When you freelance for more than one client you work with people who have different personalities and styles. As a result, there are probably some you get along with more easily and others that try your patience.
Clients that are difficult with make working with them a chore instead of fun. Not only that, but they may be too demanding of your time, slow at paying, and sometimes downright rude.
While you may be able to resolve some negative situations as they occur, there are others that simply can’t be worked through. When that happens, it may be time to quit a freelance client gracefully.
Check Your Contract
Once you make the decision to quit a client it’s a good idea to review your contract before taking any action. Read over the details to ensure you hold up your end and do not breach the contract.
You should also determine how much money they still owe you or will owe you. After having all of this information you can begin severing the business relationship.
Choose a Termination Date
No matter the reason for cutting ties, you will have to figure out at what point you will no longer work for the client. Although two weeks is acceptable notice for many companies a month is probably better for a freelance client.
You will likely have projects that need to be finished or brought to a good stopping point. In addition, your client needs a little extra time so they can hire a replacement.
An additional reason for giving plenty of notice is that it allows you time to find another client. The quicker you do, the faster you can replace the income you lose from dropping a client.
Something you shouldn’t do is put off giving notice to your client. After all, the sooner you give them notice, the quicker you will be able to move on to your new client.
But sending an email or text is not the best way to let a client know you wish to terminate your working relationship. In fact, doing it over the phone isn’t ideal either. The proper and professional way would be to schedule a meeting with your client either in person or through video conferencing.
If you are meeting in person it can be advantageous to do it in a public place. This is an effective tactic if you feel the client could become angry or belligerent. Should that happen, remain calm and keep your emotions out of it.
When you meet, have your contract close by in case you need to refer to it. You should also have at least a rough idea of how much you are owed.
If your client asks why you want to stop working with them, be honest about the reasons. You don’t have to be cruel or give them a tongue-lashing. Instead, let them know what was and wasn’t working for you.
After you have spoken your piece you can walk away from the client with a clear conscious. Whether or not they change anything with their next client based on what you’ve said isn’t for you to worry about.
You could offer recommendations to the client if they are clueless about who to hire as a replacement for your services. This shows that you are a professional even if you are angry or disgruntled on the inside.
Certainly there will come a time you must end your business relationship with a client. But you can quit a freelance client gracefully and keep your professional reputation intact.
[Related: 4 Signs You Should Probably Quit Freelancing]