How to fire a client?


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Well-Known Member
Apr 18, 2003
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Has anyone had to fire a client? I need some serious advice on how to do this but not come across as being rude or unprofessional.

I have a client who has been coming to me for a few months now, she had moved here from another state and on her first visit she stated to me that she is trying a few nail techs in the area as she was very fussy with her nails, i was ok with this and just done her as normal and gave her the normal service and friendliness that i give all my clients.

Well she called me a week later and rebooked with me ,so i figured ok she must have been happy, so then her next visit she comes in sits down and has this huge salad roll , im thinking ok i hope she is going to wait till later to eat that , but noooo she opens it up and starts eating this messy thing right at my table !! im trying to keep things clean but bits of lettuce are flying all over and food is dribbling out of her mouth and onto her dress and she is talking with her mouth full , im biting my tounge trying not to explode im also trying to get the food of her nails as im doing them, so in the end i politely say to her im sorry but i need you to stop eating so i can work on yoru nails i cant keep picking food off them. She looks over at me and says well im sorry i didnt get a chance to eat this morning with my #@%$^ing kids being brats before school and im going to eat and relax while you do my nails.

I took a deep breath and stopped doing her nails and said look ill wait for you to finish because i cant keep doing them with food on them. I went and made a coffee and took a few deep breaths and returned when she finished and made her re wash her hands and we started over. Then the whole time im working she is pulling her fingers up , checking each nail, "Im very fussy about my nails and you have missed bits here and i like the acrylic down this far, blah blah "

Im a very patient person so i keep going just ignoring her comments and doing my work and finish her , and of course she wants to rebook.

Im probably a bit stupid for letting it go on this long but now im at the point where i just dont want her as a client anymore, every single visit she is eating and its putting me behind because i wait for her to finish, her last appointment she was here she was 20 mins late, i always have my appointments booked on the hour so this made me late for all my other clients and i had to catch up the time during the day.

Last friday i booked her for 4pm, so there was no chance of her putting any of my other clients out , anyway she never turned up for this appointment, and i was like phew maybe she was upset and i was thinking well this is the first time im glad of a no show lol

This past friday she calls me at 9pm on my mobile , telling me she needs an appointment at 830am the next morning (saturday) i explain to her im sorry but i dont have anything , my saturdays have all regular clients and i never have a space on saturdays, well she gets all huffy and tells me her nails are hurting because its been 3 weeks since she has had infills and i need to do something about it , i explain politely to her well im sorry but you did have an appointment last friday that you didnt show up for and i cant give you another appointment till tuesday week, (which was a little exaggeration) i did have one next friday but i was trying to give her the hint , and then she says well give me a sunday appointment please, of couse she knows i dont work sunday so i say sorry we arent open sundays, " WELL I KNOW THAT !!" so i just eventually say to her , look there are nail salons open in the large shopping centres on sunday how about you try one of them, well no that wasnt good enough and she called me twice on saturday while i was working to see if anyone had cancelled and i know will keep trying :S

Im sorry for this being so long winded but needed to give you the whole idea, i have tried being patient and even tried sending her to another salon i even gave her some names lol (no i didnt give her yours cherie) lol

Without sounding horrible or mean, but this woman is so slovenly, and very unclean and careless about personal hygiene , which also makes it very hard to sit across from her for a full hour , and a few of my other clients have commented , one of my lovely clients bought me an oil burner for when she comes lol.

I want to be professional with this woman, as much as she doesnt deserve it i wont ruin my reputation by having an outburst with her , Im usually very tactful but in this situation i also need to be very firm.

Do i keep putting her off by tellign her i dont have any available appointments or do i just come straight out and tell her i dont want her business anymore?

Has anyone else been in this situation?

Kerrie :)
I have been in this situation before. Usually, you tend to hope that they never come back, but they always do!! I once had an acrylic client who seemed nice for the first two months she came to me...but it turned bad when she started to try to take advantage of me......picking at the nails, being overly picky, coming in every other day for repairs, and expecting them to be free....always 20 mins late..etc,. Well, I kindly had the front desk to tell the woman the next time she called that I was not doing enhancement services any longer, and only offered natural nail services. And I really did stop doing them for a while, because she made me feel inadequate about my work, as if I didn't know what I was doing. In the meantime I took classes to build my skills, and I eventually started doing them again. It annoys me when a client will sit there and inspect your work as if they went through training themselves!! I almost want to hand them the file and say, "Maybe you should do this yourself, I'll be back later." I also experienced a woman who not only ate a salad, ans drank juice, but also read magazines ALL on my manicure table, as I tried to do her nails, and YES they get an attitude when you ask them to stop. I simply don't believe you should put up with a client who does not respect your time, space, and expertise. That's a headache you don't need! There are plenty of sane people out there who will come to your salon. Let the ones who need meds go somewhere else. Here are a few options:

1- If you would like to handle her person to person, let her know how exactly how you feel, as professionally as possible, and see if she is willing to comply (showing up for appts, being on time, no service interruptions).

2- Whenever she tries to book with you, tell her you a booked. (This has worked for me with a nightmare client, and eventually she stopped calling because I was always "completely booked").

3- Sometimes honesty is the best policy. You can tell her that you would no longer like to take her appointments and why. This may be a reality check for her, and whether she gets upset or not, in the future, she'll possibly rethink her behavior when she comes into a place of business for services.

I hope I 'm not coming off harsh, but I been doing this long enough to know that I have a low tolerance for consistantly bad clients. Hope this helps you.
Hi there

For a start you are not supposed to eat or drink whilst having your nails done because of the dust and fumes, plus its not hygenic. You could put a sign up saying this so customers are aware. Cups must have lids on.

