Toxic Clients You Need to Watch Out For (Part I)

For small businesses, it can feel like you should take in any client you can, no matter how stingy, unorganized, or even abusive they may be. Many businesses out there do not recognize the value of hired workers. They will use your vulnerability to squeeze out high-quality work for as little as possible from you.

Don’t let them take advantage of you. Sometimes clients are no good and simply need to be fired.

Luckily, they all follow a similar pattern, and when you know the warning signs, you can sense them from a mile away. At the end of this post, there’s also an opportunity to learn more and really master this practice for your business. So let’s jump right in with 5 toxic clients you need to watch out for.

The Unrealistic Client

This is the type of client who doesn’t respect your time, work, or fees. They set unrealistic standards and high demands while questioning your ability to do the work they hired you to do. Sometimes they may refuse to pay you for the services they don’t value, despite having the need to hire you in the first place.

Don’t let them take advantage of you. Sometimes clients are no good and simply need to be fired.

How to Fix This

Make sure your terms and conditions are crystal clear and that you follow through on them. Do not take any extra jobs or responsibilities that were not laid out in the contract, and make sure they know what is a reasonable time frame for getting assignments done.

The Invisible Client

This client is so bad at communicating that sometimes you question whether or not they even exist. They often withhold information you need to move forward and might blame you for being unable to finish assignments on time. Wasting everybody’s time.

How to Fix This

Ask the client how they prefer to communicate during the onboarding process. Sometimes clients respond better to phone calls or text than they might to email. Having multiple points of communication allows you more ways to reach the client and faster ways to share information.

Also, make deadlines clear and make sure they understand what will happen if deadlines are not met. These types of clients usually need to see the results of this kind of behavior to fully grasp the importance of timely communication.

You can also present a list of solutions to problems you bring up. For example, instead of asking “how would you like me to do x?” Ask instead “Would you like me to do x this way, or that way?”

Sometimes clients respond better to phone calls or text than they might to email. Having multiple points of communication allows you more ways to reach the client and faster ways to share information.

Conclusion

Of course, there are more, the unreasonable client, the indecisive one. Some who care only about how much they pay you and not the quality of your work, etc. There are too many to list here, but there is an opportunity for you to learn more!

I will be presenting a workshop on this topic on January 16 at the NOVA Society Woman’s CPA, Identifying Toxic Clients and Knowing When to Fire Them. You need to fire bad clients to function properly as a business. Register and learn this crucial skill that can save your business valuable time and money.