Articles > Business > When, Why & How: Breaking Up With A Client
Last updated: August 29, 2023

When, Why & How: Breaking Up With A Client

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Photo Credit: Instagram via @beautybusinessguide

Use These 5 Tips To Let Go Of Your Toxic Clients

We’ve all had our fair share of clients who just don’t click. Maybe they are frequently late to appointments, constantly ask for redos or don’t agree with price changes. No matter the reason, there’s no easy way around it: It’s time to break up with your client.


Keep scrolling for beauty business guru Michelle (@beautybusinessguide)‘s advice for when, why and how to part ways with a toxic client. 


1. Understand that client breakups are completely normal. 

Just like you outgrow people in your everyday life, you outgrow clients behind the chair. There’s no shame in letting a client who is not right for you or your business go free. You’ll not only open your chair to new clients who are a right fit for you, but you’ll also eliminate a lot of unnecessary mental strain.


Pro tip: There’s no timeline for client-stylist breakups! Whether it’s their first appointment or their 100th, you are always free to step away from a client.



2. Prevent miscommunication through detailed consultations.

If you suspect you’re dealing with a toxic client, one of the best ways to come out relatively unscathed is by having in-depth, thorough communicationespecially during consultations. Michelle finds that explaining a service in great detail—complete with starting points, expectations, upkeep and future options—can help prevent issues before they even arrive for their appointment.


By giving the client as much information about their service to-be, you’re eliminating any basis for miscommunication. Then, you’re able to distinguish whether or not the client is actually good fit for the service you’re about the provide. Think of it as eliminating the problem before it becomes one!


If you’re not sure how to deal with a refund request, here’s Michelle’s advice:

Photo Credit: Instagram via @beautybusinessguide


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3. Recognize when a client is crossing your boundaries.

The signs of a deteriorating client-stylist relationship can come on suddenly or happen over a period of time. Here are some of Michelle’s tell-tale signs to keep on your radar:


The client is over-stepping your boundaries by:


  • Expecting “more” during the service, despite the service being explained in full detail
  • Being shocked by the cost or frequency of upkeep
  • Being unhappy with the results they asked for
  • Constantly asking for a redo—bonus points if they want it discounted or free of charge
  • Consistently arriving late or cancelling their appointments 
  • Having buyers remorse and asking for a full or partial refund


Pro tip: If you’re continuing your education and adding more value to your service menu, never let client relations hold you back from rightfully upping your prices! If a client truly values your service and expertise, they will respect your decision.


Here’s how Michelle communicates with clients who aren’t familiar with the pricing of her service menu:

Photo Credit: Instagram via @beautybusinessguide


4. Use ONLY effective communication in awkward situations.

No matter how difficult a client may be, it’s essential not to burn bridges when firing them. Breaking up with your clients in a reasonable way helps protect you from bad reviews and secure your safety on the job. Sounds like a win-win, right?


Here’s how Michelle eases the blow:


  1. Emphasize that parting ways isn’t a punishment or passive aggressive; it’s out of concern for the client and their hair
  2. Offer the client their info and formulas
  3. Send them a well-worded message detailing the breakup after the appointment is already over
  4. Be firm that there is no other resolution than to part ways


Is your client asking for last minute changes to their appointment? Here’s how Michelle’s handles it:

Photo Credit: Instagram via @beautybusinessguide


5. Utilize service agreements to communicate details.

Have your clients, new and old, sign a one-and-done service agreement. In tough situations, you will always have this written agreement to rely on and back you up. That way, you have a protected window to resolve the issue or simply break up.


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