March 8, 2013

Agencies: How to Know When It’s Time to Fire A Client

A few years ago, I was running my digital marketing agency and experiencing the challenges of client service. Most of the time, working with clients was fun and extremely rewarding. However, there always seemed to be one outlier that made me want to create a gmail filter to auto-delete all of their emails.  (FACT: I actually did this once).

Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your agency and for the client is to let them go. How do you know when things have gotten bad enough to take such an extreme measure? I’m going to make it simple for you. If you have a client that does any three of the ten things listed below, it’s time to channel your inner Trump, extend your index finger, and confidently say, “you’re fired!”


10 Bad Client Behaviors That Deserve Firing 

If your client does any 3 of these things, fire them today.

  1. They email and text you with the words “Call me” all the time instead of… (hold for a moment of brilliance)… just calling you.

  2. They email you all the time asking for updates when they know the reporting schedule. (We had a client set-up an email to auto-send to us weekly asking for an update! True story.)

  3. They send an angry email asking why you aren’t thinking about this or that strategy when you’ve actually brought it up three times previously but they never responded.

  4. They miss meetings and ignore email updates and then act frustrated that they aren’t in the loop.

  5. They ask you why you aren’t doing your SEO work every time they get a spam email from a blackhat SEO firm in India telling them their site isn’t optimized properly.

  6. BIG ONE: They disrespect one of your employees/colleagues. I have always had a zero tolerance policy for this type of thing because nobody deserves to be disrespected in a professional setting.

  7. They show up at your office unannounced and want to meet “right now” about their new website.

  8. They send you proposals from your competitors regularly asking for your opinion.

  9. They constantly complain about your pricing and try to negotiate it down.

  10. They slow pay.

Firing a client is never the ideal solution but I’ve never regretted the decision to do so. In my experience, the result is always improved morale and more time to focus on GREAT clients which is, by far, the majority.

- Justin Spring

Cofounder at Adept Marketing and

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One Response to “Agencies: How to Know When It’s Time to Fire A Client”

  1. NY PM says:

    How about every time you get an email or have a phone conversation from the client your jaw, neck and forehead is tense and you start having conversations with your self along the lines of “What does this guy really want?”.

    Or the client feels the needs to micromanage and as result you spend more time talking with them then working on the project for them.

    Beligenerantly swearing.

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