How Do You Word It When You're Dropping a Customer Forever or at Least Indefinitely?

My current circumstances are that I need to significantly optimize my scheduling and customer load.
Therefore I am not taking on every opportunity like when I was trying to grow in size or had a larger work force. I am also passing on a number of customers who have been such for awhile, some a long while.
Whereas it’s easy to say I can’t anymore when it’s really far away or just too ‘difficult’ for my available resources, I’m having a tough time wording things when I simply don’t want the hassle some customers create on every visit even when they are not that far away or the job isn’t super complicated. I want to be tactful but clear without hurting anyone’s feeling’s unnecessarily


“Hey Mrs. Wilson. I have recently decided to downsize my business. I am so sorry that I will not be able to clean your windows. Thanks for understanding.”

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Yup downsizing, an staying with in a certain vicinity. So we deeply regret that we have to inform we can no longer be of service to you.


Sounds like we’re in similar situations, Dan. I got rid of a lot of residential customers last year that I no longer wanted to service. And I also stopped servicing a certain area.

I simply replied to them that I appreciated their past busIness but I have made some changes to my business and can no longer service them any longer. No need to explain why to them.

Most just said, OK. Some begged for me to continue with them, but I never explained why I no longer am servicing them.

You may want to have a referral for them.


It’s not me…it you…
I like you, but I’m not in like with you…
I think we should see other people…

Seriously, tho, maybe find another cleaner in the area that would take the customer and forward the info on. Some residentials don’t like you choosing for them, but many appreciate the thoughtfulness of trying to find options.


Thanks, Seth. That would generally work for me. My biggest concern is being honest without saying too much and not shooting myself in the foot by making them think I won’t service ANYONE in their vicinity and they see me at their neighbor’s house.

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Haha. I usually have someone I can refer out to. If it’s someone I really like and may take back at a later time if available, I’ll send it over to one or another of my former employees whom I’m on good terms with. If I don’t necessarily want that possible option I give out a competitor’s name. On rare occasions I just won’t give a reference if it might appear that I’m trying to stick it to a competitor.

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It’s a painful process. I did it last year and got all kinds of reactions. A couple of people became agitated and insisted to know why I wouldn’t work for them anymore. They just weren’t satisfied with my vague answer of " I’m changing the direction of my business and no longer take on (large, dangerous, complicated, time consuming or whatever) projects like yours." Others, misunderstood and started telling people I no longer clean windows. Good luck with it. I’m glad a weeded the garden though because this year I am running a 28% increase over last year and don’t have the dread of facing those people or their jobs anymore.


When people react like that, it kinda reaffirms that they’re not the sort of people you wanna deal with, huh? :smirk:


One lady I dropped because she asked me to clean a light fixture and then squawked about me charging her $5 for it. Lectured me about how I should let people know if there’s going to be a charge up front. :expressionless: It was a 1 million plus house, older customer, horribly underpriced job and I knew there was no hope of just raising my price so I declined to do it last year. She hired someone else and recommended that guy to all her friends. She even started telling people I no longer clean windows. :roll_eyes:

I dropped a biannual account that had me hanging big hurricane panels on a 2 story before hurricane season and removing them after hurricane season with exterior clean. I simply stated that I do not offer that service any longer but would clean their windows, plus last time I priced that portion of the job at $350 w/out cleaning in hopes that they would drop me. They didn’t, so I said I am concentrating on cleaning windows only.

Perhaps there is some aspect to drop with or charge to make it worth it to you?

What I have concluded over the years as business owners we take our reputation, quality and customers seriously.
But the vast majority of customers think of us once or twice a year. I don’t mean anything to them in the big scheme of things so moving on isn’t a big deal.

I had a guy fix my dishwasher he was super nice I could tell took pride in his work but I just wanted my dishwasher fixed.



Just don’t overthink it. If they suck as customers I’d go so far as to say
“I do not wish to service you anymore” and leave it at that, make them wonder why forever in a day

Just straight out tell them how it is honesty is the best policy, they will understand

So far I’ve let a handful go this year. About half of them seemed put off, the others were okay with me either just leaving it at that or offering to hook them up with a good recommendation.
One whom I simply can’t deal with going forward may see me at her neighbor’s house next month. Oh well.