It’s time to say goodbye to bad clients

  • 3 September 2021
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We have all had bad clients.


But something that gets debated a lot is what you should do about them. Should you ever fire a bad client? And if so, what’s the tipping point when you decide enough is enough?  


Of course, this problem can be avoided completely if you can identify a potential bad client and  say no to them from the very beginning. You need to set your own rules and know when a prospect may not be a good fit for your firm due to things like:

  • A lack of skills on your team to provide the help they need

  • A lack of time and resource

  • The prospect shows too many problems

  • The prospect shows signs of communicating poorly, slowly, or not treating your staff appropriately


And then sometimes you realize that a client isn’t a great match for your firm, after they are a client. So, how do you transition out a bad client? Here are five possible ways to do that:

  1. Focus your team so they only focus on clients in a specific niche

  2. Refer them to another accounting practice

  3. Re-shape them into an ideal client

  4. Raise your fees to make them worth your while

  5. Send a “Dear John” letter and simply offer to transition their files and information to a new firm they select

I’ll be honest, it’s uncomfortable to let go of a bad client, but in the end it will be best for both your business and the client. Just remember that during this process, you still need to uphold your professionalism and be polite - even when a client provides unexpected comments.


What are your thoughts? 


I’d love to hear your horror stories and success stories! What experience have you had with this process and what did you find to be the most successful strategy to let go of a bad client? Or, do you firmly believe that there is no such thing as a bad client?

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