how to fire someone nicely

How To Fire Someone Nicely Without Worry or Feeling Bad

When you’re working with clients and employees, it’s important to be able to learn how to fire someone nicely or not so gently when necessary. But how do we know when is the right time and how to fire someone nicely to make it less stressful?

Firing a client or an employee is never an easy decision, but it needs to be done sometimes. There are many ways that can make this process less stressful for everyone involved including the rest of your team.

Being clear about expectations from day one will help keep things running smoothly if you’re working on projects together. Communicating why something isn’t worth completing anymore may allow another team member in the organization to take over without fuss or bother when necessary.

Sometimes an issue at work can make your blood boil and other times a client or employee may surprise us with their creativity that takes over our project!

Have any of these situations happened recently where firing someone was necessary but wasn’t exactly joyous because they were such difficult people?

Why You Need To Learn How To Fire A Client

They say to never burn your bridges. You never know when you may need or want something in return from a former client.

Needless to say, you may even work together again in some capacity. (Been there, done that!)

Some clients you really like as people. They ask about you with compassion and true care vs. small talk. Those are the ones you should really be working on within your business. This is especially true if you provide a service.

Your working relationship with them can make a huge difference to your bottom line as well as your sanity.

You really need to pick people you work with from the crowd today. Don’t say yes to everyone until you vet them out. Really understand what is it that they want from your products or services.

Then, you can price that product or service accordingly. Always remember, your time is your most valuable asset!

Always remember, your time is your most valuable asset! #businesstips Share on X

7 Signs To Ditch A Patron and How To Fire Someone Nicely

1. You don’t like working with them.

When you dread taking calls from problem customers, it’s time for a change. If they call and get no response on the other end of their phone line then there must be something wrong in your client relationship.

If not why would I want to talk or meet up anymore?
“I’m sorry but we need some different strategies when working together.”

dreaded call
It’s time to end the biz relationship when you dread the calls.

2. They can’t pay you enough!

There is no money in the world you could ask to make you want to continue the relationship. The extra time you are spending with this client or thinking about this client could be made up elsewhere.

Not only that, but you would feel better and get more done in less time. 

3. They don’t listen to your recommendations.

You keep on recommending things to the client but they don’t listen. You wonder how to answer the questions. Or questions you on every item on the to-do list. 

Then, you begin to wonder, why am I here? Why did they hire me? That’s when it’s time to learn how to fire a disrespectful client or employee. 

Everyone wants to feel appreciated and that includes you! 

how to fire a client
Learn how to fire someone nicely by listening to them.

4. They are micromanaging you.

Your customer keeps on telling you exactly what they want and they make you change it every time. They may even want to see your processes or paperwork along the way.

It’s almost like they are doing the work! Why should you spend the time to do the work if they are doing it?

Hence, you could acquire a new better client with that time. Furthermore, you could charge more for the newer client.

You’d be happier and make more money at the same time once you learn how to fire a customer. If you have a team, the rest of your team will be happier too. 

5. Lost time with other patrons.

You are taking time away from other great buyers to help this person that doesn’t really want to be helped. This can lead to losing track of your goals.

Always remember to keep your business goals nearby for a quick check! Are you spending enough time with each account? Which ones are losing out on your time? Are you wrongfully spending too much time on them? 

6. The account stresses you out.

You just don’t work as well under stress. Some people love to stress others out to deflect their own stress and negativity. You could also learn how to deal with the negativity before ditching the client.

But if that doesn’t work it’s time to move on! You will produce better work when you feel your best. 

7. You begin to lose your own value.

This customer may make you feel inferior you lose your confidence. This is one of the worst things that can happen to a business owner or freelancer. It can violate your own values.

Once your confidence is gone, it takes time to build it back. Confidence doesn’t develop overnight. You’ll gain more once you learn how to end the relationship with that account. 

8. You are not doing what you are great at.

I’ve had a few accounts over the years that asked to me take on tasks that were really not what I wanted to do. It was not the best use of my time or effort.

I’d have to stop what I loved doing for other clients and work on their special projects. If you find you are doing that, it’s time to say NO. It may be time to set up a termination meeting.

Of course, that is harder to do than giving advice, as I’ve learned over the years. However, it’s a necessity to prosper and grow your business and company property.  

7 Signs It's Time to Let Go of a Customer #businesstips Share on X

What Happens After You Let Go Of A Bad Account?

Good things begin to happen 🙂 My hairdresser had a great story to share with me about this.

Her client was a very old lady whose daughter would bring her into the salon. She would demand her mom would need to be helped to go to the bathroom every 30 minutes. The wash, cut, and dry would take an extra 30-60 minutes every visit.

Not only that, but the daughter would call and cancel 30 minutes prior to a set appointment. This caused an hour and a half of time lost. Remember, time is money!

But it came to the point where the hairdresser dreaded the day when this customer had an appointment. She learned the elderly woman had a salon right at the nursing home.

With that knowledge, she told the daughter she could no longer handle this elderly woman’s needs at her salon. (She did not want to leave the elderly woman high and dry with her hair!)

