6 Big Reasons Why You Should Say Goodbye to a Freelance Client

09/10/2016 22 comments

As freelancers, we certainly have to put up with a lot of stuff. Tough tasks, last minute assignments or short deadlines are one thing. An unprofessional, demeaning or late-paying freelance client is a another matter. You don’t have to put up with the later. This blog can tell you when it’s time to start looking for another freelance client.

From time to time, you will have to let an freelance client “go”. It’s better to stop working with that freelance client, then allow things to go worse.

So, when “enough is enough”? It depends on the freelancer and his or her nerves. Here are six triggers that tell you it’s time to let a client go.

Don’t Work with a Freelance Client that does Not Respect the Agreement You’ve Made

Say goodbye to a client who disses the agreement


If a freelance client is violating the terms of the contract in any way, or he goes against his words, then you are going to have big problems with that client in the future. This, however, does not mean you should let that freelance client go just yet.

Instead, let the client know they are violating the agreement you made with them and insist to stick on it. If they change their way, it’s usually okay to continue working with them, but let them know if they violate the agreement, you can’t work with them anymore.

Of course, if they flat out refuse, or claim they are not violating the contract, even if it’s crystal clear they are, by all means, let that client go.

Stop Working with a Freelance Client that Just Gets More and More Demanding

For a freelancer, it’s good to be on his toes, as it helps him produce better work. But, on occasion, a freelance client will think they can get this too far. A freelance client who is too demanding or, even worse, adds demands AFTER you’ve sent them your assignment, is simply not worth your time and you should let them go.

This, in a way, continues from the previous one in that it shows the importance of sticking with what you agreed upon. So, if the freelance client wants you to do a whole website in three or four days or has some similar ridiculous demand and constantly adds new demands, politely tell them you can’t meet their demands and walk away.

Say Goodbye to a Freelance Client that is Giving You any Payment Problems

Say goodbye to a client who thinks you should work for free

Freelancers don’t work for exposure. Period. You have to understand that things can happen on the client’s side. Your money may not arrive exactly on time. This is okay as long as:

  • It doesn’t happen too often
  • The freelance client gives a good explanation, preferably beforehand
  • You get paid in the end.

However, if the client is constantly late with paying you, then you should carefully  consider whether that client is worth the wait. If that client is paying well, however, you may want to propose a different payment schedule, one that works for both sides.

Of course, late payments are one thing and you may decide to let that slide, but no payments are a definite “red card”. A few days or even a week is relatively okay, but let the client know you won’t accept any more assignments from him until you are paid fully for the previous work.If they insist on being late with your payments and still send you work, consider letting them go.

Also, even if the client is paying you on time, but you find another one that will pay more, consider terminating your relationship with the client number one. However, be very careful when doing this. Make sure you are honest with the first client (the one you are letting go) about the reasons you will no longer work with them. Be polite when letting that client go.

Stop Working with a Freelance Client that Does Not Respect You

Freelancers are not doormats for clients to do as they please with them. Yet, some clients seem to forget this. This probably has to do with the fact that there are. According to this report by the Freelancers Union and Elance-Odesk (now Upwork) from 2014, by 2020, more Americans will be freelancing than working typical 9-5 jobs. For instance, by the time this report was made, 34% of American workforce was already working as freelancers, with a steady trend of more people choosing to freelance over working regular jobs.

This report only deals with freelancers in United States, however, and doesn’t take freelancers from the rest of the world into account. But consider that anyone who has a computer, laptop or a touchpad and access to Internet can apply for a freelancing job and it’s a completely different story. Indian freelancers compete with American freelancers, Kenyans with French and so on.

Therein, unfortunately lies a part of the initial problem and why some clients don’t respect freelancers enough. They know they can always get someone who will work for cheap and who will put up with their behaviour. It’s just that you don’t have to be that someone.

Don’t Work with a Freelance Client Who Sends Less and Less Work Your Way

Sometimes, clients will just have less work for you. There could be a number of reasons for this and you should consider them all carefully. I’ll list the top two here.

  1. They no longer have that much work for you. If that’s the situation, start looking for another client who can give you more work.
  2. The client doesn’t trust you with extra work. Ask the client if he is not sending you more assignments because he or she is not satisfied with your previous work. If they say that is the case, don’t act like a child, but promise to do better in the future. Always work on improving yourself, even if you are not going to continue working with that particular client.

Stop Dealing with the Freelance Client if the Job is Making You Miserable

Say goodbye to a client if the job makes you miserable

If you are working with the same client, writing about the same niche for a long time, at some point, you will become fed up with both that client and that niche, as much as you initially liked both of them.

Sure, freelancing can’t always be as exciting as you imagined, but if you allow it to “kill” your creativeness and are just going through the motions, you should consider saying goodbye to a client.


If the client is showing any of these signs, consider letting them go. However, don’t make any rush decisions and certainly don’t engage in any flame war of words with the client. Give them a certain benefit of a doubt and allow them to rectify their mistake. If they don’t, be polite but firm in telling them you will no longer work with them.

There you go! Six signs that will tell you when it’s time to say goodbye to an freelance client! Did I forget any? What are your typical triggers? Let me know in the comments below.