Let’s admit it. At some point in our interior design career, most of us face the situation where we have an overpowering desire to quit project we are working on. This could be for various reasons, but we have our own interior design business, we do actually have the luxury to fire a client we don’t want to work with.
So let’s talk today a little bit about the process of firing a client, when and how to do it right.
How to prevent it:
Always keep your eyes and ears open during your first client meeting. Trust your gut! At this stage you need to understand whether you match with this particular person, it is more or less the same as going on the first date. Some red flags to pay attention to:
- For some reason (sometimes even inexplicable), the person seems unpleasant to you.
- Your design aesthetics and tastes are too different.
- Client’s expectations about time frames or budget for a project are unrealistic.
- The client says fired 1 or more designers before you.
- The client doesn’t agree with your fees and constantly asking for discounts
When you choose your client and project wisely most likely you won’t need the recommendations below on how to fire him. Most of the time all we need to do is to listen to our intuition. However, if that already happened below are the signs when usually it is time to quit the project.
When it is time to say goodbye to a client:
- Inappropriate behavior – he or she is being generally rude with you, arrogant and not respectful.
- The client is not happy about any ideas that you propose.
- The client tends to micromanage you – usually, this is the type that will knock your confidence and this thing can just destroy your business from within. Ideally, every newly completed project should boost your self-confidence as professional and make you feel more empowered.
- The client is constantly breaking terms stated in your contract (number of revisions, time frames, etc). This also includes clients that fail to pay you on time and you have to run after them to get your own money.
- Work on the project doesn’t bring you joy or satisfaction anymore. You feel emotionally drained or frustrated.
- You tried to repair relationship but it doesn’t really work
How to fire a client:
In a professional, polite and short way – put it in writing. Make sure that your design agreement allows you to have a way “out”. In that case just say that you feel that you can’t provide them with the best value right now, because of “………..” (state the reason – e.g. my contract includes only 3 revisions and you can’t work on a project if constant changes are made, you can’t provide solutions that they are happy about, etc). Recommend someone else. Make sure you don’t slag your client in the social media – it is not professional and your clients might find out.
Learn from your mistakes and move on!
Have you ever fired a client? How did it go? Please share your experience in the comments below.
I hope this was useful and if you haven’t read my Marketing for Interior Designers eBook, check it out – it is full of practical and effective tools to grow your interior design business: