Should I fire my client?

Hi everyone, this is my first post here, but I’d like some advice!
I’ll try and keep this short.

I have a client who’s ordered a brand development package that has been a challenge. The problems began shortly after we started the project, where they sent my team thousands of reference photos and drawings and would call, email, and then direct message the chatbot on my site if we did not respond to all of their emails within a few hours. We politely told them that this behavior is against the communication protocol they agreed to in our Client Agreement contract and they’ve backed off of that behavior.

But while creating a color palette, we went through 8 rounds of proofs just on the specific hues of each color and after nailing that down we’ve moved on to a logo. The client had a “vision,” literally a dream, and is insisting we do a photorealistic version of this dream based on a drawing. We’re now three rounds in and our designs look very close to the drawings and we’ve added light, shadow, and texture. However, the client is unhappy we’ve not accurately represented what they saw in their “vision” and says the design doesn’t feel as real as what was in their mind. They want to do another call to discuss, but if I still feel unclear in what they want by the end, I’ll have to let the client go. I’m concerned this client will never be happy and the project is starting to be a much larger workload then originally intended.

They’ve paid in full, but considering the amount of work each step has taken and how we’re not even halfway done with the deliverables this project entails, I’m debating firing them as a client and reimbursing them for the work we have not done yet. Our contract gives me the option to either charge a client for extra rounds of revisions after our 3 round maximum, or fire them. But in over 50 projects we’ve never done so. I hate feeling like I’m giving up :confused: Does anyone have any experience with this? How can I either mend this situation or fire the client smoothly?

Thanks in advance!

Firing clients is hard. With me, there’s always been a bit of sadness and anxiety over giving up. I always have this nagging feeling like I should have been able to bridge the gap with the client if only I’d handled it differently. Then there’s always the remorse over the lost time and money too.

Your client seems like something of a micromanaging wacko who’s looking for a combination mind reader and short-order cook. Without a personality transplant, that sort of client isn’t fixable. Yeah, I’d likely cut it off if I were you — especially if there’s no end just around the corner.

For what it’s worth, I fired a client just yesterday before any money had changed hands or any real work was done. It was a magazine design project where everything sounded great during the initial discussions and right up until the client sent me the raw materials I’d be working with. They were absolute junk — bad photos, bad writing, bad editing, bad concepts, really bad everything. When I got back to him with a very politely phrased message regarding the problems and my proposals for addressing them, he seemed offended. I finally told him, I couldn’t work with what he sent and politely ended it. Dragging it out would have been pointless.

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Thank you for your response! It’s helpful to know I’m not alone having to fire a client this week :joy:

Yep, lean on that killswitch. It’s best to get one under your belt anyway, and it will be easier next time. It’s a lot like drinking cheap wine, the first sip gives you the shivers, and an hour later you realize you’ve drank far too much. Okay, maybe that’s just me.

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