Next, she had to learn how to fire an account. She wanted it done in good faith and fair dealing, of course. 

a happy biz owner
You can’t put a price tag on a happy biz relationship.

The Wise Way How To Fire Someone Nicely

My hairdresser finally did fire this client in a nice way. She made sure the elderly woman had services available to her before giving her the boot! Sometimes it is just not worth the paycheck.

If you are thinking of ditching one of your customers, make sure they have another avenue to use for your products or services. 

They will appreciate your care and concern for their business. After all, that’s why you took them on, to help them out!

The Results 

Smart, right? Now the hairdresser loves every day that she enters her salon. And guess what? 2 older clients moved back to town and she more than made up the money and time!

I hear stories like this all the time about how businesses grow after letting go of a bad client.

Firing a client nicely will give your business time to attract good things to happen in your business. Check out more tips on Sick and Tired of Dealing with Bad Clients from Small Biz Trends.

Harassment From Accounts You Manage

Sometimes there are exceptions. Likewise, if difficult accounts are really harassing you, then you have to let go not so politely. Those types of people that call you 24-7 and are demanding every hour of the day can border harassment.

It’s best to fire them immediately and not look back. You deserve better. Terminating the relationship will be the best thing to happen for you.  

How To Fire Someone Nicely That Works For You

Learning how to fire someone nicely in a considerate manner, can be done if you put yourself in their shoes. Be direct and clear about the reasons for the decision face to face not via a text message.

Provide specific examples of performance issues and communicate how the decision was reached.

Then, offer them support in the form of a severance package or assistance finding a new job. Show empathy and gratitude for their contributions while emphasizing the finality of the decision.

Finally, maintain professionalism throughout the process and keep the conversation confidential.

The Benefit of Firing An Employee

Just like firing a client, letting go of an employee can benefit your business by freeing up resources and allowing you to reallocate responsibilities. It can also improve the overall morale and productivity for the rest of the members of your team. 

Terminating an employee who is not meeting expectations or is causing disruption can create a more positive work environment for the remaining staff.

Additionally, it can demonstrate to the team that management is committed to maintaining high performance standards. This can motivate employees to focus on their own work and contribute to the success of the biz.

FAQs: How To Fire Someone Nicely Even A Client  

Can You Fire A Customer?

Yes, you can fire a customer from your business.

Can You Do It Politely?

Yes, you can be polite when you let a client go. There is no need to be mean about ending a business relationship.

Is Email Okay?

You can do it by email but be precise and to the point. And of course, be polite in your email message.

How To Know It’s Time To Fire A Difficult Customer?

When a client becomes a lot of “work” and they don’t appreciate your time, it’s time to let go. Of course, give them a little time before making the decision. But once you do, go with it!

How To Fire A Hair Client?

Many hairdressers have learned to fire clients to stay in business. Oftentimes, they may get angry customers and have to deal with them. They must remain calm and firm when they let a client go and do so politely.
attract good things
Learn to attract good things in your small biz.

Your Turn: How To Fire Someone Nicely From Your Small Biz 

Have you had to learn how to let an account go in your business? Had you seen the red flags from the beginning? Or have you had learn how to fire someone nicely from your small biz?

I’d love to know more in the comments below about how the dismissal of a client went for you.

6 thoughts on “How To Fire Someone Nicely Without Worry or Feeling Bad”

  1. Hmm….trying to tell us something, Lisa? This article is spot on. I remember when I was doing web design and blog management. I had some really great folks I worked with and am friends today with them. However, there were ones that I wanted to ax within the moment I started working with them. Eventually, I was able to cut ties with them but the anguish I went through was totally not worth my time. Glad to read this as I know there are many out there struggling with how to let go of a client in a professional and friendly manner.

    1. Yes, Bren and to help others along the way 🙂 It is not an easy thing to do for me and some people. Others, of course, have no problem letting go quickly. It can be tricky if you need the money as well when just starting out with your business. But in time you realize you can make more or generate new business without the headaches of clients that take all of your time and energy. Thanks for coming by and have a great rest of the day!

  2. This is a tremendous post Lisa. Bloggers literally abuse themselves by refusing to release clients who appear to abuse them. We can let go clients at any time. Fabulous tips.


    1. Thanks Ryan. I’ve been through this a few times and it’s always been a relief, a time saver, and a money maker to let go of those that ruin our time and our skills. It was hard to do the first time but not the 2nd or 3rd time 🙂 Have a great day!

  3. Hey Lisa,
    Yep, I’ve had to do it. It isn’t fun, but it was a relief to end those relationships. Nothing is worth feeling drained or controlled over. Inner peace is priceless. I know this article will help others struggling with the same decision.
    Shared 🙂

    1. Hi Dana, I know, right? I’ve been up all night thinking about a client that I want to fire. I’ve composed the email for days and then after it’s done, it is such a relief! You are right that inner peace is priceless!! Thanks for your input Dana and have a great day.

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