Punishing clients with the threat of charging them more money to get them to stop doing something you don’t want is a terrible business practice and a rotten dynamic to create in your relationship.
Paying you should feel good. It should feel like a reward for getting something great that they gain from, that improves their life and business.
Instead, you are training them to view paying you as a negative experience, a punishment.
I get that sometimes we take on bad clients. Sometimes when we are new, we sometimes expect clients to just “know” how our business runs and how they are to interact with us. And yes, you do need to put certain terms in your contract (such as late fees and interest rates and in what situations they will be applied) in order to have legally enforceable contracts.
But here’s a better idea: choose better clients. 😉
Don’t take on just any client, and never take on clients just for the money. That never ends well.
Get clear about who an ideal client is in your business and who is not. Write those things down.
List what red flags to watch out and listen for that tell you someone is likely to be a pain in the ass who doesn’t respect you or your business. And then don’t work with those people.
Pay attention to your gut when it tells you someone isn’t going to be a fit. Don’t ignore it and step over your standards.
Stop being desperate. Be more discerning about who you allow on your client roster.
Do more prequalifying.
Conduct more thorough consultations (get my guide that shows you EXACTLY how to do that).
Get clearer about what your standards, boundaries, policies and procedures are in your business.
Then do a better job of communicating those things to clients by writing them down in a Client Guide, giving it to every new client, and then going over that information with them (in the case of retainer clients) in a New Client Orientation before you begin working together.
Fire any client who can’t get with the program and continues to ignore your policies and processes and/or disrespect you.
Bad clients are unprofitable. Working with bad clients is never worth the trouble. It’s also unethical to work with bad clients because you can’t do your best work for any client you don’t have good feelings for and are drained by.
They eat up far more space in your business than you realize with the negative energy and problems they create. The psychological toll that takes costs more than any money you might be able to recoup.