June 7, 2024

How and When to Let Go of a Client [Free Template]

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Is there a right way to fire a client? Probably not. Still, you can do it “professionally” if that’s a thing in business.

As the old saying goes, you cannot make everyone happy.

For most business owners, 90% of customers will be fantastic. They’ll let you showcase your expertise and service, listen to your advice, and work with you when things don’t go quite right.

Likewise, as a business owner, you’ll encounter customers who are just… toxic—or, as we like to call them, nightmare clients.

These are the opposite of what good clients are. They’ll question your moves, argue incessantly, withhold information, pay late, undermine your efforts, and do just flat-out insane things. Difficult clients these ones.

Bad clients will end up costing your business; the sooner you let go of them, the better.

That said, we have tips and templates to help you fire toxic clients for good.

We’ll start with the basics.

When to Fire a Client —   Things to Watch Out For

When to fire a client

Running a business is about generating profits and maintaining healthy client relationships. So, when a client relationship turns sour, it becomes necessary to consider parting ways. 

Here are key factors to evaluate when determining if it’s time to fire a client.

Is the Client Affecting Your Employee Morale?

Employee morale is crucial for productivity and workplace happiness. 

If a client consistently berates your team, makes unreasonable demands, or generally creates a toxic work environment, it can lead to stress and dissatisfaction among your employees.

High morale is essential for creativity, efficiency, and job satisfaction. If one client’s behavior is causing widespread discontent, it’s important to weigh the benefits of keeping them against the cost to your team’s well-being.

Are You Making or Losing Money?

A fundamental aspect of any working relationship is its financial viability.

Evaluate whether the revenue generated from a toxic client justifies the resources expended. This includes the direct costs of service delivery and the indirect expenses such as additional time, extra stress on employees, and lost opportunity opportunities.

If the business relationship is financially draining, consider reassessing its value. Sometimes, a client who initially seemed profitable can become a financial burden.

 Regular financial reviews can help identify such issues early on.

Is There Mutual Respect?

how to fire a client

Respect forms the bedrock of any successful client relationship.

Thus, mutual respect should exist at all levels of interaction. If a client consistently disrespects your team, dismisses your professional advice, or undermines your efforts, it’s to fire them.

Disrespect causes a breakdown in communication and cooperation, making meaningful progress difficult.

 Assess whether the client values your boundaries, expertise, and contributions. If not, send them a “termination letter.”

Is the Relationship a Good Fit?

Businesses evolve, and so do your client’s needs.

What might have been once a profitable relationship may not fit your current objectives or operational style. Regularly reassess the alignment between your company’s mission and values and those of your clients.

If a client’s expectations, culture, or business practices no longer align with yours, consider going separate ways.

Working with a bad client can trigger misunderstandings, dissatisfaction, and, ultimately, a decrease in cash flow.

Can You Truly Make This Client Happy?

Despite your best efforts, a problem client is perpetually dissatisfied.

The dissatisfaction can stem from unrealistic expectations, communication breakdown, or a fundamental goal mismatch.

A difficult client who’s never happy can demoralize and drain your resources. Hence, it’s important to recognize when efforts to please are futile.

In addition, it’s best to acknowledge that not every client relationship is salvageable and that parting ways can benefit both parties.

How to Fire a Client Immediately

how to fire a client

Continuing to tolerate difficult customers could be standing in the way of acquiring great clients — those who value expertise, have no payment issues, and are easy to work with.

While firing a client may seem like a tough call, you must shut the door to those who aren’t a good fit to attract great ones.

This means you have to learn how to fire a client. Luckily, we have the strategies to help you let go of bad customers. That way, you can make room for great clients and grow your business.

We’ll use a cleaning company as an example for the following strategies.

Hike Your Prices

Increasing cleaning service rates is one subtle yet effective way to fire a client.

Difficult clients are often also price-sensitive. Thus, significantly raising your charges can create a natural exit for these customers.

Besides, hiking your prices works well if you want to avoid confrontation, as it allows the client to decide to leave.

In addition, it signals to future clients the value you place on your services. If the client chooses to stay despite the price hike, at least the relationship becomes more profitable for you.

Call the Client

when to fire a client

A direct approach to firing a client is by calling them over the phone.

While calls are straightforward and respectful, you want to be clear about your reasons for ending the relationship.

A good way to do this is to frame the conversation around the benefits to both parties. You can, for instance, encourage the customer to find a better-suited service provider, as this will allow your company to focus on more aligned clients.

Be professional and concise, and prepare for potential pushback. However, you want to ensure there is no miscommunication while showing that you value the client’s time.

Here’s a call script for firing a client you can copy. 

How to Fire a Client Over the Phone

Introduction

“Hello [Client’s Name], this is [Your Name] from [Your Cleaning Company]. How are you today?”

Purpose of the Call

“I wanted to speak with you about our current cleaning service arrangement.”

State the Issue

“We’ve reviewed our recent interactions and the overall fit of our services with your needs. After careful consideration, we’ve decided that it would be best to discontinue our cleaning services for your account. This decision wasn’t easy, but we believe it’s in the best interest of both parties.”

Reason for Termination (if applicable)

“If appropriate, provide a brief reason: We’ve had ongoing challenges with scheduling that we haven’t been able to resolve, and we believe another service provider may better meet your needs.”

Transition Plan

“We will continue to service your property until [specific end date], giving you some time to find an alternative solution. If you need any recommendations for other cleaning services, we’re happy to provide them.”

