You work hard to generate new leads for your contractor business. Whether it's someone who found you online after a quick search for "plumbers near me" or a referral from another client, building up a good relationship with potential customers is a crucial part of your business.
But what do you do when that new client is throwing up too many red flags? If you're dealing with unpaid invoices or too many cranky phone calls, it's important to know where to draw the line. Here are 3 red flags that let you know when it's time to fire your client.
Red Flags That Tell You It's Time to Fire Your Client
#1: They're Reluctant to Pay
Your new client can't pay the down payment up front, but they promise they're good for the money. Or they want to haggle over every nickel and dime when you're choosing materials. It's natural for the occasional client to ask about a discount, but if you suspect they may try to duck out of paying you, that's a red flag that they could be difficult to work with. Hunting clients down over unpaid invoices takes up hours that you could otherwise spend on another job.
#2: Their Expectations Are Unreasonable
Respect is an important part of a healthy client contractor relationship. If a client doesn't value your expertise, you may find yourself dealing with questions on your timeline, the materials you choose, or threats of a bad review online. If, in discussing your client's project, you get the idea that what they're asking for isn't possible or realistic, professionally turning them down might be your best option.
#3: You've Noticed Too Much Scope Creep
Change orders are a fact of life. However, when requested changes evolve into unpaid hours, the scope creep can start to impact your time and income. You should have your original scope of work in writing, and any requested changes should be documented too. Changes will happen, but if your client pushes back on a higher price or extended timeline due to a larger scope, that's a red flag.
What to Do Before Calling It Quits
As much of a headache as these challenging clients can be, no one wants to miss out on a job or risk the damage an angry customer can do to your reputation. If you've reached a point where you need to part ways with a client, there are a few things you can do to help end things on good terms.
#1: Communicate Clearly
Take a moment to seek out clarity and get on the same page. Taking the time to educate them might help them see your point of view and avoid further trouble, or it may help them see that another contractor might be a better fit.
#2: Check Your Contract
If you're working on a job in progress and it's not a good fit, take the time to check your contract to make sure you understand any obligations you have. Some construction contracts will have termination clauses that may define missed payments or other issues as grounds for a breach of contract.
#3: End Things Professionally
If you think parting ways is the right move, make sure to do so on as good of terms as possible. A courteous, professional parting can help avoid fallout like bad online reviews or lost referrals.
Ready to put the days of problem clients behind you? Stepping up your marketing game with a professional website can help you start generating the kind of high-quality leads that turn into great clients. Get started today.