arrow11 Comments
  1. Joy
    Oct 26 - 9:07 am

    Even freelancers can become victims of office politics. I did a small job for a large company with the understanding that it would be the first of many assignments. When that turned out to be false, I felt like I had wasted my time and was pretty angry. I never let the client know this and sent one follow up email, keeping tabs on future opportunities there on my own. Ultimately my gracious attitude won me an even better steady gig with them down the road. Never burn a bridge.

  2. Chris
    Oct 26 - 10:06 am

    Great post. I actually wrote something on the same topic recently. It’s difficult to know when to say “goodbye” because there are a number of factors to consider. However, sometimes the loss of income is worth it if the client is just stressing you out. I’ve let a couple of clients go for being rude or low paying– but none just yet for being unresponsive. I do have one client right now who isn’t getting back to me in a timely manner, but I figure I’ll give it another month or two before I let them go. Thanks!
    Chris´s last blog post ..When’s It Time to Let a Client Go

  3. [...] How Do You Handle Unresponsive Clients? [...]

  4. Tamar Cloyd
    Oct 26 - 11:01 am

    Great post! I too have worked with unresponsive clients. One client in particular is like this, but he has consistently reappeared and offered me all kinds of gigs that weren’t necessarily related to fundraising. I agree with Joy that we should never burn bridges. Being MIA doesn’t necessarily mean a no to your business. It often just means, not right now…
    Tamar Cloyd´s last blog post ..Fundraising in the 23rd Hour

  5. John Soares
    Oct 26 - 12:18 pm

    Olivia, we have a similar attitude toward unresponsive clients. I write for textbook publishers, and editors in the textbook publishing business can be very inconsistent with communication. If business slows a bit, I send out e-mails to editors I’ve worked for before asking if they have any projects coming up. Frequently I don’t here back from them — until it’s three or four months later and they have work for me.
    John Soares´s last blog post ..How to Win Multiple Freelance Writing Assignments

  6. AprilMay
    Oct 26 - 1:23 pm

    Ditto here…I have dropped two big clients in the last two years due to unresponsiveness (after sending a final, polite email). I think what bothers me is how unprofessional it is. If you don’t have any more work for me (or perhaps you just want to let me go), please do the right thing and just tell me! I promise I can handle it!
    AprilMay´s last blog post ..The Teaching Drug

  7. Carol
    Oct 26 - 6:27 pm

    I’m not sure why you think you have to write a kiss-off letter to this client. They’ve paid their bill, so they’re not a deadbeat.
    What occurs to me is their silence may not be about you. Maybe the client is swamped. Maybe their other projects aren’t ready to go yet. Or their mom died. Maybe their server has crashed and they’re not getting emails.
    I say just back off and maybe be in touch in a month or two…and a month or two after that.
    I have a folder on my desktop called “Dormant Clients.” When a relationship seems inactive, I throw their folder inside there. If it comes back to life, it’s just there, ready to pull out and get back to work on again.
    Carol´s last blog post ..15 Small Changes to Turbocharge Your Blog

  8. Joe Mullich
    Oct 26 - 8:25 pm

    First things first: you have nothing to sever. The client hired you for one project, you finished it, and he paid you. Your obligations to each other are fulfilled. It’s good to keep in touch with clients, but you’re making a mistake if you treat a casual mention of future possible projects as a promise those projects are coming your way.

    It is certainly reasonable to ping the client, tell him your availability, and ask if he wants to lock you down. (But it can certainly backfire if you present this as a threat.) Believe me, I know it’s frustrating when people are nonresponsive, but that’s so common these days that you will give yourself an ulcer if you overreact to it. We are in an age of non-response, and you can’t always know what a non-response means.

    My feeling is the best approach is to remain in contact. And contact isn’t just asking for work. It’s about sending links or other material that will be useful to the client. When you keep in touch, give stuff; don’t just ask for work.

  9. Krists
    Oct 27 - 11:17 am

    I agree with what others are saying. If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that a client’s talk about “potential projects” doesn’t mean much. I’d estimate that at least 50 percent of my “potential projects” don’t come through in the end for whatever reason.

    I have several clients that I’ve worked with for years. I don’t hear from some of them for months at a time, even when I e-mail about available projects. But there’s no reason to sever the relationship. They might come back with something in the future…or maybe not.

    Unfortunately, there are no guarantees in freelancing.

  10. Perry Rose
    Oct 30 - 10:37 pm

    How do I handle unresponsive clients?
    I don’t.
    After the second e-mail to him or her, I move on.

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