10 Secret Reasons Why You Lose Clients

Have you ever lost a client and then wondered why?

Of course, you can always ask your client what went wrong, but many will not tell you. They may be afraid of hurting your feelings or they may just want to avoid a potentially unpleasant confrontation with you.

Since I use freelancers once in a while that puts me in the unique position of being a freelancer and also an occasional client of freelancers. So, today I put my client hat on for a change and listed all the things that I could think of that would keep me from rehiring a freelancer.


Things That You Did Wrong

Sometimes, when you lose a client it IS because of something that you did. Here are five things that would cause me not to rehire a freelancer:

  1. You didn’t listen. Clients like it when freelancers pay attention to what they need. They expect that freelancers will follow their instructions and ask questions if they don’t understand or have a problem with what they are being asked to do.
  2. You were late. Admittedly, some deadlines are arbitrary, but others are not. While everyone can have an emergency once in a while, continually missing a due date is a major problem. If the project is tied to a launch or deliverable, being late might even cost your client money.
  3. You were rude/disrespectful. There’s really no excuse for being rude or disrespectful to a client. Even if you understand what the client needs better than they do themselves, you should still be courteous to your client. No one wants to be treated badly.
  4. You have a bad reputation. It’s really important to monitor your online reputation. Believe me, most of your clients know enough to search on your name or your business name to find out what others are saying about you. Do you know your online reputation?
  5. I expected more. Like any consumer, clients want to get a good value for their money. However, sometimes your writing may fail to excite them or your design may fail to dazzle them. When this happens, they move on to a freelancer who can deliver something more to their taste.

Of course, sometimes you lose a client due to other factors.

It’s Not You, It’s Me

It may sound like a cliché, but sometimes when you lose a client it has NOTHING to do with you. Here are some of those instances:

  1. I can’t afford your services. Many clients are actually small businesses themselves or even start ups. Their budget is limited. If your experience puts you at the top of the price range for your field, it’s possible that they truly can’t afford to hire you, even if they would like to.
  2. I only need your type of services every once in a while. Some clients only need the services of a freelancer infrequently. If your client falls in this category they may indeed contact you again, but you shouldn’t rely on them for regular gigs.
  3. I’ve changed my business direction and no longer need you. Just like a freelancer, a client can change their business direction. Sometimes that changed direction means that their business no longer needs the services of a freelancer. When this happens just remember it is not personal.
  4. I found someone else. Yes, it’s true. Some clients are just plain fickle. They liked you once, but now they have a new favorite. You didn’t do anything wrong, the client just wants to try a new freelancer out and a few clients even flit from freelancer to freelancer.
  5. I forgot about you. This is one of the saddest reasons to lose a client. The client may have been perfectly happy with your work and may even wish to rehire you, but they have lost your contact information. Unless you get back in touch, they won’t be able to use your services again.

More About Managing Clients

Managing clients is a tricky, but important freelancing skill. Here are some more posts on Freelance Folder that might help:

Your Turn

Can you think of other reasons that might cause a client to stop using a freelancer?

Share your ideas in the comments.

Image by Orin Zebest