When Can A PR Agency Fire A Client?

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Whether we couldn’t get along with a client or just didn’t like them for whatever reason, we’ve all had a client or two that we wished could just disappear.

However, it’s not easy to end a relationship. An agency still needs to make money, pay employee salaries and benefits, and still make sure it does everything it can before officially declaring it is better off with that particular client.

This all leads to today’s poll question:


5 comments on “When Can A PR Agency Fire A Client?

  1. I think it is within an agency’s rights to fire a client if:
    a) The demands are out of hand
    b) They are mistreating the PR team
    c) The work has slowed to a media monitoring dribble & having them as a client prevents the agency from pitching other organizations in the same industry.

    • This is a very tough question and something that really needs to be handled on a case-by-case basis. The overall picture has to be examined before making a decision, IMO.

      Thanks for the thoughts, Iris!

  2. Firing a client is NEVER an easy decision to make, now matter how bad the situation is at hand. That being said, an agency can fire a client whenever they like – as long as they are prepared to handle the repercussions. These can include money challenges – as you mentioned – but also, employee security, industry perception, the rumor mill and other such non tangible but still important considerations.

    Having just made this very tough decision myself recently, I can say that it’s always important to weigh the long term benefits with the short term gain – or pain. When an account is a loss leader across multiple attributes: profitability, agency employee happiness, respect, etc. – and a negative influence on your overall agency’s health and vitality – then it’s time to let them go. When a client refuses to recognize that your team turns out great work and respect your agency as a true partner – rather than a vendor to push around – it’s probably best to go. Of course, you should always first make an effort to address such issues with them and give them time to make necessary changes for improving the working relationship. But, if you have and the mentality doesn’t change, it probably never will.

    Make the leap – you’ll be alright, and probably better in the long run.

    That’s what leaders do – make the tough decisions.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post.

    Christine Perkett

  3. In today’s economy, letting a client go is the last thing we want to do! However, for me, it’s all about respect. If I feel like my client doesn’t respect me or takes advantage of me, I need to stay true to myself and realize it’s OK to part ways.

  4. Pingback: Does Your Agency Have Summer Fridays? « PR at Sunrise

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