What Are Your ‘Bad Clients’ COSTING You?

Running a successful business doesn’t just rely on your ability to win new work and new clients; it relies on dropping bad clients too.

Letting go of work may sound counter intuitive, but it is so often a fundamental key to a business’ success.

You wouldn’t believe how many customers we’ve seen running temp desks at a loss, either due to margins continually being squeezed or working with legacy clients that they haven’t been able to let go of.

Are you prepared to stop working with a client?

Understanding your boundaries are vital and acknowledging that you have boundaries is the first step!

But what is working with the wrong clients actually going to cost you?

Customer Service

Your customer service levels are directly affected by how much time, energy and effort you are able to dedicate to your customer base as a whole.

We have all experienced the phenomena of the ‘nightmare client’ who vies continually for your attention by shouting the loudest.

If your time is asymmetrically spent dealing with a problem client, then your ability to serve your other clients is diminished – it’s quite straight forward, and clearly a problem.

At Quba we have to continually check ourselves, and in fact we have had to make the difficult [but vital] business decisions to drop certain clients over the years in order to maximise our customer service across the board.

Your recruitment desk is no different – how much of your time is being soaked up by the ‘nightmare client’ who embroils you into their drama and their commotions? How prepared to drop them are you? Being able to let go is the necessary skill that facilitates the freedom to choose.

It is your job to continually be choosing the clients you work with as much as you expect your clients to continually choose to work with you.


It’s clear how customer service can be affected by the inability to let go of certain clients, but what about profitability?

As an agency or independent freelance recruiter you need to be constantly asking yourself where is your value – where is your ROI?

We see agencies all the time working with end clients that just don’t make any money – and that’s before the effort, the commission, the factoring fees are all taken into account.

Check whether you are making a loss – and not just at the start of the relationship, or the initial placement, but over time as margins get squeezed. It is easy in freelance recruitment to be blindsided by the concept of needing to “get another temp out” – but if that temp is going to be soaking up your time and energy without making you a profit – your gross margin will in fact be taking a hit just for the vanity metric of having another temp out!

Keep bringing everything back to your gross margins. Don’t work with clients if the profit is too low to justify the risk you are taking in investing your time and resources into the placement.

So many agencies don’t understand the metrics of how they make the cash.

Instead of continually looking to get another temp out, you could be focusing on increasing your margins and increasing the average hours your temps work – and be ready and willing to drop those clients who you are not making enough [or any] money from. Your time, energy, stress, resources require you to do so.

If you are interested in learning more about how to transfer your funding provisions and why Quba could be the right fit for you, drop us a line on 01305 231171 for a confidential chat or fill out our online contact form.

(Also, if you are interested in learning more about Ash walking away from meetings if people were 10 minutes late then ask us too – choosing your clients requires your dignity! :P)