Firing different types of clients

Via Christopher Hawkins, I found this post on firing 11 different kinds of clients. I especially liked his advice about the "Slow Pay" client who doesn’t pay on time.

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t tolerate clients who miss payment deadlines. I have a pretty strict process that I follow when a client doesn’t pay. I really think far too many consultants are generous with payment terms. It doesn’t make sense. When you go to McDonald’s, can you walk away with a $3.99 combo without paying? No. And the kind of stuff they serve up at McDonald’s require very little materials input or time. So what’s with all the consultants who shrug off clients who are slow to pay on projects that involve tens or hundreds of hours and even thousands of dollars in consulting fees?

Don’t tolerage late-paying clients. Sure, you might get the odd client who’s gone into labour unexpectedly, had a death in the family or otherwise suffered a trauma. You can use your discretion then. But don’t, as a general rule, put up with late-paying clients. Don’t be a chump.

3 thoughts on “Firing different types of clients”

  1. If you don’t accept late-paying clients, you won’t do any government work. The Federal govt will not pay in advance and usually take 45-60 days to pay. You will get paid, but it is always late.

  2. In my contracts with government or big business, there’s always a clause about payment. Net 90 isn’t late if you agree in advance. And, if you’ve got a deposit, it softens the blow.

    That’s different from dealing with a regular-sized company that is simply putting the squeeze on suppliers.

  3. Andréa,

    First off, thanks for reading my blog. Second, thanks for mentioning it! I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from “11 Clients You Should Fire Right Now” and it’s great to see other consultants like you getting benefit from it, even three years later.

    You are indeed correct that slow-paying clients are a big, big problem for any consultancy. If cash is king, then cash *flow* is the kingdom. Any client that habitually disrupts the agreed-upon cash flow has gone from being an asset to being a liability. Good for you for being willing to take a stand.

    Good luck with your blog and your consulting career!

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