Next Steps

“We will ensure a smooth transition and complete all outstanding services to the best of our ability before the termination date. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need further assistance during this period.”

Closing

“Thank you for your understanding, [Client’s Name]. We appreciate the opportunity we’ve had to work with you. Have a great day.”

Send the “Bad News” Right into Their Inbox

how to fire a client

If calling seems too confrontational, sending an email can be a more comfortable option.

Craft a thoughtful and polite email explaining your “difficult” decision. In addition, highlight specific reasons why the relationship is no longer the right fit without leaving the client hanging.

Emailing provides a written record of the termination and can be less emotionally charged than a phone call.

Here is an email template to fire a toxic client

How to Fire a Bad Client via an Email 

Subject: Notice of Service Termination

Dear [Client’s Name],

This email is to formally notify you that we will be discontinuing our cleaning services for your residence/business, effective [Date of final cleaning service].

We appreciate the opportunity we’ve had to serve you over the past [Duration of service]. 

However, after careful consideration, we’ve determined that we’re no longer able to meet your specific cleaning needs and expectations.[Briefly mention the reason for discontinuation, e.g., “We’ve found that your cleaning requirements have evolved and are beyond the scope of our current service offerings”].

We understand that this may be unexpected news, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. 

We want to assure you that we are committed to fulfilling our remaining scheduled cleaning appointments up to the termination date to ensure a smooth transition for you.

We wish you all the best in finding a cleaning service that aligns more closely with your current requirements.

Sincerely, [Your Name/Company Name]

Terminate the Contract

how and when to fire a client snapshot

If you have a formal agreement, activate termination clauses to legally end the contract early.

Ensure you follow the contract’s stipulated termination process, which may include providing a certain amount of notice or meeting specific conditions.

Contract termination is clear-cut and legally sound. Even then, it’s essential to communicate the termination in writing, referencing the contract terms to avoid disputes and blame game.

Here’s a contract termination template you can use.

How to Fire a Client Using a Termination Letter

[Your Company Letterhead]

[Date]

[Client’s Name] [Client’s Address]

Subject: Notice of Contract Termination

Dear [Client’s Name],

Please accept this letter as formal notification that [Your Company Name] is terminating our cleaning service contract with you, effective [Date of final cleaning service].This decision was not made lightly.

However, recent events have made it clear that our current working arrangement is no longer mutually beneficial. [Optionally, briefly describe specific events or issues that led to this decision, being mindful of maintaining a professional tone].

As per our contract agreement, we will complete all scheduled cleaning services up to and including [Date of final cleaning service]. After this date, our contractual obligations to you will be fulfilled.

We wish you the best in finding a cleaning service that better suits your needs and preferences.

Sincerely,

[Signature] 

[Name] 

[Title]

[Company Name]

Arrange an In-Person Meeting

For local clients or those with whom you have a long-standing relationship, an in-person meeting can be the most respectful and effective way to fire a client.

In-person meetings allow you to have a direct, honest conversation. They also show that you value the client enough to discuss the matter face-to-face.

Be prepared for an emotional response and handle it with empathy and professionalism. Offer to help with the transition process, such as recommending alternative service providers.

In-person meetings often leave the door open for future opportunities and maintain a positive client relationship, even if the current one is ending.

Here’s an example of an in-person meeting to fire a difficult client.

Script to Fire a Client 

(Knock on the door. When the client answers, greet them politely and ask them to step inside for a brief discussion.)

Client: Hi [Your Name], what’s this about?

You: Hi [Client’s Name]. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me. I know this is a bit out of the blue, but I wanted to have a direct conversation with you about our cleaning services.

Client: Is everything okay?

You: I’ve been reviewing our records and assessing the overall compatibility of our services with your household’s needs. While we’ve valued the opportunity to clean for you, I’ve come to the conclusion that our current arrangement might not be the most optimal fit for either of us.

Client: What are you saying?

You: I’m proposing that we amicably conclude our cleaning services. This will allow you the opportunity to explore other options that might align better with your specific preferences and requirements.

Client: (Reaction may vary)

You: I understand this news might be unexpected, and I want to apologize for any inconvenience it may cause. Please know that this decision was made after careful consideration and with your best interests in mind.

Client: (May ask for clarification or reasoning)

You: (Address any questions or concerns honestly and professionally, avoiding placing blame or being overly critical.

Briefly explain any recurring issues, scheduling conflicts, or other relevant factors that contributed to the decision.)

Client: (May express disappointment or frustration)

You: I sincerely apologize if this decision causes any disruption to your routine. I am happy to help facilitate a smooth transition, and I can provide recommendations for other reputable cleaning services if you’d like.

Client: (May inquire about the final cleaning or any outstanding payments)

You: (Clarify details regarding the last scheduled cleaning, any outstanding balances, and the timeline for returning any keys or access codes.)

(Conclude the conversation by expressing gratitude for their past business and wishing them well in finding a suitable cleaning service. Offer to answer any further questions they may have and provide contact information for future communication if needed.)

Conclusion

Firing a client is never easy, but sometimes, it’s necessary for the health and growth of your business.

Remember, each method has merits and can be chosen based on the specific client and circumstances.

The ultimate goal is to clear the way for better-fitting clients who appreciate your expertise and contribute positively to your business.

As you fire toxic clients, you can partner with MioCommerce to win more customers and grow your business.