O.T. Firing a Client... (long post warning)

gwbasley

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When I had my contracting business I had a home office, (converted garage). I fired a carpenter for stealing, which he even admitted to, and thought it was done with. About a month later we were literally invaded by Immigration Services, displaying their sidearms, and demanding we immediately show the proper paperwork. The two girls working there were terrified but I settled everything down (I had my paperwork in order) and got through it. I could have been arrested on the spot if I hadn't photocopied every worker's DL upon hiring them.

Another incident was when I fired a helper for excessive delinquency. He opened a case with unemployment and back pay. I went to the hearing with a year of payroll records showing a pattern of "no shows" which were costly to me because I had to cover for him with a high paid carpenter.

The point is to make sure you have your house in order when you make a move like this because a motivated disgruntled ex-employee / customer can make things difficult for you if you havn't covered those bases.
 

Dumpy

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When I had my contracting business I had a home office, (converted garage). I fired a carpenter for stealing, which he even admitted to, and thought it was done with. About a month later we were literally invaded by Immigration Services, displaying their sidearms, and demanding we immediately show the proper paperwork. The two girls working there were terrified but I settled everything down (I had my paperwork in order) and got through it. I could have been arrested on the spot if I hadn't photocopied every worker's DL upon hiring them.

Another incident was when I fired a helper for excessive delinquency. He opened a case with unemployment and back pay. I went to the hearing with a year of payroll records showing a pattern of "no shows" which were costly to me because I had to cover for him with a high paid carpenter.

The point is to make sure you have your house in order when you make a move like this because a motivated disgruntled ex-employee / customer can make things difficult for you if you havn't covered those bases.
I have known this person’s history. She literally moved out of the small town she lived in because she had worn out her welcome. But you bring up very good points. If I were in a different position, I would have sucked it up and continued. I see her more or less sulking and whining to the next poor sucker who does her hair.
 

TheBeachBoy

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Be prepared to get a restraining order if she escalates. Hopefully she moves onto somewhere else and doesn't bother you but it's nice to be prepared. I bet you feel a lot of relief though. No need to keep someone like that in your life, especially since this is your fun job.
 

Dumpy

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Be prepared to get a restraining order if she escalates. Hopefully she moves onto somewhere else and doesn't bother you but it's nice to be prepared. I bet you feel a lot of relief though. No need to keep someone like that in your life, especially since this is your fun job.
I am fully prepared. Hopefully it doesn’t go there. But you never know. She gave up on the last guy easier because I was her fall-back guy.
 

FlowTom

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I've dealt with demanding, hard to please high end clients for several decades. Eventually, I came up with a simple rule.

I will bend over backwards and go to the ends of the earth to fulfill the demands of the job and satisfy the client whether I like the client or not.

But the moment that things get weird, we are done and they have to find someone else.

I never mention that rule to them, but since I have it in place, it allows me to cut ties with them very cordially and briskly. No explanations, no drama. They just need to seek other services.

And once things do get weird, I do not provide referrals if asked. I have a few ornery colleagues that I could send problem clients to. But I won't do it.

I figure that the only leverage I have is to withhold my services. And I withhold referrals as a courtesy to my contractor community. We're not bankers. We can't afford to be tormented.

Once in awhile, I'll be talking to a colleague and will mention a particularly difficult person that they would do well to stay away from. This casual chit chat happens a fair amount among colleagues.

If the crazy people with money only knew how wide a network of prior reputation they have created for themselves in the world.

In fact, once his reputation for not paying contractors started becoming known in the 1980's, I found myself declining the opportunity to do work for the former president.
 

TheBeachBoy

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I am fully prepared. Hopefully it doesn’t go there. But you never know. She gave up on the last guy easier because I was her fall-back guy.
That's good. I wish you the best of luck and hope you don't have to deal with her again.
 

Corbin L Douthitt

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For those who choose to read this post, thank you. Also, here is some background: I was a hairdresser full time from 1991-2016 before choosing to work in a corporate job. I cut half of my client load upon starting the corporate job, and half of that load after falling ill in 2018. Needless to say, this is my fun job, though some of the best part time money that could be made until the pandemic struck. I can survive without the income, but life is easier with it, despite being physically taxing labor.

