When it’s OK to Dump a Client

1 comment, 13/01/2017, by , in Online Business

Some clients are more trouble than they are worth. Sad, but true. The great thing about being a freelancer is that you are not obliged to work with anyone who irritates you or wants something for nothing. The problem is that when you are just starting out, it is tempting to take on work for anyone who comes along, just so you have an income.

Of course, this is perfectly understandable, but sometimes a job will turn into a complete nightmare and every time the phone rings or your email pings, you feel physically sick. In these situations, it really is OK to end the relationship. Here are a few reasons why it’s OK to turn down a job, or end the relationship early.

Attention to Detail

You can tell a picky client a mile away. They are the ones who give you a 20-page document on what they expect from a freelancer, plus a set of conditions so stringent nobody on earth could ever hope to reach the required standard.

People like this are not worth the aggravation. If a client is vague about the details, or starts making unreasonable demands such as endless revisions within the original quote, put your foot down and say “no”.

Won’t Pay the Going Rate

You have a rate, so stick to it. Value yourself and your work and never let a potential client beat you down on price. If they are not willing to pay your going rate, it’s OK to suggest they go and find someone else to work on their project.

No Down Payment

With regular clients, it is OK to invoice at the end of a project, or submit stage payment invoices, as you know you will get paid. With a new client, it is always better to ask for a deposit or the full amount up front. Any client who refuses to make a down payment for work is someone to avoid. They might be legit, but what is more likely to happen is that they take the work and ghost you. Do you really want to put in all that work with nothing to show for it?

Scope Creep

Before starting any job, agree on the terms of employment. Draw up a contract outlining terms, and then get the client to sign a copy of the contract to show they are happy with the contract. No contract, no job.

Some clients think it’s OK to ask for revisions, new add-ons, and extra work, for the same price as the original agreement. This is not OK. If the client doesn’t want to pay extra, give them the option to cancel the project, but remind them they have to pay for all work completed to date.


Once you fall into the trap of offering work for free, your client will expect it forever more. Ditch any client who expects work for free. Remember, you are running a business, not a charity.

If you value your skills, other people will, too, so don’t be willing to compromise your values for the sake of a client.

One comment

  1. January 16th, 2017 17:14

    I totally agree with the point about paying the going rate. Some clients want the world for peanuts. The don’t realise that quality work which produces results takes time and effort to produce.

    Moreover, how serious are they about their business. I have dropped clients who think that just rankings alone will produce sales, but don’t want to pick up calls that are generated or track their sales team’s phone calls or want to optimize their sites for conversions.


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