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Should I dump this client?

(9 Posts)
MrsMargoLeadbetter Sun 21-Jun-15 09:06:04

Hi all

I'd appreciate some external input. A few details have been changed/omitted as you never know who is reading...

I am a marketing freelancer. I am working with Company A again. When I first worked with them I didn't feel the 'click' with the people, but it was a fairly short project which they were happy with my written output. It was early on in my freelancing and I let them push me on price, however, when they tried to get me to do some further stuff for free 'It could lead to more work' I pushed back and left them to it. I'd already had a number of free pre-work meetings, so I felt I'd give enough.

I have since been commissioned to work on a 2nd larger project. I have delivered some of this 2nd project (which has gone ok) and I about to start a report on the future.

I find my key contact very changeable and unclear. They don't acknowledge the change though, they just start talking like that was always the plan/direction which I find very difficult to deal with as it makes me question myself. They are also very time-poor which I know is the case with most people that use freelancers, but often they cannot see me for weeks whilst wanting things delivered asap....

I also felt they were a bit passive aggressive in a recent meeting (B). I felt (although it could be me being too sensitive) that some comments about being unhappy with how a previous meeting (A) went was actually how my key contact felt not the other staff who they said were making the comments.

I found the (B) meeting difficult, it felt there was a lots of dissatisfaction and digs. Also normally as the consultant I tend the lead the meetings but they did which I found dis-orientating too.

In addition there is a consistent issue about price and how long things take which is draining.

As an organisation there is a lot of unhappiness and people being 'let go'. I feel some of the comments about how the previous meeting (A) went can be linked to these issues and I am being scapegoated.

I had wanted to walk away before this next stage started but DH encouraged me to continue. It is day rate stuff and this 2nd stage will be a few days which would be helpful, but I could survive without them.

They are a good eg of my niche, so it would be a good case study if it goes well, but who knows.

However, I really just want to give my excuses now before I start on this 2nd stage. It is unprofessional, but my instinct is they will continue to make me feel unhappy and frustrated and I want to get out/away from them.

I have worked with a number of organisations as a freelancer and have never felt like this. I don't expect sunshine & roses, but this feels like the wrong thing on lots of levels...

If I decide to withdraw, should I be honest 'The fit isn't working', or just be vague. I am active on social media so I don't want to infer I am not working/ill etc. I also feel that their task is so large they'd be better off employing somebody internally to deal with the project, which I could say to them.

Thanks for reading if you got this far. What do you think? WWYD?

eddielizzard Sun 21-Jun-15 09:14:52

if you don't need the work, i personally wouldn't do it. sounds like you have other things on the go too.

you could say 'the project is so large you'd be better off getting someone internally to work on it. i don't think i'm the right fit for you.'

then you're being honest. and don't discuss it either. don't get drawn into a so-and-so said this, trying to back up your reasons. just leave it there.

if you can manage without this work it sounds to me like it'll just be a drain on you that you can do without.

DoreenLethal Sun 21-Jun-15 09:18:08

I never work with clients I am not happy with. If they were feeling underwhelmed with my work I'd say 'I think that this isn't working out for either of us so I'll wish you good luck with the future of the project'. I want my clients to think I am the bees knees and if that isn't the case, then I would not be happy continuing.

Either that or up the price due to increasing costs and then they can let you down gently. wink

griselda101 Sun 21-Jun-15 10:48:20

get out while you can!!

Only this last week I took on a project for a client who was a nightmare last year, against my better instinct. It has all ended in tears and they have been complete **holes!! I wish I had gone with my instinct and avoided.

They were fickle and vague with the brief and expecting me to work all hours and do unlimited changes. They changed the goalposts after the work had been done. I told them that unless they agreed to certain terms (more ££) I would have to walk away. They were up for the more ££ if I was to work in-house however I was not up for this and said they needed to find someone else. Even to the last point they were wheedling and trying to manipulate against paying what they owed by witholding part of an invoice. I finally got it out of them but not without some nasty tactics on their part!! Two other professionals I know have fallen out with them so I know it's not just me.

So I would say always trust your instincts. There are many other decent clients out there.

I went to a seminar on finding great clients. We were asked to list all our clients, and their best qualities. Then our worst one and their qualities. Then we made a pact to ourselves never to compromise on these things when looking for clients. You owe it to yourself. Google "clients from hell" (there's a great website) as well as "finding great clients".

There's no shame in walking away. I would just say politely why you are not keen on continuing and that you think at this point you would be best off not continuing with the project. Be honest but polite and they will understand.

DoreenLethal Sun 21-Jun-15 11:18:02

I always do a proposal quote and in the proposal I set out what I am doing and what they are doing and any timelines plus a cancellation fee if they cancel on me. It's part and parcel of working these days. Otherwise they do take the piss.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Sun 21-Jun-15 13:19:19

Thanks all for your helpful and full replies. I am going to withdraw.

Thanks again, it was good to hear from others away from the situation.

semi Tue 23-Jun-15 15:39:41

Hi MrsMargoLeadbetter - All situations are different. I know what it's like to have clients that want more and more and more and want to pay for less and less and less. Maybe by making clear the value you provide to them as an org - ie what it is that you are delivering to them and how they counts/costs to the/their overall business picture -e.g. I am producing this copy for your website which will be viewed and shared by hundreds if not thousands of people to bring in x amount of pounds within 3 months of going live. I am being paid £y per day to generate this x income for you. At the heart of any successful relationship, there must be some sort of mutuality. I don't feel this exists here...
Then you can either A - give them sufficient notice to think about it and fix their approach or it....or B - depart...that's what I'd do...but we're all different right?

MrsMargoLeadbetter Tue 23-Jun-15 22:26:04

Thanks semi.

Just to update it is sorted. They agreed on the extra ft resource issue. It feels like the most pleasant outcome that could have been expected.

Thanks again for your support.

Melonfool Wed 24-Jun-15 17:08:38

Well done - not working in situations that make you unhappy is about 99% of the point of freelancing really smile

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