Freelance Fridays: When Your Client Wants to Cancel, Part 3

Welcome back to our client cancellations series!

In Parts 1 and 2, we discussed scenarios in which outsiders are fully or partially responsible for the client’s desire to discontinue services.

Today’s a little tougher. Today, it’s about you.

What do you do if the problem seems to be all you? The five-step plan for reaching a resolution that I outlined in Part 2 for subcontractors still applies when there’s nobody else in the picture but you and your client. But while following the steps, you need to self-evaluate and determine what went wrong and what, if anything, you must change.

It’s time for some tough questions. Go through each of these. Answer each one honestly.

Does your client like you? 

Did you lie to get this person’s business? 

Did you exaggerate your own abilities?

Does the work you submitted match up to what you said you’d deliver?

Did you overpromise?

Did you complete the job?

Did you both agree to anything that’s written down or recorded somewhere?

Did you meet deadline?

Did you go over budget?

Did you communicate your role poorly?

Did you agree to provide discounted, free or “extra” services to this client as a condition of doing this job?

Did you ever submit an estimate or quote that the client accepted?

If the client requested changes that required budget or time adjustments, did you not

ify the client of this  in advance?

Now that you’ve spent some time examining your own role in the conflict, ask yourself just one more question: Based on this, did I do anything wrong?

If that answer is “No,” your client’s position may not be a reasonable one. Follow the five-step plan, but  especially note the client evaluation section. Depending on your individual situation, this may be a “problem client” that you don’t wish to work with again.

But if your answer is “Yes,” then you need to make things right.

Good luck!


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