When I struck out on my own from a long-time gig with a reputable salon in late ‘05, I told nearly every client, including the one discussed in the subject line. She chose to go a different direction, which was fine with me. When the guy she went with fired her, she would barge in on me while I was working, and I reluctantly took her on. She would talk about this other fellow in the most bitter way, like she was spurned. But she’s always had a history of worming her way into someone’s life and tries to take them over. I did my best to keep her at arms length, and she would make snide remarks that I don’t have Facebook or let her know what my email address is. Whatever...

She typically will miss several appointments in a year’s time, and will be late for others. While she always pays for the time missed, I have to figure out how to fit her in. With my state’s current Covid guidelines, we can’t have very many people in the salon where I work, as the square footage is less than 500 square feet. Working a person back into a schedule is a nightmare these days.

She’s gained well over 100 pounds in the last year, blaming my barber chair for her discomfort. She will linger in the shop while I am trying to get ready for the next client. Since the pandemic, I have to do extra cleaning not only for my personal protection (as I have underlying conditions), but for the safety and well-being of my patrons. Standing there talking to me after the appointment time is rude and imposing, but this is par for the course to indicate what type of person this is.

At the last appointment, she was spilling over the arm rests of my chair. I can’t afford to replace a chair as I am looking to ride into the sunset in the next three years. I also do not want my nearly claim-free record on my business insurance policy to be blemished by a nuisance lawsuit in my last years on this job from her being hurt as a result of breaking my chair.

The last straw was two events: she books a year’s worth of appointments. She texts me before the last appointment and informs me that she washed that piece of paper in her laundry. Fine. I text her time back. She comes in to get her hair cut on time. Before she left, I gave her a reminder card. Her appointment was this past Saturday. She missed her appointment, but then texts me to ask if she missed. I haven’t answered her text. I have elected to terminate our service agreement and will send her a letter notifying her.

This is never easy. I have intentionally trimmed my client roster over the years and even though it feels so much better once the deed has been done, guilt can come over you, making you second-guess your decision. In the end, this is the right thing to do. But it always feels a bit crummy until you realize your mental well-being is better, especially since this person was being seen on my off time. I imagine this is how every band leader feels after firing a band member or a boss feels after firing an employee.

I am not looking for advice, but comments are welcome, especially since I put this onto a discussion forum.
I have had 'customers' like that over 50+ years. Some people are NEVER satisfied. They MUST denigrate everyone and everything at every opportunity- in order to feel better /superior about themselves. They are toxic to everyone. She will likely continue to do as she does because everyone accommodates her and she has no reason to stop. FIRE her. Expect to be denigrated to others- they KNOW who she is and what she is- anyone who believes her- likely didn't like you either- get some sleep. Smile when you think about her- remember that she no longer screws up your life.
 

dsteinschneider

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IT services business advisors recommend you cull your client list once a year and remove the bottom 10%. The extra time and expense of servicing those can go into finding more profitable clients.
 

Pat A Flafla

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I'm terrible at firing students who need to be fired either because they're wasting money or because the parents are yanking my chain. In either case, I think it's particularly difficult mainly because it involves kids. I sometimes wind up tolerating some pretty flaky behavior on the part of parents because the kid is excited, talented, and learning. People I've gigged with would probably be surprised to hear that, since I'm quite prickly about not being a doormat in my performing life, but I hate to see kids suffer because their parents are a mess.
 

Rufus T Firefly

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You’re in a bad situation that you have control over. You did the right thing. We don’t need that kind of nonsense in our lives. Best of luck as you head towards your retirement in a few years! I’ve found that to be a time when there are many unpleasantries you no longer have to live with.
 

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Let bygones be bygones one more time. Explain to her with no one else around what she may not understand she is doing to you. Don't raise your voice or argue. Stay level headed. Explain the ramifications on you personally and the business. Lay it out in simplicity to her, not 50 things where she will remember only 2. And tell her what she must abide on as she relies on you, so too you rely on her. If she returns and abides, you have some steady income. If she leaves, that's her choice. And if she returns and does not abide by your policy, then you are forced top no longer accept her business. Case closed. But, for now forgive the past and try ONE MORE TIME.
 

