Getting rid of bad client, how do you do it?

How do you get rid of bad client?

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I've come to the point where after 4 years of running my practice without much growth in clients numbers. I want to rid of bad clients.

The clients who don't value my services, exceeded demanding of my time with out valuing it. The clients who see what I do and steal my processes, ideas and reselling them as their own.

These were my first batch of clients. The ones where you lure in with competitive fees when you're starting out.

over the last year, through a lot of personal turmoil I've come to realise the value in my work and appreciate it. And I can see the clients who appreciate me as a business.

well. What I'm trying to find out is hiking up fees to the general market rate where these clients will not accept it is a good way of going. Or if there are any other ideas.

I do not want to lower my standards, as the clients who appreciate my services do get better care than the ones who don't.

It be sound crap, but this is where I'm at right now. Any advice would be appreciated.

Replies (9)

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By Truthsayer
19th May 2020 20:07

'What I'm trying to find out is hiking up fees to the general market rate where these clients will not accept it is a good way of going.'

Yes, that's exactly how to do it. Then they will either go away, or be worth the trouble. If they're still not worth the trouble, hike their fees until they are. Or if they are an Olympic standard PITA, just tell them they aren't worth the small fee you get from them, and tell them to get a new accountant. Above all, never apologise, and if you feel the need to explain, tell the truth.

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Replying to Truthsayer:
By Twa
19th May 2020 20:41

I’m always worried about my reputation. I feel like I’ve build my practice in a bubble and can’t work outside of it. You know where your referral network somehow has the same breed of clients. Stingy, demanding, talk sweet when they want something and then forget you’ve helped them when it comes down to a £10 increase.

But the theoretical downtime from the coronavirus pandemic has given be a fair bit of perspective.

I will lose a decent bank of my income based on the conversation had with one client. But, I know if I put my energy into marketing the way I want to it’ll attract a different breed of clients.

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By pauld
19th May 2020 20:39

You can either hike up their fees to a level that you are prepared to keep them on or just tell them you are scaling down your business and can no longer act for them.

Thanks (1)
By New To Accountancy
19th May 2020 22:44

I recently disengaged with a client, only the one. I said I was scaling down and as his business is growing he may benefit from a more experienced accountant anyway. I put it in a way that built his (massive) ego.
The truth was, I didn't earn much from him yet he took up so much of my time. He was the typical businessman who had learnt to delegate and pass on jobs etc and I found he was doing it with me, he always had '2 minute' jobs for me. Things such as 'can you resend that email' so I'd be searching again, doing the same thing because he couldn't be bothered looking in his inbox etc and the 'little' jobs just never ended. He recently asked me if I could take him back and I said no. You do not realise how much you can achieve by getting rid of one client, the fact I'm not interrupted as much makes all the difference because I can think clearer.
Do it, you won't regret it. Now that I've done it once, I'll have no problem doing it again as it feels good taking control. Learning to grow thicker skin is inevitable in this field I think.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
20th May 2020 09:40

If a client is a PITA they will just be a PITA with a bigger fee.

And probably begrudge paying it, so I would disengage those as a matter of course.

Its quite different to charging a decent client a proper days fee for a proper days work, rather than half a day. For a decent client, a frank discussion is required. Either "its a bigger job than I quoted for", "I under charged to early clients", "my rate is going up". They can then go to another cheapo start up, or they might say "yes we always thought you were a bargain and couldn't understand why you charged so little"

I have a handyman who charges me £15 an hour (which is cheap round here and he is really good). Id happily pay £20-25 an hour for him which is the market rate. I might even wear £30, albeit he would get less work.

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By Paul D Utherone
20th May 2020 10:56

Refer them to Pressdram v Arkle? No I'm not serious with that suggestion!

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Replying to Paul D Utherone:
paddle steamer
20th May 2020 11:20

Deep in your subconscious you probably really are serious.

The only facet of getting older I have really enjoyed is the increase in my willingness to stop biting my tongue and really tell individuals what I think of them- it is very refreshing.

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By Steve Holloway
20th May 2020 12:26

When other relationships are failing, people will encourage each side to give a truthful account of how they feel. Often this is the basis to 're-boot' and move forward. Why not the same for business relationships? Perhaps neither you or your client are getting what they want from the relationship ...

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By Calculatorboy
20th May 2020 13:06

I think its simpler to say due to recent events you're restructuring, and wont have resources available , and email any handover info to them explaining it needs to go to new agent , and if there is a further request there will be a charge because everything is being archived.

I did this to one last year , few months later got prof enquiry , replied I no longer acted , and client had info...

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