[mea] FW: dropping a client

  • From: "Cheri Frazer" <CFrazer@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <mea@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2007 17:47:49 -0600

Hi, everyone:

After our meeting this week about freelance issues I thought you might
enjoy discussing the issues in the message below. I've posted it here
with permission from the author (this was posted on the EAC listserv

Most of us who have done freelance editing have at some point dealt with
a stinker client. How would *you* handle the situation below?

(The author of the message would like me to share the replies; if you'd
prefer your reply to be private, please say so in your message (I will
remove all names and contact info anyway). Thanks!)

-----Original Message-----
Am I nuts to think about dropping the client that pays me my highest
It's almost time to renew our contract, and I am just not sure I want

- Always pay the bill (though somewhat slowly)
- Accepts my highest rate
- Supplies work each year, though it varies in amount

- Constantly shifts the date the document might be ready but expects to
send it as soon as it arrives
- Isn't clear when relaying the editorial requirements
- Changes the style every time a new document comes out and seems to
think I will use my ESP to figure this out
- Never sends changes to the style guide made in-house
- Makes me feel like an idiot when telling me I missed these new changes
while editing
- Asks for ridiculously quick turnaround times
- Sends me a document and tells me half of it will be replaced with new
text while I am editing (!)
- Generally irritates the heck of me

Here's the thing, though, the client is a government ministry. It feels
wrong, somehow, not to want a government contact. But I am not sure that
the agitation I feel is worth even my top rate. I think I'd rather earn
a little less per hour and work on projects I enjoy. I used to put up
with it because I really liked the one person I usually worked with, but
she's been promoted and isn't the freelancers' contact anymore. I don't
seem to get along with the person I now work, and I feel as if she
really doesn't like me. She didn't choose me; she inherited me.

I could make up some of the income with other clients. Financially, it
wouldn't hurt too much to cut this one loose--but what if that isn't
always the case? We've all seen publishing houses close, and most of my
other clients are publishers. The ministry isn't going anywhere.

What would you do? Keep the client, smile when you cash the cheque, and
spend some of the money on a meditation class? Or drop the client, lower
your blood pressure, and go back to enjoying your work? Do you pick
money or quality of worklife?

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