For a client project, we have a client who is always looking for free add ons. The problem is that when I tell them 'no, we can do this but it will cost you' they go ultra emotional and kick up an absolute stink.

How do you guys handle clients like this?

  • 3
    What are the consequences of their negative reactions? Are you overruled at a higher level and made to give freebies? What kind of organisation do you work for? What kind of work is it?
    – Marv Mills
    Apr 18, 2016 at 12:40

1 Answer 1


Let them be emotional.

You do risk losing your client because there are many in this game that give away stuff all the time but there are a ton of downstream threats caused by that that negatively impact both the client and the ones giving free stuff away. That said, if they find your work valuable, then likely it's just a tantrum to try to get their way.

There are other clients out there. Why degrade your profit margin and take on other risks for a client when you can replace them with another and maintain a healthier profit margin.

EDIT: There is a presumption in projects that change will happen and that it will impact cost, price, and time. So you can approach this with an 'assumptive close,' that you assume the client already knows there will be a cost impact and, therefore, you are merely telling them how much. The "no" is implicit.

Validate the efficacy of the change, describe the cost and schedule impacts, state your company's position and then simply let them throw their tantrums. You never have to curtly say no.

  • Is there a way to tell them 'no'? I always get weary about appearing curt about it.
    – bobo2000
    Apr 18, 2016 at 14:00
  • We decided to tell them 'no', unless they are willing to pay for it. Thanks David
    – bobo2000
    Apr 19, 2016 at 7:32

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