I do a bit of consulting work for a client with whom I would like to terminate our business relationship. We've been working together for roughly three months, and the problems are severalfold:
- He refuses to consider that the environment he's chosen is completely inappropriate for the job and necessitates a lot more coding than should be necessary (he's having me build a database -- in Excel);
- The rate he's paying me is shockingly low. To be sure, this is all my fault, but he was one of my first clients and I lowballed the price just to get the work. I'm now in a position where I can be a bit choosy, and frankly, if he came to me as a new client right now offering to pay what he's paying me, there's no way I'd take the job. Increasing the rate mid-job (probably by a factor of 10-15 to get it in line with my normal rate these das) seems skeevy to me;
- He's got quite a condescending attitude (e.g., "I don't think you're testing this before you send it to me" when he finds a bug); and
- If I don't respond to his emails in what he deems a timely fashion, he starts laying on the 'tude (e.g., "I need to know if you're still going to support the code you wrote") -- and this is only a couple of hours after the initial email.
The project on which we're working was released about a month ago, and is stable. He recently came to me proposing some enhancements (at additional cost, of course), and I apparently had either forgotten how awful this job was, or was drinking heavily at the time, because I agreed to take on the first of the enhancements with the rest to be revisited after the first enhancement was complete. The first round of enhancements has been delivered and tested, and he's happy with it. I wouldn't be leaving him high and dry with a half-completed project, but I recognize that he will suffer a burden in having to find someone to pick up where I left off.
I never thought I'd be in a position where I could turn away work, so this isn't something I have the first clue about. If anyone out there can provide any tips on how (or even whether) to let this guy go firmly yet gracefully, I'd really appreciate it.
NB: I've read these three comments
, which provide great guidance for taking on future jobs, but don't help much with how to terminate an existing relationship.