When to break up with a customer

Red square-shaped robot with a tear drop. Holds a broken heart in his hiands
Photo by burak kostak on Pexels.com

If you’re like most freelancers you probably have been told time and time again that the customer relationship is one of the most things to focus on.  This is true, but this relationship goes both ways as well.  Sometimes a difficult client can create a bad experience on your end as well no matter how much you may want to be positive and productive.  Looking for some tips on how to save yourself the potential frustration, lost time and cancelled orders?  Here are some warning behaviours to watch out for.

Signs you need to break up with your customer

These are some of the first signs that you can watch for either before an order comes into your queue or soon after.  These are signals that you may want to consider breaking up with your customer or at least use caution in dealing with them.

  • They’re trying to get your services for less: If someone is constantly haggling with you or asking for free premium features or something similar, it means that money is the most important thing. They don’t particularly care about your credentials or your experience.  They just want the work done well, fast, and as cheaply as possible. Be careful how far you let them drive your prices and don’t be afraid to draw a line in the sand.
  • They’re using a lot of negative speech: This can take on many forms.  Maybe it’s swearing, maybe it’s insults hidden behind “lol” and other so-called disclaimers that they think will keep you from getting angry.  You don’t need to put up that kind of language, especially if it makes you uncomfortable.  You’re both supposed to be professionals after all!
  • They take forever to get back to you: If you’re having a hard time getting a reply back from them about questions or clarifications, just remember that this could very well be the same attitude used with paying invoices or clarifying order details after you’ve got an order started.  This can cause delays and late deliveries which they will, more than likely, find a way to blame you for.  
  • Something doesn’t feel right: A gut instinct its worth its weight gold. If you’re in the process of negotiating or even just discussing a few general details and something just doesn’t vibe right between you, you don’t need to go any further.  You can simply explain that you won’t be able to help them out and send them on your way.  Usually, your gut is right, so if you do choose to ignore it, be careful!

How to tell the difference between bad customers and destructive customers

It’s worth noting that there is a difference between customers that are just a pain to deal with (such as those that show the above characteristics) and those that are downright dangerous to your mental health and your business.  Someone who shows any of these features in your relationship doesn’t necessarily guarantee they’ll drag you through the mud and create problems.  You can continue to work with them if you enjoy their orders.  You just need to take a look at their behaviour and ask yourself: “Is this someone I really want to work with?”

Are you seeing any of these red flags in your current customers?  Are there any others that you’d like to add to this list?  Feel free to post them below.  Sharing is caring, fellow writers!

Business content writing

Kelterss View All →

Kelterss is an experienced freelance content writer and a published author based in New Brunswick, Canada. She writes website content, blog posts, and product descriptions for customers worldwide. Kelterss specializes in writing about mental health, fitness, and dog behaviour. Freelancing since 2014, Kelterss has earned over 3,200 reviews and has a 4.9/5-star rating.

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