How do you fire clients?

Simple question: how do you go about firing clients?

I have a weakness in this area. I’m too nice, and keep jobs that don’t work because I don’t want to disappoint the customer. I have a few that are just a bad fit personality wise, a few that are just too needy, a few that I’m pretty sure wouldn’t react well to a price increase even though it needs to happen etc.

I’ve been trying to think of the right words to say to unload a customer without:

a) lying (“we are no longer cleaning windows, we’ve switched over to different services”)
b) hurting their feelings (“mrs. doe, you are just way too picky and it’s too hard to satisfy you. we’re better off as a business without you as our customer.”)
c) coming off like a jerk (“we’re too busy, don’t have time for you. you’ll have to find someone else.”)
d) coming off as unprofessional (simply not returning their phone calls or emails until they get the message.)

any suggestions?

Probably based on the personality one of the ways you mention would fit.

Or just say we are restructuring our business your home doesn’t fit what we are doing but I have a great guy I’m referring to pass it on to the new guy looking for work.

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I’m not speaking from a window cleaner’s perspective, but in an unrelated industry, I would figure out at what price I would not mind keeping them and raise my price. Then they can do the firing if they want, and if they decide to keep you, it’s at great money. On the other hand, if you just get need to get rid of them for any reason, I’d just give them some notice (and do so politely) that you need to stop being their window guy, and move on from there.

^oooh, i like that last bit. any guys in the D looking to take on some nice but needy clients? let me know…

just block their number on my phone and stop turning up . i dont want them simple as

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Had one in particular that no one liked worked for. We tried pricing ourselves out of the work. Think it was triple by the end. Since I could not price her away I had her holiday lights, I returned them to her door step and as politely as I could said we would not be working for her anymore.

Guys carried me off the field like Rudy that day.

I almost always raise the price though by telling them that after analyzing my business over the past year we found several jobs that were not profitable for us and yours was one of them. In order to do the job again I would need to charge you double what you paid last year in order to assume the risk, make a reasonable profit, drive that far, do that kind of work, etc… I tell them that I hate to lose any customer but I just cant keep working at a loss. No one has ever been mad about it and no one has ever accepted a doubling of the price either so I guess it works.

Secondly, I have told certain customers that I accept or reject jobs on an individual basis and your particular job is outside the scope of the kind of work I want to do. In other words just because my van says window cleaning doesn’t mean any window, any time, any place. I just told a lady this week that because her Pella windows give me so many problems that I’m no longer going to be doing them. I’m not stopping doing all Pella removable pane windows, just yours. That’s life. When I remodeled my kitchen last year I had my plumber tell me that moving a drain on a two story house was a pain and he didn’t want to do it. No further explanation - He just said “I don’t want the job.”

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I’m a big soft teddy bear and it’s hard to be mean. But then I realize, I’m being mean to myself for keeping these horrible clients!

I often say:

“We’re taking our business in a new direction and streamlining operations so as to cater to our highest paying clients.”

This means that it’s just business and deal with it, no offence. I’m in business to make money.

Then, I give them the contact info for one of the many young guys I know just starting out. Everybody wins!

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That was hilarious. I needed that.

My preferred method is to raise their price to a level where they’re worth it. Almost every customer has a price point where you’re willing to put up with them. So you can send a letter informing them of the date of the increase.

One of three things should happen. 1 - They take the increase, and now they’re worth the hassle. 2 - You never hear from them again. 3 - They call and object, and then you can politely tell them that if the price is not acceptable then they might be better off finding a new window cleaner.

We don’t fire many customers, but we absolutely have an 86 list.

If they’re at the point where I need to fire them, they already know not to call again.

This would have been my answer, as well.
(I’m really trying to read through, before blurting out lately.)

I liken it to storm windows, or taking that “can you come out today” call when you are swamped.

Smack ‘em upside the head, and see if it sticks.’
(or is it ‘throw it against the wall’? eh, you get the point)

Check in with Keith Kalfas- He loves making money, Maybe his Wife A-Tron can do them

My breaking point is rarely monetary.
I’m fair with my increases, and I’m happy to eat shit with an underbid (It’s my own fault.)

It’s the questioning or seeking the inch when I’ve already given the mile, that I loose it.

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I like him… he seems like a nice guy.

Very pleasant demeanor. :slight_smile:

^i agree. Love his energy. Honest enthusiasm goes a long way with me, even if all his ideas aren’t quite on point.

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Yeah, His videos are great. But i think he does more landscaping than window cleaning

Why not just increase the price to a level where you are happy. You will end up with a really profitable customer or they will sack you. Everyone has their price.

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That Keith guy sucks, he’s a walking contradiction… Don’t do storm windows but take on any and all jobs at any price. He also seems like a residential low baller and I’m glad that I’m not in his service area to drag the pricing down.

Perfect example of a service business offering too many services.

Pro Window Cleaning

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D. Im with Johnny Ald They will get the hint when you don’t return the phone call.
Be it unprofessional or not it’s what I do.
If you raise the price substantially which is probably what you would have to do to rid them

If for some reason they except they might get spiteful, an no telling what then.
To me if there that much of a pain in the ass where you don’t want to deal with them anymore no money is worth it

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