Deafmoon

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I'm terrible at firing students who need to be fired either because they're wasting money or because the parents are yanking my chain. In either case, I think it's particularly difficult mainly because it involves kids. I sometimes wind up tolerating some pretty flaky behavior on the part of parents because the kid is excited, talented, and learning. People I've gigged with would probably be surprised to hear that, since I'm quite prickly about not being a doormat in my performing life, but I hate to see kids suffer because their parents are a mess.
This is everywhere. I raised 2 children and I can remember some of the nutty parents I would talk to at Little League Baseball, Youth Basketball and Soccer games. These parents were so driving on 6, 7 and 8 year olds it would make me sad for their child. They would tell me things like their son was going to play for The Yankees, or get a University Scholarship in Sports or make The Olympics. And in drumming, their kid was going to be the next Buddy Rich. Let em speak and let time and evolution do the work. It's good to have dreams of being the next Buddy Rich, but is this your dream or really the hungry desire of your child? If the child is determined to play, they will find a way with or without you.
 

Rotarded

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I've dealt with demanding, hard to please high end clients for several decades. Eventually, I came up with a simple rule.

I will bend over backwards and go to the ends of the earth to fulfill the demands of the job and satisfy the client whether I like the client or not.

But the moment that things get weird, we are done and they have to find someone else.

I never mention that rule to them, but since I have it in place, it allows me to cut ties with them very cordially and briskly. No explanations, no drama. They just need to seek other services.

And once things do get weird, I do not provide referrals if asked. I have a few ornery colleagues that I could send problem clients to. But I won't do it.

I figure that the only leverage I have is to withhold my services. And I withhold referrals as a courtesy to my contractor community. We're not bankers. We can't afford to be tormented.

Once in awhile, I'll be talking to a colleague and will mention a particularly difficult person that they would do well to stay away from. This casual chit chat happens a fair amount among colleagues.

If the crazy people with money only knew how wide a network of prior reputation they have created for themselves in the world.

In fact, once his reputation for not paying contractors started becoming known in the 1980's, I found myself declining the opportunity to do work for the former president.

Simply based upon what you say here, your "rules", stances , and/or actions all meet in one place. That place is court. If these are not copiously documented, and signed off as read and understood, you are in a very bad place. Unlawful termination, breach of contract, or slander. Just be careful, I've spent waaaay too much money and time defending false accusations from crazy butthurt former employees and clients who seek vengeance for a perceived wrong.
 

cruddola

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Get a security door allowing you to buzz-in your clients and pray she doesn't have access to hardware that goes bang! I had a business that was all was by private referrals. Never had to take out an ad or even print a business card. My clients were all high-end repeat customers for decades. Even their kids were long-term clients. I had a long-term client who requested a particular service that I don't do. I've had that request before and have always referred those requests to someone who's very reputable at filling those. I've always politely said it wasn't my specialty to any who asked anything similar. For me to even attempt it would do the client a huge disservice. That security buzz-in door I had installed before taking on my first client saved my hide. That former client got locked between doors for the cops. Nothing worse than an angry and wealthy person who's never been denied a request.
 

Nacci

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Get a security door allowing you to buzz-in your clients and pray she doesn't have access to hardware that goes bang! I had a business that was all was by private referrals. Never had to take out an ad or even print a business card. My clients were all high-end repeat customers for decades. Even their kids were long-term clients. I had a long-term client who requested a particular service that I don't do. I've had that request before and have always referred those requests to someone who's very reputable at filling those. I've always politely said it wasn't my specialty to any who asked anything similar. For me to even attempt it would do the client a huge disservice. That security buzz-in door I had installed before taking on my first client saved my hide. That former client got locked between doors for the cops. Nothing worse than an angry and wealthy person who's never been denied a request.
I have to ask; oriental massage parlor, Robert Kraft? Those doors were a smart move.
 

cruddola

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I have to ask; oriental massage parlor, Robert Kraft? Those doors were a smart move.
Even you, your kids, relatives, from ghetto-to platinum-plated folks have enjoyed the service I used to provide. And it wasn't governmental, culinary, construction, logistical, entertainment/performance, legal/illegal, spiritual, medical, educational or financial (Except for my bank account!) either. And I ain't telling!
 
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cruddola

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No massage, your kid to an Oriental massage parlor? YIKES! No mechanic, funeral director, communications, author, no astronaut or nothing military-related either. It was an honor to serve, thankyou! Who's Robert Kraft? The cheese dude?
 
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Tornado

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Even you, your kids, relatives, from ghetto-to platinum-plated folks have enjoyed the service I used to provide. And it wasn't governmental, culinary, construction, logistical, entertainment/performance, legal/illegal, spiritual, medical, educational or financial (Except for my bank account!) either. And I ain't telling!
Sounds like you did nothing. I want in!
 


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