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Spring cleaning my client base

how to get rid of clients in a nice way

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I'm sure it is normal but when I started up 10 years ago I took on any old client.  Now I have the well behaved, good fee clients - the ones I don't mind getting calls from or emails in the middle fo the day. Then there are those irritating clients who are over needy and typically low paying but need more hand holding and non fee time. I have quite a lot of them to disengage with. All lovely people so I do not want to fall out and I really do wish them well but they are clogging up my life and I am struggling to get my worthwhile work done!

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By Maslins
12th Dec 2018 11:49

I'm in two minds about this.

We have a few clients who fit that bill...but they took a chance on me when I really needed the clients. It would seem very harsh to basically say "Things have gone well since then, don't need you now, go away". So I've kept on virtually all those "legacy clients", at the same fees, despite them not fitting our current mould.

We have however parted company with quite a few clients in a nice way where they've outgrown us...so we can encourage them to look elsewhere in a positive way. Perhaps if the clients you're referring to are the low earners this wouldn't be plausible for your situation.

If you're not restricted by clearly visible fixed fees like we are, you could just go for above inflation fee increases each year?

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By Red Leader
12th Dec 2018 12:02

Are you reluctant to increase their fees? An increase of 20% should weed out a few and remunerate your time more fairly for those that remain. It's quite simple to do but many find it a hard decision to make.

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Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
12th Dec 2018 12:25

Move office and don't tell them, those that on their own initiative find you are worthy of staying on as clients, those that don't failed the test- Darwinian natural selection.

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By carnmores
12th Dec 2018 13:43

My god that's some sort of natural selection, don't do this you leave yourself open to all sorts of claims, I hope its a joke otherwise its very very poor advice. I grant you that's almost unique from you :-)

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Replying to carnmores:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
12th Dec 2018 13:59

Yes- it was a joke-I thought that was obvious but the typed and spoken word communicate themselves very differently from one another.

By the way, what do you mean by "almost"?

See,same problem, is he serious or not. (The answer is not, I very rarely am)

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By andy.partridge
12th Dec 2018 14:05

Getting jokes is also a form of Darwinian natural selection.

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By carnmores
12th Dec 2018 14:59

i mean you invariably give good advice ;-) some people on here would have trouble telling that you were joking i wasnt 100% sure

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By andy.partridge
12th Dec 2018 14:10

Better first to see if they can be turned, either to less needy or higher payers.

Reasonable clients tend to accept that the more support they need the more they will be required to pay. If your needy ones don’t recognise that you can cross them off the ‘needy’ list and add them to ‘unreasonable’.

It’s the unreasonable ones you need to rid yourself of and that means you have to be decisive, not kind.

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Replying to andy.partridge:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
12th Dec 2018 14:18

Or take Nick Lowe's advice.

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By andy.partridge
12th Dec 2018 14:44

Little Hitler (with Godwin apologies)?

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By Lisa R
12th Dec 2018 15:30

Can't you just drop a few hints to get invited to their Christmas parties!

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By marks
12th Dec 2018 23:17

Two approaches you could use

1. Just increase their fees to cover you costs. If they leave then nothing lost as you were wanting them to leave. If they stay then great, you are doing the work in line with what they should have been paying. We have some clients like this who are paying a lot less than someone who we would take on the now in the same situation so once January is past going to approach them first about their fee increase. There isnt any point in doing work that is loss making.

2. Just say to them that unfortunately they no longer match the type of business you want to work with going forward. Do however have an alternative lined up and say "however I found someone who is eager to assist you moving forward"

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Replying to marks:
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By imbs
14th Dec 2018 12:04

Thanks everyone and I a glad I am not the only one with legacy clients. I'll increase fees to the level where I don't feel like I'm ripping myself off and see how it all works out...

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By Glenn Martin
14th Dec 2018 13:21

I have few jobs that draw too much time over what was agreed when I took them on, they are a pain and always late with info etc

I think I will re price a few in the New Year and see if that does the job.

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