You will have to be firm but polite, or as the other lady said you are never free these days are you. This sort of customer is a pain, she's got you wrapped around her finger and is taking advantage of your good nature.

For missing the appointment you must have a clause on the consultation form which they sign, to say, if they don't give you 24hrs notice you will charge them 50% of the cost of the missed appointment. Or every time they are a week late the fee is more - as someone else suggested on another thread.

As for ringing you at 9pm you should explain to your clients not to ring you after a certain time, or have a mobile just for business which you turn off at a certain time, or turn off your phone anyway but you may worry in case its friends or family trying to get hold of you. Sometimes it's a bad move giving customers your mobile number.

Don't put up with her any longer.

I think that diya's advice is very good and gives you a few options.

There is a health & safety issue with the 'eating at the desk' thing and the client should be made aware that just like smoking, this is not allowed. If she is not happy with the salon rules she will have to find another salon that will meet her needs.

I have had the odd demanding client in the past and have always suggested that if I am not meeting thier needs, then maybe they should try another technician. It worked both times. One left and one stayed but stopped being so demanding. The one that left came bck 2 years later after trying every other salon in the area and being asked to leave. I asked her to respect my time and my expertise and we would get along fine, otherwise she would have to be serviced by the junior. She came to heel finally and has been a customer for 12 years!!
Thank you for all of your great advice and suggestions.

I am a little too much of a pushover at times, i guess it goes back to when i was quieter and would put up with alot more for fear of losing a client which i couldnt afford then.

I will be firm with this woman and explain to her exactly how i feel, i mean that appointment she had booked last week cost me money i turned away business because her name was in my book.

Im working right now on getting that sign made no eating or drinking i called my cousin who is a sign writer and he is making for me and will have it ready tuesday.

I know i am way too soft and will have to get tougher , i guess i hate confrontation and do my best most of the time to avoid it , but im going to have to grit my teeth and put it straight to this woman, and if she doesnt like it which im sure she wont then tough lol

again thank you all for taking the time to help me out your suggestions have given me some thoughts and ideas how to work out this situation, ill let you know how it works out :)

Hi Ladies,

Kerrie I sympithise with your situation, I have a terrible track record for letting cleints walk all over me. Only in the past year or so have I gained the courrage to "fire a client". I always felt I should put up with seriously difficult clients because turning any bussines away would be madness, their money is the same colour as everyone else's afterall. But sometimes people just go too far. I too have some regular salad roll munchers, juice and coffee drinkers. A reall pet hate for some of my staff is the 'baby on the knee' client. They say 'my husband is just parking the car, he'll be here to take the baby in a minute', but time goes on, and we see the husband stroling around outside or sitting in the car. We end up running behind and irritating the other clients with crying/screaming etc, and because the client has done it once and we said nothing she thinks she can keep bringing her little bundal of joy to sit on her knee while we perform her service. It would not be practical for us to ban children from the salon and most clients bring somone with them to mind the little one and thats fine, but some just take it too far.
We also have the odd client turn up drunk, this is a reall tricky one. The one concellation is that they tend to buy lots of retail items! lol
I understand your concern for your proffesional reputation. There is nothing upsets me more than to think a client is out there in the world bad mouthing me. But you can't please all of the people all of the time. I have got my self into some bad situations over the years by alowing unacceptable client behaviour to carry on. I really draw the line if a client makes one of my staff cry. In this situation I have to make sure my proffesional hat stays FIRMLY on, because it makes me so angry.
Diya and Deb have givin you some great advice. It's up to you how far you take it and how honest you want to be with the woman. I would start with being 'fully booked' all the time and see how it goes. But somtimes honesty is the best policy and it may have to come to that.

I hope it all works out for you. Sounds like you have some really sweet clients if they are bringing you oil burners in sympathy! :) I'd love to hear how you get on.
People just take the micky. I was asked to do a 16yr old's nails last week at my local salon. My husband was at home so I didn't need to get my mum to come 12 miles to babysit. I cart all my gear over there, set up the table, wait, and then her mother turns up and said "Oh she's not here she didn't know what was happening, she's up at the yard mucking out and waiting for the farrier!" As you can imagine I was pretty pee'd off, I have horses and I know for a fact you book farriers well in advance. No call to apologise, if she rings me to book an appointment I shall refuse and explain why.

Another recent event, popped a note into hairdressers asking for room to rent, the guy rings we make an appointment, he rings to cancel, I re-arrange another 1 for Saturday 0830 as hub will be home to take care of the kids! Turned up and the receptionist said "Oh he's overslept, do you want to go off and do something and come back", I said "'ill wait 20 mins (surely all he has to do is brush his teeth and quick wash, lived there), I waited and he didn't show. I was livid, would he have done that to a paying customer I wonder? His loss not mine, I wont be looking to rent his room now.

Lesson learnt, I will always ring first before leaving my house to make sure they will be there!
People just couldn't care less these days, the only way to sort them out is to make it very clear that you are not impressed and they have cost you time, money and other inconveniences. These sort of people are not worth the time or effort, you don't need them for clients.

Good luck, learn by your experiences and don't let it happen again, best way.

Praise the Lord, I thought it was just me who got the crabby clients. I used to (thank got that is past tense) do a girl's nails who resembled pig pen off Snoopy! She didn't just hum she had the Hallelujah chorus going on!! -- she stank so much that I was nearly physically sick on a few occasions, we had to keep her coat seperate from everyone else's and when she left we would have to spray the salon with air spray - like you all It was the onnly no show I was relieved to happen!!!!!!! I have a fw picky ladies, latecomers etc. I now tell them off in a joking way saying I do know what I am doing! I also put up a sign to ask people to help me be on time by arriving on time - if they didn't then I would either have to hurry their nails, or rebook them - repeated offenders were turned away to make a point, and boy did it work ... they have always been on time since.

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