In the business world we often say, “the customer is always right,” but is that really the case?

Not every client can be your favourite, so what should you do when you or your team ask, “Is this project even worth continuing?” Severing unprofitable or exhausting relationships can, after the fallout, boost your company’s revenues.  Of course, you don’t want to let a profitable client go if losing that revenue will sink you. You also don’t necessarily fire clients just because they are demanding or unlikable. This decision demands objectivity.

Just talking about firing a client can spark fierce debate. Some people argue that it diminishes your integrity as a business, and makes you appear selfish or greedy. However, firing a client isn’t necessarily bad. In some cases, it’s good for business. Turning down paid projects for valid reasons means having the integrity to say no to things you don’t want to do.

Let’s count down the reasons why “the break-up” with a client is inevitable:

6. The Price is Not Right 

I don’t mean the original contract terms that you and your client agreed upon. I mean the “out of scope” work – the “price is not right” work. Let’s not forget we’re in business to make a profit – we can’t always work for free. All those “extra tasks” add up. Your time, resources, and favours all run out when you work out of scope.

5. They Demand Too Much

So you’ve set a deadline and agreed upon terms – yet it seems your client emails, messages, Skypes, and calls every minute to ask what you’ve done, what you’re working on, and to explain something you’ve explained already.  You’ve probably experienced this before. Clients who demand too much not only drain your resources: they’re exhausting!

4. They are Disrespectful or Insulting 

We don’t need to elaborate here – the bottom line is if your client reams you with foul language, questions your ethics, your family, your race, or any of your core values – you don’t need to work with them! You wouldn’t accept this behaviour from a boss or a co-worker, so don’t accept it from a client either. Let them go. Don’t forget your manners. There’s no reason to fight back – just cut the deal.

3. They Don’t Pay on Time

You know this type of client. Every month they say, “I’ve changed my credit card number,” or “I need a few extra days.” Let’s face it – for the sake of making a living, you’re willing to put up with a lot, but the one thing you can’t afford to put up with is late or no payments. You get it – life happens – clients have glitches too, but if it’s every time or every other time, it’s time to move on!

2. They Send Less Work

A common and often understandable occurrence is when clients stop sending you as much work as they used to. However, as a business owner, you need to think about what’s best for your business. If a client sends less work, you may want to think about alternative sources.  Clients also get “tired” of meeting their commitments – if your agreement requires them to input their work every month and they don’t deliver, it places you in a stalemate.

1. They Violate the Terms of the Contract 

If a client can’t be trusted to stick to their word, it’s likely that just down the road you’ll run into problems. It depends on what term is being violated, but if you’re already being wronged it may be time to cut the client lose. If you can’t let them go, that’s fine. However, now’s a good time to revise the terms of your contracts and add a clause to prevent something similar from happening in the future.

If the relationship with a client or customer shows any of these warning signs, it might be time to think about breaking up. The overall atmosphere in your business is most important. As a customer relationship manager, I know you can’t afford to have a client dragging you down every day.

Have you ever broken up with a client? What was the reason?