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Bad Customer – 7 Ways to Identify

No one likes a bad customer. The bad customer comes from hell and makes your business and life miserable. But the fact is we need to deal with bad customers in business.

I have so many times come across bad customers. I call them the customer from hell. The ones who suck the life out of you, the one who doesn’t appreciate you, who doesn’t pay you what you are worth. Now seriously, you know what I’m talking about, right? 

Those clients. Now no one pointed a gun to your head and said you have to take on those clients. You chose to take on those clients.

And what if there’s a way you could tell if a client is gonna make your life miserable before he or she became a client?

Here are the seven ways to identify bad customers. 

bad customer

Bad Customer – 7 Ways to Identify 

#1 They Don’t Respect your Time

Bad customers never respect your time. When you set up a meeting with them, they are always late, on even multiple meetings, right?

Always late, always have a reason why they cannot be there on time, or they cancel their meetings with you last minute or they’re always rescheduling.

What are they saying to you? They don’t respect your time. But what they’re really saying is we don’t respect you, right?

And your time is your most valuable commodity. Your expertise, and your energy, they’re your most valuable commodities.

Don’t let someone abuse your time like that, right? Or you’re meeting the prospect for the first time and they’re saying things to you like, oh I have only got minutes for you.

I’ve only got five minutes for this meeting so go ahead tell me what you have to tell me. See, they don’t respect your time. Or even after they become customers, think of if you have clients like that right now.

That they’re always calling you at nonscheduled times. They’re interrupting you. And they expect you to get back to them very quickly, but when you need something from them, that you need paperwork, you need them to follow through on certain things, it takes you days to hear from them.

So think about the customers that you have right now. In short bad customers do not respect your time.

#2 They don’t respect your expertise

Bad customers don’t respect your expertise. They have very little respect for what you do, your expertise, and your skills.

They always check up on your work, they are control freaks, and they tell you how to do your job, they nitpick about everything, and they’re always disappointed when you send your work to them, just like, I don’t know, that’s not good enough, I don’t like it, I don’t like that.

And they want you to change a lot of different things, and they’re never satisfied, right?

But they can tell you what they don’t like, and they cannot give you constructive feedback, all they could say is just, hey, I don’t like this and I don’t like that. 

Oh and also sometimes they will send you emails that require long long replies.

#3 The prospect doesn’t want to sign a contract

Now, this happens sometimes, there is a lot of back and forth, and you spend a lot of time, and the prospect is nitpicking every single line in the agreement, right?

And they’re wasting a lot of time focused on what’s not important instead of focusing on what’s important and that is delivering results and value to your prospect.

You also notice that they will always wanna fight you, they like to argue and they like to win, right?

They want to just argue with you all the time. That’s a sign that it’s a bad customer.

#4 They are Looking for the Cheapest Provider 

Before you even talk about what you do, they’re already asking you for a discount or maybe free service. Recently, I faced a similar problem when Dr.J (a bad customer) asked for a free course.

Hey man, you gotta give me a deal. Take 20% off, 30 take % off, right?

Always twisting your arms to give them a better deal before they even know the value that you can provide, before they understand your value proposition.

That’s a potentially bad customer from hell. Or after you start working with them, they’re always pushing you, they’re always trying to get something from you, asking you to do extra work without compensating you for it, right?

They are intimidating you, right? I call that Project Scope Creep, that you have this project scope that you both agreed on, you and your client, between both of you, and now before you know it, you’re doing a little bit more extra work. Before you know it, you’re doing a whole bunch of extra work without getting paid.

Or they’re also constantly reminding you why your fee is high. 

Oh man, you charge a little bit too much. Your competitors charge less than that. Maybe you should give me a deal, right? They’re always reminding you why your fee is high, not knowing your value, and they threaten you to walk away constantly.

#5 They are your Family & Friends

It’s almost always a big no to do business with family and friends. There are exceptions but not many. 

The problem is that you grew up with them. They know what you do, they know who you are, and they probably don’t have a whole lot of faith in you.

And even if you go the extra mile, you do the extra work, they feel like, hey, you’re like my buddy, you’re my cousin, you’re my brother, you’re my sister, right?

They don’t appreciate your expertise. So be very, very careful who you take on as a customer, especially family and friends.

Warning sign number six, the prospect is in a rush.

#6 Prospect or Customer in Rush

See these types of customers have unrealistic expectations or deadlines that they want you to meet, and that puts unnecessary pressure on you.

Or they’re thinking that, hey, you know what? I want this done in a month, but knowing you know that it takes three months, six months, or even a year or more to get the desired result, they don’t understand.

You see, then you’re setting yourself up for failure, and you are setting yourself up for disappointment. So be very, very careful. This is a disaster.

You probably don’t want a bad potential customer, a prospect like that.

#7 They Don’t Pay you on Time

Bad Customer never pays you on time and they always have some kind of excuse for why they’re paying you late.

You send them an invoice, you always worry because you don’t know when you’re gonna get your money. Or if you follow up too much, you might come across as too desperate,and that might affect the relationship, right?

Or sometimes they don’t pay you on time and they don’t pay you at all, but they continue to demand you to do some extra work and say I’m gonna pay you back very, very soon, right? 

Soon enough. That’s a problem. That is a bad customer.

So, I have these 7 ways to identify a bad customer. If you feel that something more needs to be added or if you are facing a similar problem in your business send me an e-mail at

Note – This post is dedicated to all entrepreneurs who face the problem of bad customers.

Shitanshu Kapadia
Shitanshu Kapadia
Hi, I am Shitanshu founder of I am engaged in blogging & Digital Marketing for 10 years. The purpose of this blog is to share my experience, knowledge and help people in managing money. Please note that the views expressed on this Blog are clarifications meant for reference and guidance of the readers to explore further on the topics. These should not be construed as investment , tax, financial advice or legal opinion. Please consult a qualified financial planner and do your own due diligence before making any investment decision.