Not All Clients Are Equal
Your MSP business is going to have good clients and bad clients. For a while, you’re likely going to be stuck with some lemons. As you develop and expand, keeping these on because you need the assets could prove an unnecessary drain on your MSP, involving high opportunity cost. Bad clients will badmouth you when they’re the one who did something exceptionally stupid. Additionally, they will waste as much of your time and resources as they can. Good clients will use you as much as they can already; a bad client doing that, and collaterally damaging reputation, can actually end up hurting you much more if they’re retained, than if they’re let go. Following are five clients you should probably show the door, even perhaps going so far as to express your desire the door doesn’t smack into their backside on the way out. These terrible clients include:
• The Quid Pro Quo Joe
• Payment Pending Patrick
• The Expletive King
• Fear Me, Fool!
• I Win, You Lose
The Quid Pro Quo Joe
When you were starting out as an MSP business, you had to make deals where possible, doing your dead-level best to squeeze every available economic advantage out of every corner of your operational model. Well, eventually, you got past that. You didn’t even know you lost support infrastructure as a result.
See, many startups try to maximize their involvement with support by treating such options like less of a service, and more as an integrated component of their business. They act like they’ve bought you, in the same way, employing an internal IT team would predicate continuous on-site support. They’ll call you continuously and expect the moon— they want you to have “skin in the game.” The thing is, they want you to scratch their back, but even if they had the desire to, they can’t scratch yours. This client will cost you time, and the opportunity to work with better paying, less-demanding clients.
Payment Pending Patrick
You know Patrick. His cousin is Popeye’s Wimpy; “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” Well, Patrick wants your MSP support now, and won’t pay you until the last possible moment— and even then, you’ve got to chase them down and give them the stink eye. You’re going to have a number of these clients as you start out. When you establish yourself in a more sustainable way, amicably end your business relationship with such clients and don’t look back.
The Expletive King
Maybe you can stand some harsh language, but a professional paying thousands of dollars for MSP service who can’t control his mouth is apt to fly off the handle and damage you. If every third word starts with “F” and rhymes with “duck,” then let that client be. You don’t need their money.
Fear Me, Fool!
If you have a client who sits you down in an initial meeting and says something like: “You’ve got one chance to fail, and that’s it,” in tones that evoke a pre-scandal Kevin Spacey business flick, give him the Hollywood boot. You’re going to mess up even if you’re the best MSP in the world, and then that guy’s got the drop on you. You don’t need that sort of hassle; it’s not worth it. You’ll lose more than you gain collaterally and directly.
I Win, You Lose
This client is likely to have superiors to whom they must answer. You’ll find this individual is climbing the corporate ladder, and there tend to be a preponderance of stern-featured females with plastic smiles. What they’ll do is claim any success in terms of IT is all due to their wise orchestration of your MSP services. Then if anything goes wrong, it’s your fault and you get the full brunt of their superiors’ wrath. Don’t tolerate that, let that client go.
Any MSP business is going to have difficulties. Some can be prevented. Clients like those outlined here are going to cause you more harm than good. You may not be able to avoid them initially, but as soon as you can, let them go.