How and When Web Developers Should Terminate Relationship with Bad Clients?

Posted on January 19, 2013 by
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Many Web developers don’t want to stop working with clients, no matter how troublesome they are. What about the income? Will they say bad things about your company? Will they divulge your secrets to competitors? No matter how hard you justify your situation, bad clients will negatively affect your business operation and it could be necessary remove them from the equations. Mutual understanding and solid work cooperation is a must for any relationship to work. Your clients may not be aware of these important factors. Successful Web developers must follow proper work ethics, but there are certain types of clients that won’t respond favorably to your professionalism. You should seriously consider terminating relationships with them, especially if you believe that these clients won’t be easy payers. It can be particularly challenging for new web developers to terminate relationships, as they need to establish portfolio and build up reputation in the industry.

These are a few ideas when you consider terminating relationship with clients.

  1. Assess your relationship with clients: Create a list of your clients and consider what you think of them. Some clients might be natural whiners and complainers. Others are too demanding or only want to pay very little. Some of these negative characteristics may not be deal-breakers for you, so there are no hard and fast rules in this matter.
  2. Determine which clients that you consider as tolerable, as long as you can still work with some amount of professionalism and civility. Evaluate your objectives and goals; determine which clients that can help you to achieve them. Put simply, bad clients are those that prevent you from fulfilling them.

  3. Communicate with bad clients more intensively: There’s always a chance that you can salvage the situation and it may be imprudent to send a termination email too soon. Communicate with them as much as possible. Be honest and tell them how their unfavorable actions affect your business operations.
  4. Tell them why: Before deciding to terminate business relationship, you need to tell them the reason and you owe it to them. No matter how bad a client is, at some point, you found them to be helpful to your cause. Tell them clearly why it is no longer possible to continue working with them. Don’t be tempted to say bad words no matter how you despise them.
  5. Be confident: It is never easy to let people go, even if they are bad clients. It takes some amount of courage and inner strength to do that. Talk with other Web developers about your problem if you are having a hard time with some clients. They can be helpful due to their extensive amount of experience with various Web development projects. Ask more experienced professionals how to deal with frustration, guilt and blame. Listen to their advices before you decide to terminate a relationship. Occasionally, letting a client go is the best decision you will ever make. There are many web development forums where you can share your problems and opinions.
  6. For the last time, be really sure that your client isn’t worthy of a professional relationship: Before sending the official termination email, it’s necessary to consider these unfavorable characteristics:
  • Being too critical of your previous projects: Newer web developers who are just a couple of projects old in the industry often set much lower prices than more experienced designers. This could help them to get more clients, but some types of clients tend to look down on them. They may turn out to be clients that criticize virtually everything in your portfolio. They may insist that you are not up to the mark. If you regularly hear this sort of criticism from certain clients, you may need to do yourself a favor by turning down all work offers from them.
  • Asking too much: Sensible clients would have better ideas in their mind as to what they need from Web developers. On the other hand, professional Web developers only want to achieve everything with par excellence. However, Web developers should also be sensible enough to respond only to certain expectations from clients. Demanding clients could simply be confused with aspects of web development project, but others can be inconsiderate. It is a good idea to ditch inconsiderate clients and save yourself from unnecessary hassle.
  • Having poor reputation on the industry: Some clients are infamous for their poor reputation and they never happy with others’ works. They always tell everyone that previous Web designers were horrible. It may not do you any good to ask what they dislike about previous Web developer. See whether they regularly paint earlier Web developments in a bad light. This would be a good indication to avoid the client immediately as you can’t risk a tarnished reputation.
  • Unhealthy tendency to spot your weaknesses: If you’re lucky enough, some potential clients may ask you to send proposals filled with all necessary details related to the project. See if they have the bad habit of nit picking on your weaknesses. Watch for clients that unfairly pick way too many faults in your proposals while ignoring all the good things. Professional web developers need to open to changes and continuously find ways to make improvements. However, avoid bad clients that only pick out on things in your proposals for the sake of it.
  • Do thing too slowly: Some people habitually drag their feet and they may be far less responsive than others. Unrealistic delays are bound to get your whole schedule get disturbed. You may consider terminating a web development project if a client takes too much time replying to your proposal and feedback.
  • Poor communication skills: Clients and Web developers should have proper communication to leave no room for misunderstandings and get all questions answered quickly.  Pay closer attention to clients that don’t communicate well, but still demand exceptional results from you. Good clients should regularly provide proper guidance to Web developers to keep the project on track. Bad clients always think that it is Web developers’ job to figure everything out. This is a wrong approach in any kind of project as clients also need to perform proper communication with everyone involved.
  • Thinking that they know it all: Some clients try to look smart in front of everyone. They will act as if they know each and everything related to web design. Occasionally, they believe that they are more knowledgeable in web design than professional web designers themselves. They tend to undermine others’ talents and have a bad attitude. Obviously, no one wants to be treated like puppets, so seriously consider avoiding such clients. Don’t waste your efforts and time with them.
  • Disruptively indifferent: Some clients seem to be completely uninterested with the project and this could lead to plenty of problems afterwards. End results could be riddled with so many flaws, which take plenty of time to fix. Always avoid clients with this particular behavior.
  • Too hasty: Some clients are always in rush and they regularly push everyone to complete a task quickly. It is generally no use trying to make them understand about proper procedures of web development. Working with these clients may affect the quality of your works and eventually erode your reputation in the industry.
  • Regularly try to drive hard bargain: Cheapskate clients won’t get you anywhere. They consistently try to bargain on every aspect of the project in all opportunities. It doesn’t matter if you’ve convinced them that the fee you are offering barely compensates for the efforts needed to meet their requirements. They seem to have uncanny ability to spot a room for bargaining. Avoid these clients as they will never value your works’ worth.

Conclusion:
Dream clients are rare creatures in web development industry. Oftentimes, you need to work with clients that have a few unfavorable characteristics. There is always a chance to communicate with clients to settle your differences, but you should know when it isn’t worth it.

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