When you’re just starting out in business, you may grab every job you can. Work can be scarce, and new contractors can’t afford to be very choosy.
After a time, your business is going to grow, and you’ll have the option of picking and choosing your clients. This is the time when most contractors look around and realize some of their old customers really aren’t a good fit anymore. Any one of a number of signs can signal the end of a business relationship. The important thing is to end it professionally and move on.
They’re Making Unreasonable Demands
Sure, you bent over backward with this client in the beginning, just to keep his large amount of business. But now he doesn’t recognize limits, no matter how many times you spell them out to him. If he’s asking for work far outside your original agreement and not paying you enough to do it or outsource it, it may be time to call it quits.
They’re Constantly Looking for Discounts
If a client agrees to your rate, then keeps trying to get you to give him discounts or decrease the bottom line, he doesn’t respect you or the work you do for him. The same goes for clients who work with you for years but refuse to pay reasonable rate increases. This can often signal the beginning of financial problems with a client, either delays in payments or outright refusal to pay. It might be smarter to get out while you can.
You’ve signed a contract to do a specific job, but your client keeps adding little extras to the project and never offers to pay any more money. Even if you’ve allowed this to happen, it’s time for it to stop. If she resists or agrees then goes back to her old behavior, it’s better to cut your losses right away.
They’re Slow with Payment
You’ve got payment requirements written right in your original contract. If this client knows he’s supposed to be making a payment for certain milestones in the job, or if a long-term client is always slow to pay his bill, you’re better off getting rid of him. Slow payment is a liability and can affect your business. If he breaks your financial agreement, he’s fired himself.
They Don’t Respect Your Expertise
Customers hire your company because of your expertise – because they have a vision they want you to bring to life. If a client comes to you with something totally unworkable, it’s not worth your time to argue the point with a stubborn client. He may be a great customer otherwise, but if he won’t respect your expert opinion, odds are he’ll never be happy with the final job.
It’s hard to pin this one down, but you can tell when someone disrespects you and the work you do. Whether they look down on you for working with your hands, don’t like the makeup of your crew or don’t feel your education has any worth, their opinion will come through in every communication. You and your team don’t need this kind of stress, no matter how good the pay. Be polite, but back away.
Have you ever had to fire a client? What told you that you had to walk away from the relationship?