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Firing clients

Once you have been hired by a client, do you ever feel the need to fire that client, especially when they have worked you to death without compensation or perhaps, you have been paid the agreed upon fee and then for every suggestion you make, they have questioned or negated the suggestion, not once, but many times.

I am not sure if this is a recent trend, but I certainly have had my fair share of these situations, and it is happening more and more often. Now, I can understand there are those who are simply out fishing for information; and if you are accustomed to the fishermen, you know when to say enough is enough. Answering a few questions is not a problem, but when you start to offer up options including itineraries, quotes, and more intricate planning and the potential client does not want to pay, what do you do?

I have experienced in recent months, multiple clients (in two cases, referrals), where this has happened. One new client actually paid my fee and the other, after authorizing me to charge it, questioned it. And this was after signing my contract laying out the rules of the game. In the first case, virtually every suggestion I made was questioned. In some cases, I presented numerous ideas and all were declined. Even though the client comes to me for my specialty, he questions my recommendations. It is frustrating.

In another case, a client authorized me to get to work on her trip. She signed my contract authorizing my service fee and when presented with the receipt, balked. In order to not anger her, I immediately refunded the charge and explained that we needed to fee to begin. I never heard back from her, so I fired her. In discussing this with others, they suggested that I retain the fee; but there may have been a backlash. I felt that fighting it this time was not worth the potential backlash and risk a ding to my reputation.

But, should I have fired the client in the first example? He was working me ragged and I it was taking a hundred steps to move forward three.  In the end, I decided to persevere, grin and bear it and decided to finalize the plans. The client is presently traveling.

I have fired other clients where they outright refused my fee. I politely explained that we could not work together; but these ones are different. The fee had been paid.

I have talked to some local colleagues and they have seen an increase of this practice as well. It very well may still be the economy, or something else. Are you seeing it? And more importantly, how do you handle it? How far do you go for a client that paid you an agreed upon fee and then either runs you ragged, or refuses to accept any of your expertise?  Where do you draw the line?

Jamison Bachrach is better known as the Wandering Puffin for the way he likes to travel. Jamison has been in the travel industry for more than 16 years and has been home based with Wandering Puffin for 7 years and specializes in independent European travel planning, specifically, central and eastern Europe, as well as Scandinavia.

Jamison has traveled to over 40 countries, including most of Europe. Wandering Puffin LLC. Is located in Minneapolis, MN. Jamison can be reached by email at jamie@wanderingpuffin.com or by phone at  763-244-0669.www.wanderingpuffin.com.

 

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