The Bad Client

My nightmare client on a Friday night, out with his buddies
 Sooner or later, we all get him (or her).  Here's his psychological profile (although I'm a few credits shy of my BA, so this isn't an official diagnosis or anything):
  • He doesn't pay you on time, but says, "Will have a check out to you shortly."  A month later, you're still waiting.  (If payment terms were in your freelance writing contract, you'll be fine -  'cause he'll be paying interest.) 
  • When you get tough and tell him to pay (a month later!), he sputters about rewrites.  Really?  If he wanted rewrites, why didn't he tell you that a month ago when you gave him the work (and certainly before saying "Will have a check out to you shortly").
  • He tries to lowball you on prices when you're already giving him a deal.
  • He insults you. At all.  Ever.  (In my book, any client insult is met with a rapid goodbye, jerk.)
I think this one is hitting particularly close to home for me today because I just pulled the plug on this nightmare client of my own.  He had been my client for close to a year, and had been a steady source of work.

My point in telling you guys this is that I screwed up.  I should've ditched this guy long ago rather than letting him drain my time and energy levels for this long.  Granted, the pay issue and fake rewrite thing just arose - but he's been a huge pain the rest of the time, too.

If you see red flags around one of your clients, ditch 'em.  This isn't like Sears, where anybody can come in and buy something and walk right out with it.  We have to continue to deal with people after the sale has been made - and sometimes, you're far better off without that client.  You will find somebody who respects your time and is willing to pay what they owe.

When you are breaking up with a client, remember that you still need to do so politely.  But business is business - so no one should take it personally.

Have you had a nightmare client?  What did they do?  More importantly, what did you do?


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© Angie Papple Johnston 2010. Don't steal from me or I'll come getcha. Really... I've got that kind of time.

Image courtesy of Weirdvis at