Answering your marketing agency questions: Is it time to fire a client?

Written by: Karl Sakas

Should you fire one of your marketing agency’s clients? That’s the question I’ll be answering today. I’m Karl Sakas, creative agency business consultant at

Is the client annoying, unprofitable, or just a bad fit?

So the question is—you’ve got a client who’s annoying or unprofitable (or both). Maybe things aren’t working, or maybe you’re not a good match for them any more. And now you’re wondering—should you fire them?

Yes, you should probably fire them

Well, it depends, but if you’ve gotten to the point that you’re asking that kind of a question, the answer is probably “Yes.”

If your agency is frustrated with a client, they’re probably frustrated with your agency, too, and they won’t be surprised when you suggest moving on. So yes, you probably should fire them.

Really, the bigger question is how to minimize the damage and then prevent this kind of thing happening in the future, before it gets to this point.

How to prevent this from happening again in the future

When it comes to preventing this in the future, a lot of it is about diversifying your client base, so that no single client is more than 10% of your revenues. This gives you the freedom to turn down poor fits up front, and to get rid of them sooner because you’re more secure financially.

It’s also about keeping an eye on client service problems as they happen, so you can solve them before they get worse.

During the sales intake process, you want to see if prospects are truly a good match as clients. Your business development person might conclude it’s probably going to be short-term client relationship rather than a long-term partnership.

If you know a client won’t be around long, you can decide accordingly—for instance, in declining to provide any price concessions the prospect requests. The most powerful stance in negotiating is being willing to walk away.

Send in your questions to answer

I hope that helps! Please send your questions to and I’ll answer them here at

If you need private, in-depth advice about solving a problem in your particular situation, you might be a good match for my consulting or coaching services.

Looking forward to hearing from you—talk to you soon!

Question: Have you ever fired a client at your marketing agency? How did it go?

Book Cover: "Work Less, Earn More" by Karl Sakas

Do you dread hearing from certain clients?

Know you need to end some of your client relationships, but you’re worried about revenue? Not sure where to start?

Use our free Client Inventory (aka Client Ranking Matrix) to help you get unstuck—so you can stop working with toxic clients, and focus on the ones you love.