I just fired my largest client, now what?

I just fired my largest client, because they consistently are requesting services outside of the scope of maintenance, late with monthly payment and expect services to be completed yesterday.  Feeling tired and overwhelmed, the decision to let my largest client go…was a tough one.

Now what am I going to do?  Either find another large client, or several medium size clients to make up the lost revenue.  My mind was spinning.  Did I just fire my largest client? Was it really that bad?  Should I call them back and beg for forgiveness? No way…

Client history

Back in 2015, I received a call from a client.  He told me of a non profit, who needed a website.  The client was based out of town, and it was a non profit for autism children. Checking out the website, the foundation of the organization was solid.  It has an established board of directors, from several local big companies.  Many past and future events showcased the role of the non profit organization in its community.  Several letters from distinguish members of the community, from the mayor to several local political and community leaders, were on the website.

However the website had many issues. It was not responsive.  Several of the links were broken. The color palette did not match the logo.  Many of the pages were not consistent, felt like if you click on another page, then you went to another website.  Armed with a list of ideals, I reached out the CEO, Chief Executive Officers.  She was very receptive to my call, and had already been approved by the board for the re-design.

Design Process

After forward a contract and design process to the CEO, I was advised that the board would vote on my proposal in a couple of days.  They voted for me to re-design the site for about 75% of my rate.  I would asked for at least 90%, but the board did not budge.  So we decided to take a couple items off the list of to-dos.

The site was designed and completed in about 60 days, well ahead of the launch date.  We had to hold the site in limbo, as the board did not approved the final payment for about another 45 days.  After launching the site, the CEO realized that she needed maintenance to keep the site up.  Problem was the board was already fusing about the cost of hosting.  They wanted to keep the site on share hosting for $2.95 a month and not on the managed hosting plan of $20.00 a month.  Now to ask for more money for maintenance.

Problem solved

The CEO’s husband and treasure to the non profit organization, decided that he would personally pay for the maintenance as a donation from his company.  He saw the value.  Wanting to be very transparent, google analysis victories were shared monthly.   We automotive several of the CEO’s functions.  From scheduling time to talk, check out her schedule and fill out a form…to asking for sponsorship, had a form for all questions…to hiring staff or volunteers, had a form for employment details.

The treasure felt the website was taking at least 20% of paperwork off the CEO’s desk.  He would regularly mention our efforts and make sure it was in the monthly meeting notes.

Adverser shift

In 2018, the treasure stepped down.  His business had grown and it did not provide him with enough time to do a good job for the non profit organization.  Also he advised us that the non profit would have to pay us for maintenance and support.  A quarterly bill was sent on May 1st, with a payment due date of June 1.  The invoice was paid on June 15th.  Later the CEO asked if we could bill them monthly.  That was not our policy, but the board did not want to pay quarterly.  It would be a temporary solution, but three late payments and back to quarter.  July, August, September, October, November, and December was late.  In 2019, quarterly bills were re-established.

Not sure if it was the CEO or board, but many of the requests which were completed by 1 business day, became an issue.  One of the board members asked for a refund, when a request which was sent on Saturday night was completed on Monday around 11:00am.  When it was mentioned that all request will be completed within 1 business day, the board member said it was two day turn around.  We are not open on Sunday. Only Monday – Friday, so all request on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be completed by end of the day (or 5:00pm Monday).

As payments became a recurring issue, and constant explaining of the maintenance plan it was in our best interest to terminate the client.

Conclusion

We all want to have client’s forever.  We want to be apart of when they started out and when they became successful.  Most clients want to be apart of our early days and when we become a success.  However, sometimes termination is a good thing.  It was time for us to move on.

Finances can make you make bad decisions, but in this case, the proper decision was done.

Image courtesy of Sabine Peters.

 

JDS WebDesign is a Web Design and Brand Marketing Agency located in Marietta, Georgia.  We create AWESOME on line presence for Faith Base, Non Profit and Influential People/Organizations.  To learn more about me or how I can help you and your organization, let’s schedule a 15 – 30 minute coffee.  I can be reached by clicking here..

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