Getting Rid of a Bad Client, Finally
Last month, I finally put my foot down and ended my contract with an Australia-based Pakistani client whose sites I had been writing content for since February this year.
He had all the signs of a potential bad client–except I refused to read them:
1. He always paid late. Late payments are a big issue for me, especially as I am not the sort who feels comfortable sending billing statements and reminders to clients to process payments me. Being late once or twice is forgivable, but being late every month, or worse, putting payments off the next month just because the accountant comes over only once a month is unforgivable. We have bills to pay and families to feed! Any freelance worker who turns in quality work on the expected date should never have to go through the embarrassment of having to follow up with a client. It’s money that’s yours. Why should you beg for it?
2. He always asked for more than what was agreed on. I’m usually generous to first-time clients and throw in a free service, but it’s too much when a client asks you to do an interview when all you have initially agreed on is simply rewriting. I remember when this client asked me to do a Q&A that I quoted him a special price because it would involve some research. His reaction? “That is not going to happen.”
3. He does not give clear instructions, yet expects you to get things right the first time. This is my favorite part. For months, this client and I have been on a guessing game, with me always trying to second-guess what it is he wants. As a rule, I always send out follow-up questions to clarify his instructions, but he doesn’t reply or replies late, if at all. Four out of six times, I got his instructions right.
4. He doesn’t trust the people he works with.This applies especially for home-based full-time work. It takes a huge amount of trust to believe that your employees who are in a different country and are two hours ahead of your time are working at the hours they should be.
For some time I thought this over, playing around with the figures in the mind. The last thing I wanted to do was to upset my budget. Of course, that was some money that could go to my savings account, but I realized that I would rather sacrifice money than to be stressed by a bad client.
Highly recommended reading: Joel Falconer’s post, “How to Spot a Dud Client and Get Out While You Can”