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Jennifer Kyrnin

Firing a Web Design Client Can Make Good Business Sense

By December 30, 2009

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As freelancers we often get caught up in how to find the best clients but once we have them, we don't consider that some clients may cost us more money than we earn from them. I have had clients who called me every 10 minutes when I was working on a design for them, asking, in effect, "are you done yet?" over and over. I have had clients who wanted to email me with ideas all day long, and if I didn't respond to them immediately they would complain that I wasn't taking them seriously. One memorable client wanted me to bill his company at a rate 75% lower than my normal rate. When I complained that that wasn't the rate I charged he said "oh, just submit hours so that you're paid the right amount." In other words, he wanted me to lie on my time sheet so that the company was paying me a lower hourly rate, but I was billing for more time than I actually worked. All of these clients I eventually fired, some more quickly than others. Why? Because by firing those clients I freed up more time in my schedule to work with clients that were cost effective.

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Comments
December 30, 2009 at 6:12 pm
(1) Amy says:

I sympathize! My husband and I occasionally take on web design clients. Nowadays, we turn down more work than we accept. We’ve learned that it pays to be selective. It was a hard-earned lesson.

December 31, 2009 at 2:40 am
(2) Ken says:

“I freed up more time in my schedule to work with clients that were cost effective. ”

This is very true. I had a client who put down %50 on a project in February. After many, many, many attempts to get some content or anything from them, I finally decided to return a percentage of their deposit in October. That is almost 9 months of wasted time. Granted, I worked on other projects but letting them go was a good decision.

January 1, 2010 at 9:31 am
(3) Lahle Wolfe says:

I have never fired a client – but I am selective about who I will provide services for – I have to be confident I can meet all the client’s expectations. If their expectations are unreasonable I will not take the job for any amount of money.

I learned after a few rough jobs to be sure about what I am getting into – not just the technical requirements of the job but the client’s world, too.

I understand why you would fire a client asking you to lie, but I think coddling nervous clients comes with the territory. Without exception all of my clients have been burned by other web companies so they need a lot of reassurance and updates all is going well.

Before you fire a client, try and bear in mind that the person who hired you may have their own boss breathing down their neck.

Quality web design and SEO is expensive. I have no problem with giving a little extra time to my clients to keep them happy.

I get all the financial details laid out in a contract before the job begins and no one has ever questioned my fees after the contract was signed. Any “haggling” over services and fees is always done upfront.

LA Wolfe SEO & Marketing

January 3, 2010 at 11:51 pm
(4) Angga says:

I thing you need a contract / paper

January 15, 2010 at 1:10 am
(5) Chris says:

I have fired several clients. The simple fact of the matter is sometimes eliminating non-profitable clients is required in our current market. If we don’t clean house from time to time you’ll find that your margins continue to degrade to the point that you won’t have any clients (as you will be out of business).

Chris

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