Business Resources

Firing a Client

  1. I had a similar experience to Sarah, however, I fired the client after weeks of being non-responsive. It is impossible to do our job with clients like this and I discovered indecision and constantly changing one’s mind is another cause for firing a client. Indecision is typically a sign that nothing will make this type of client happy. Unfortunately, it takes time to discover these types of red flags.

  2. Sara says:

    I’ve been in the event planning business for close to 20 years and just fired a client for the first time.

    She was causing me stress and anxiety right off the mark. How? Well as soon as we’d exchanged contracts her tone changed and she was quite rude. Communications made me feel like a scolded child. She was obstructive to progress on the job because she was
    uncommunicative. .. I couldn’t reach her for months to the point I was concerned she might be ill or dead and called one of her colleagues after 11 emails and two voicemails went without reply to check she was ok. She had her colleague tell me she was “busy” but no one is that busy! She ignored 5 payment reminders. She was spending way over budget and wouldn’t take my calls or reply to questions. I just sensed it was going to be 6 months of anxiety so I quit.

    I ended up refunding her to avoid being sued for breach of contact – even though I’d done plenty of work. She was very aggressive and I was quite scared of her!

    So glad I quit and I’m working on new language for my contract to make sure I have a get out clause if the client will not engage.

  3. Kelly says:

    I wish I had terminated my contract with my last bride, but I stuck it out when I should have ran. She caused so much stress and anxiety for me that I was sick.

    I have a client now that is becoming a problem and I feel like I need to terminate the contract because I am seeing signs of problems that I ignored with the last one. I was hired for day of coordination only, but the closer the wedding gets (just over 2 months) the bride is asking me to do things I’m not comfortable with and that it is becoming a disaster waiting to happen as she doesn’t know what she wants and is spending money on random things and borrowing different linens from people. She has developed an bridezilla attitude and will only answer part of my questions or just ignores emails and doesn’t provide me with info I need. I don’t feel comfortable having my name on this wedding after some emails from her yesterday and I found out she is telling people I am doing the planning when they question her on things and that she informed the pastor of the church how he is to conduct the ceremony word for word and she doesn’t care if it meets the churches requirements.

    This is a first for me and I am struggling with what to say to her to terminate the contract.

  4. Erin w. says:

    We had to fire a client due to all of the above reasons you listed, except the drugs one. Now we are getting sued for breach of contract! Which is how I found this post 🙂 Lucky us.

  5. Wendy says:

    Does anyone have a sample or template for a bid retraction? I am no longer available for a date.

  6. Stephanie says:

    I experienced this with my very first wedding. At first I felt awful, like maybe I was the one doing something wrong, that I wasn’t clear enough in my expectations of them, or that maybe I didn’t even really belong in this business. The client was a friend from college and I volunteered to plan her wedding for free, as a wedding gift (and to build my portfolio). The first 2 months were great. We were on the same page in every aspect, then her mother decided to tag along to one of the consultations. I felt like I was being interrogated. Her mother asked questions like “is this really what you want to do with your life?”, “what makes you qualified to do this?”, and “why should we trust someone who has only ever planned their own wedding?”. I guess my responses were not satisfactory because shortly after that meeting, the mother fought every single suggestion I made and repeatedly told the client that she could do what I do herself. I could have lived with that, I think, because the client had faith in me. What I couldn’t live with were the 4 months that my client was completely unreachable. Her cell phone was shut off, she didn’t respond to e-mail. I had no way to get in touch with her. After about a month and a half, I stopped working on her wedding and sent an e-mail saying until I could reach her, there wasn’t much I could do in the planning of her wedding. When she finally did call, she said she’d been too busy with work and wanted to know how much I finished in her absence, like she never even read the e-mail. After fighting with myself, I decided to continue to work with her, for the sake of my portfolio. A month later, it began again. This time she was only unreachable for a month, but I decided to officially terminate my contract. It was the hardest decision I’ve made to date regarding my business. My main concern, other than losing a friend, was that word would get out that I backed out on someone’s wedding 4 months prior to the big day and that no one would hire me. But given the circumstances, that was a chance I felt I had to take. I learned a lot from the experience though! It really helped me in tweaking my contract and laying everything out on the table with my future clients as far as expectations.

    • Wow Stephanie, what a terrible experience for your first client! Good for you for terminating when you knew that was the best choice. They sound like clients that no one would want to work with. Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m sure this will help other wedding planners in their businesses.

  7. I’ve been planning weddings and events for many, many years and never had to fire a client until just last year. There were definitely early warning signs, but I stuck it out longer than I should have. I guess I was hoping that we’d “turn a corner” at some point, but it never happened. My standard contract includes language that either party can pull the plug at anytime, but I’d always thought of it as something my attorney put in there that I’d never have to use. Just over three months into the planning process, the bride and I came to the conclusion that is simply wasn’t working. She had several negative influences in her life that included a know-it-all sister and an overbearing mother that fueled a lot of the difficulties. The bride retained all the vendors I had booked on her behalf and I heard from many of them after the wedding that she was a real pain in the backside. So, I guess I dodged a bullet after all.

    • Debbie says:

      Thank you for sharing Kevin. It was so hard when I had to let go of a client for the first time. I always assumed I could get along with anyone and make it work but sometimes it’s better to “dodge the bullet” and let it go. I appreciate you taking time to comment.

  8. I mentioned this to you before, but thank you for bringing this up. I have yet to land myself in this situation, but I have heard so many friends explain these crazy situations with clients and I think to myself, sometimes you just have to let a client go. You have just as much of a right to call it quits as they do.

    • Debbie says:

      So true Brit. I didn’t experience it for a number of years then when it happened, it was so stressful because my contract wasn’t clear on what would happen.

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