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How to Fire a Client

Not all business is good business.

The customer is always right. Right?


Every once in a while, we find ourselves in a situation that cannot continue. We are at a crossroads and need to make an important change for our own mental health and sanity. We need to terminate a relationship with a client. We need to fire a client. I know it sounds a bit harsh, but, it is the right thing to do.

If you feel the need to fire too many clients, too often, well then, that might be a different issue. But for the rare occasion, this is my strategy.

It is important to handle the situation professionally, respectfully and compassionately. You never know what is going on in a client’s life that has them acting out in a way that is not healthy for them or the people with whom they interact.

When enough is enough, you must take action.

A one-on-one conversation is preferred. If you feel safer and more comfortable on the phone that can be OK, too. Be firm, and be very clear. Make it all about the client’s happiness. Offer options.

Here is some sample scripting:

I am sorry I am not able to make you happy with your hair (even if this is not really about their hair). It is important to me that you are happy. I am no longer able to cut your hair. I do want to offer you some options.

Option one – You can pick any member of my team and I will make an appointment for you to have them cut your hair.

Option two – I can pick a member of the team that I am confident will be a good fit for you.

Option three – You can select any hair salon or barbershop in town and any haircutter and I will call and make an appointment for you. I will pay for it with my credit card, too… Because I want you to be happy. If you work alone go straight to option three.

The client will likely object. The client will likely ask questions. Stand form. You owe them no explanation. Likely, they know their behavior is not OK.

If you are an employer this is all that much more important. Your team members need to know you have their backs. They need to know that you will protect them first and foremost. Call a staff meeting to address the topic. Be sure they all know you have a plan in place and that they can come to you when a situation demands it. They should know that can come to you before the situation gets to the point where a client firing is appropriate.

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