On “firing” clients…

Here is a reply I posted over at RainToday.com on an article by Michael W. McLaughlin titled “Should You Really Take On That Client?”

In my 30+ years as a consulting engineer, I’ve had to “fire” a couple of clients. Like you, I apply the “life is too short” rule to put up with deadbeats or bullies.

The first firing was actually a long term client who kept delaying payments. Although I enjoyed working with them, it was frustrating getting paid, so I eventually dropped them. Not long after, they went bankrupt, stiffing many vendors for thousands of dollars. Fortunately, I was not among those who suffered a loss.

The second firing was a short term client who apparently had anger issues. A VP of engineering, he bullied his employees. When he yelled at me over the phone because he did not like my approach to his problem, I simply suggested he find another consultant. Ironically, the proposed solution would have worked – I had solved that problem before.

However, most of my clients have been great to work with, and a few have even turned into long-term friends.  It is tough to turn down business, but sometimes it is the best course of action.

The bottom line – not every client is the right client. Mr. McLaughlin’s article covers seven things to consider before taking on a project.

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