Do You Need to Fire that Client? Your Peace of Mind May Thank You

Services for Real Estate Pros

Cloudy SunsetDo you have a client that continually drains your energy and saps your peace of mind?

It can happen in many different ways, including clients that don’t respect your time, are hypercritical, have unrealistic expectations, or by just generally being a difficult person. These clients, while maybe well meaning, may not be worth their overall cost to you or your business.

I once had a client that met all the criteria above. She would call, text, or email requests and questions at all hours of the day and night, including weekends. There was always some emergency, something frantic that needed to be completed right away. Her problems quickly became my problems. If I didn’t respond immediately, a text or email was often quickly followed by a phone call asking why I hadn’t responded yet.

At first, I tried to accommodate the requests even when I was spending time with my daughter, at the gym, or trying to take some of my very little time off. It became clear that these continuous interruptions were hurting my overall productivity, service to my other clients, and my personal and family time.

I tried to establish boundaries, setting up times to respond to requests during normal  business hours but the requests kept coming. It got to the point where every time my phone chirped with a new message, I would cringe.  I felt trapped, after all, I was trying to build a business, I needed to be responsive.

When I took a weekend off and was relaxing and walking along the beach on New Year’s Eve, I received a text message with some requests and questions from said client. I realized right there and then that the cost of having this client was too high for me personally, my peace of mind, and my overall business. I finally made the decision to fire that client. Immediately, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

If you have a client like this that saps your energy, constantly pulls your attention away from your path, doesn’t respect your time or abilities, or worse, consider the following:

1.) Set boundaries – it’s easier to do this from the beginning but it’s always worth a try later on as well.

2.) Realize you can’t please all the people all the time – that’s an old saying but is so true. Some clients, no matter how hard you try, will always want more.

3.) Communicate – try voicing your issues and concerns with the client.

4.) Try shifting your own energy – if you are difficult or disregarding your own time, your clients will too.

And if those things don’t work, consider firing that client. Your peace of mind, your business, your family, and your bottom line will thank you for it.

Have you had difficult clients? What solutions did you try and did they work? Share your thoughts below.


Bill Reddington
Re/max By The Sea - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

You probably lasted longer then I would. I just don't respond after a certain time especially with someone that is sucking all your time, especially family time, up.

May 06, 2013 09:18 AM
Bette Gottwald
UNITED REAL ESTATE | Central PA - Mechanicsburg, PA
"Bet"on Central PA Real Estate!

Monica, I too had similar problems, but as you said, set boundaries from the beginning.  My solution was to tell the Buyer I couldn't keep up with her demands, and would refer her to a person who was able to give her "undivided attention" (a newbie, with no clients).  I asked the agent for a 30% referral fee, since I had already done most of the work. Again, as you said, establish boundaries, it works.

May 06, 2013 02:32 PM
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

I try to weed would-be problematic clients OUT before they become clients...demanding, over-zealous, not listening are key points for a problem client

May 06, 2013 08:37 PM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

There is another reason you might want to consider before interviewing  a client. Ask a few questions about his/her experience and listen carefully. If the client blames his/her previous agent(s) and badmouth them~ red flag. Don't walk~ run! Don't touch this client. I learned a hard way that you can not please such people, even if you do everything possible and impossible to please such clients, they will find the way to blame you.

Mar 05, 2014 03:56 PM