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Value Added Ep.13 – When to Fire Your Client


12 Aug 2020


Agencies and consultants typically spend significant time and resources trying to acquire new clients.

But what about when the time comes to let one go?

It’s hard to turn away a customer that pays their bills, but the reality is, some clients are just more trouble than they’re worth.

Whether it’s the added stress they put you under or the time you could free up by taking them off your books, firing a client is sometimes the best option for you and your business.

In this week’s episode of Value Added, Jonathan and Jarod discuss when the time is right to say goodbye to a nightmare client.


  • Toxic clients are not worth your time. If you regularly have someone calling up and screaming at you, you’re better off without them — no matter what the short-term financial hit.
  • Clients who won’t help you to help them — either by neglecting to make or approve suggested changes or being persistently unresponsive — are likely to churn no matter what. Without implementing the changes you request, they won’t see results and will probably cancel. Sometimes it’s best to save you both the trouble and terminate your business relationship.
  • It’s almost inevitable that you’ll make the mistake of taking someone on who simply doesn’t have the budget to achieve the results they’re looking for. Don’t let the relationship drag on until the client cancels. Take control of the situation by explaining why their budget is insufficient and that you don’t want to keep charging them for results you can’t attain.
  • Jekyll and Hyde clients are common and usually not worth your time. These are clients who talk a big game about being committed to working with you to achieve their goals, and then renege on their promises after you sign the deal.

“What I’ve learned over time is that the clients that we have had to let go are ones that we should have filtered out during the sales process.

And so I always try to reflect when that moment does happen so that we can do better in the future and have less of those moments.” Jonathan Kiekbusch

  • A client or their representative who mistreats members of your team can have a hugely detrimental effect on morale. Either set them straight or let them go.
  • As you grow, the smaller clients you took on when you were first starting out may no longer be viable. Loyalty is important, but make sure you’re not losing money by continuing to offer services to clients at an unreasonably low rate.
  • Before you let a client go for not paying enough to be profitable, give them the opportunity to spend more money. People are often scared to ask their clients to pay more for their services, but you’ll never know if you don’t ask. If you’re going to fire them anyway, what do you have to lose?
  • If you do decide to part ways with a client, it’s good business to help them find a solution that works for them within their budget.
  • Beware of customers who waste your time insisting on constant communication over phone or email. It’s incredible how quickly all those calls and emails can eat up your valuable time.
  • When the time comes to fire a client, don’t be scared to pull the trigger. Emails are easily misinterpreted, so this kind of bad news is usually best delivered on a call. Be upfront and honest about why the business relationship isn’t working for you anymore, and nine times out of 10, the termination will go smoothly.

Subscribe to the Value Added Podcast — featuring SEOButler founder Jonathan Kiekbusch and Blue Dog Media head honcho Jarod Spiewak — to be notified about future Live Streams and Podcasts.


Shubhakeerthi Rao

This really helped me to understand my clients better and will influence my decisions in future.

Going to read this many times.

Thank You !

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