with the client.....however hard the truth might be!

If they turned out to be a bunch of trouble, tell them that is the reason! You will actually be doing them a favor!

If you are just too busy with better paying clients, tell them the truthful reason.

The biggest mistake you can make is to be dishonest with yourself;)


 9:21 am on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Did you write your hourly rate into the contract?

If not,increase your price to this client in the new year.

That may persuade them to look elsewhere, and may make you a little happier with them until you go your separate ways.


 6:13 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Percentages has it. Here is my anecdote:

I had a customer what was a raving maniac, and I was the focus of his anger even though most of his raves weren't my fault. He brought a LOT of money into the company at the time and the company had a "hands-off" attitude, "you're the web guy, you deal with it." So I called him up and laid it out plain and simple: we need your income, but I'm not prepared to deal with your lunatic ravings on a daily basis. So we just can't continue this, find another developer.

Well. His tune changed immediately and there was an appreciation for being the only one with stones to stand up to him. We worked it out, and when I left the company, he followed me. Best client to date. :-)

The truth will set you free. One of two things are going to happen: whatever reason that makes you want to send him/her away will change to your advantage, or he/she will go away and be happy about it.


 7:07 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

mole, I hope you're kidding.

I agree with rocknbil. Honesty is the best policy and, often as a reward, things work out better than expected. Yes, the truth shall make you free!


 4:16 pm on Dec 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

His tune changed immediately - Yep know that story, if thats the case stand your ground, dont shout and keep calm explain that yo dont like being spoken to in such a such manner you dont do that them.

Fortune Hunter

 7:07 pm on Dec 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

If they turned out to be a bunch of trouble, tell them that is the reason! You will actually be doing them a favor!

Don't bet on it, I have had a few pain the arse clients over the years and I told them so in very plain terms. They simply went off to victimize another developer. People that are pains typically know it or have a clue anyway, especially after they have gone through multiple providers of said service. Nobody is that stupid.

I agree with the others that have said honesty is the best approach. Also consider finding them a replacement. If they are a serious pain consider replacing them with your competition ;)

If they are a good customer, but you don't want to work with them for whatever reason try and find a good replacement.

I would say something to them along the lines that you are working on new and different projects and while you would like to work with them it simply wouldn't be fair to them because you can't service them the way they require and you want to find them a replacement person. Not too many people can argue with that approach. I have used it myself a few times and gotten great testimonials from the client for it!

Fortune Hunter


 9:39 am on Jan 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

This not looks ethical to me, you should finish his work or manage to get it done by others-I fear he/she may bad mouth about your service if you can not accomplish the task as per contract.


 2:13 pm on Jan 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well they might but once they become known as trouble, their word wont be worth much.

Fortune Hunter

 4:03 pm on Jan 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sometimes being bad mouthed simply can't be avoided. If you keep giving in to difficult clients because you are afraid what they might say about you the cost becomes really high. You simply can't give enough to keep them quiet.

They are like termites, once they get in they eat you alive. Even if you give them everything they want clients like this tend to still have bad things to say about you. Why? because in their mind you could always give more and when you don't they bad mouth you.

I agree with others that when word gets out about how difficult they are to work with whatever they say about you will have little effect. Alternatively if you do good work you have enough people saying good things about you in the market to offset anything difficult clients may be saying.

There is a saying one of my mentors says...

"The only thing worse than no business is bad business"

He is dead on with this one. If I have no business I can at least be doing marketing or learning new skills and other things to get business. If I service a bad client I don't time to do any of this or at least less, my stress level is up, and I still am not ahead financially since I lose money giving in to their demands.

Fortune Hunter


 5:00 am on Jan 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

A good reputation in business is everything.
It is the most most valuable asset for a business and should be protected at all costs.


 8:28 am on Jan 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

>A good reputation in business is everything.

100% correct. If you are contracted to deliver, then deliver. After that however, ditch them if they are trouble and tell them exactly why!

Some posts above suggest candy coating the response.....not, something I would ever personally do or advise!

I believe people respect straight shooters......so be straight with them.....even when you have to put it in their business!

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