Fire your customers or don’t fire your customers?

Fire your customers! Yup, you heard me…Sometimes, you’ve got to fire your customers. The customer isn’t always right, notes Seth Godin’s post on firing customers. When a client becomes an annoyance, a money pit or a time sucker, it may be time to fire them. Yup, it sounds odd, but some times the best thing you can do for you — and your client — is to encourage them to go to your competitors. A client who costs you time, money and energy is not a good investment.

However, before you cancel the annual holiday card and hand out your top competitor’s business card, take some time to consider your relationship with the "bad" client. Is there anything you can do to make it right? Sometimes, you just need to spell things out. For example, I had a client who was always asking me for "free" advice. I became very annoyed and felt that the client was robbing me of my time and knowledge. So I set up future contracts so that "advice and consulting outside the project scope is available at $X per hour". And you know what? It turned out that this is what the client needed. Now that client happily hands over money for additional time and support — and I provide much better quality answers. So, sometimes, you just need to take a breather and see if there’s a way to make things right. It may mean a happy client and a happy consultant!

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4 thoughts on “Fire your customers or don’t fire your customers?”

  1. This is a great post Andrea. Many new consultants don’t realize that you can fire a client (or let them go gracefully). The result is that your time is freed up to work with more rewarding clients.

  2. Thanks, Barbra. Realizing you have the right to say “no” is empowering, no matter what you do for a living.

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