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Freelancers want to keep clients. It’s a lot easier to retain clients than to find a new ones. Unfortunately, some just turn into a bad clients and you need to get rid.

Though sometimes clients are just angry and you just need to develop a strategy to deal with this.

In this blog, you’ll learn how to deal with angry clients and the 5 signs of bad clients that you should be aware of.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are ‘affiliate links’. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

How to handle an angry client

There will be times when you get clients that are just downright angry.

Unfortunately, this is just part and parcel of running a freelance business.

Here are some tips on how you can handle angry clients.

  • Acknowledge their anger
  • Show that you’re taking their anger seriously
  • Have patience whilst they are expressing why they’re angry
  • Ask questions to get down to the root of their anger
  • Start talking about solutions to the problem at hand
  • Agree on a workable timeframe the solution can be done in
  • Make it clear how you will ensure that the issue doesn’t arise again so they’re left with confidence in you

When talking to angry clients, a lot of what they are saying is just them venting. In this process of them venting they can say hurtful things.

Here are some of the things that you don’t want to be saying.

What To Not Say To An Angry Clients

At times over your freelance career, you will get angry clients. There are many reasons why, but you should not be focusing so much here. Instead, focus on resolving the issue at hand.

So here is what you shouldn’t say and avoid any further distress.

  • Can you wait a moment?
  • Sorry, but…
  • Calm down
  • It wasn’t my fault
  • To be honest

Saying anything from the list above will just further antagonise them.

Instead, listen to them and suggest doing something different or fixing whatever is wrong.

Fix whatever is wrong at no further cost and in a good timeframe will please clients.

As a freelancer, you want to be hanging to clients for as long as possible.

It’s always harder to get new clients than to retain existing clients.

Acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.

Although, here are 5 signs you should start thinking of firing a bad client.

You’re silently suffering and creating an exit plan


Big red warning lights should be flashing when you’re feeling like this.

You have a client who at the start you loved working with.

Nowadays, you’re not enjoying the work and dreading each time you get an email from them with more work to do.

If you’re feeling like this, it’s because the relationship has met its natural end at your side.

So you can fire a client and end the relationship amicably.

Client is costing you money

When you start a project everything is agreed but then this happens.

They just need this extra bit added to the project.

This is the first characteristic of a bad client!

Even though you’re just adding a little bit, it becomes a slippery slope.

Eventually, they’re adding a bit here, and there constantly. Resulting in this extra bit costing you more time.

You now have a big problem on your hands and you have to resolve this issue promptly.

Resolve this problem by explaining why they have to stick to the agreed scope of work and not keep adding to it.

Read 5 pricing strategies for freelancers

Not showing respect for your time

As a freelancer working online you’re able to work with clients from all across the globe.

Although this comes with the issue of not being in the same time zone.

For example, if you’re in the UK (it’s 12 noon) and you have a client in California, it’s 4am to them.

This is a massive problem.

This doesn’t mean you can’t get clients with different time zones, you just need to put this in place first.

Put in place set times that you are contactable and how long it will take to respond to emails. Such as will respond to emails within 24 hours.

This is setting boundaries for yourself and the client so no one is left feeling disgruntled or wanting to say I can’t work with you.

You don’t want to do the work

Sometimes you can get a client who you start off doing a specific task.

The client then assumes you can automatically adapt that skill to something else.

Yes, you can adapt but you need to undertake some sort of training to deliver the results.

If they don’t offer the training or allow you to get training yourself, this will leave you thinking ‘I hate my client’.

This isn’t a healthy situation for you to end up in.

Either tell them that you just can’t take on the work due to not having the skills or start thinking about getting your next client.

It’s not in anyone’s interest for you to only deliver subpar work when you’re taking on tasks that are outside of your skillset.

Doesn’t respect the scope of the project

Not respecting the amount of time and support you need to get the project done.

Sometimes, you can get a client that wants a project done in a fraction of the time it would normally take.

This is a sign that the client is starting to disrespect you.

You should never ever stand for a client or anybody disrespecting you.

What you offer is a skill that takes time to offer the best results.

For example, if you’re a freelance writer creating advertising copy.

This is a skill that you’ve learned and mastered.

To deliver the best of your ability as a copywriter, you need to take your time choosing.

If a client just expects a turnaround time of an hour when you’ve stated it will take a week to do, this is not showing you the respect you deserve.

In A Nutshell,

Freelancers find it easier to retain clients than to find new ones. If you find yourself with a bad apple, then these are the clear signs you should fire them. If they’re just angry you can just diffuse the situation and reclaim your happy client.

Check out this bundle of resources to get clients and work with them.

About Post Author

Alison Wolf

Helping women who want to quit the 9 - 5 and build an online business where they can live their life on their terms. After quitting my own full-time job in 2010, I decided to make a change and start earning money freelancing. Using my own experiences, I help women who want to quit their own 9 - 5 and create their own freelance business that fits around their own lives.
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