How to Fire Your Worst Clients

A woman dumping dead leaves in to compost - how to fire your worst clients

What if you could trade your five worst clients for five more of your best clients?

Earlier this series, I wrote about your “Seed Clients” and told you how to identify and best serve your ideal clients.

Mike Michalowicz’s book on the topic, “The Pumpkin Plan,” formed the strategy we teach in our mentorship program. We tailor his strategy for gyms, of course. When Michalowicz was on our podcast,  he also talked about what to do with your worst clients.

If you’re like me, that phrase—“worst clients”—sent a shiver up your spine.

The clients are always right—aren’t they? Don’t we need to latch onto every client we can possibly get?


Feeding our “weed clients” takes time, energy and value away from our Seed Clients.

What if you could trade your worst clients for better ones? Who would you swap?

There’s value in knowing who your best clients are—and who they aren’t. Because when we identify where our best clients come from, what they want, and why they stay, we attract more like them.

And when we identify the same characteristics of our worst clients, we avoid painful mistakes in the future.

Identifying Your Worst Clients

Let’s start our top-secret list with an exercise. It’s the inverse of the Seed Client exercise we did earlier in this series.

Make two lists:

List 1—the people who pay the least for your coaching. Calculate this by dividing their monthly rate by their average visits. No judgment here; we just want to know who pays the least per visit.

List 2—who complains most? Who makes your energy drop when they walk through the door?

Now compare the two lists. Which names appear on both?

Michalowicz would have you fire those people immediately. (Here’s how to do it.) But if that’s uncomfortable for you, no problem; when you start improving your gym, they’ll probably leave anyway.

Ask yourself what your Weed Clients have in common.

  • Where did they come from?
  • How much do they pay?
  • What are their requests?
  • How are these answers different from those of your Seed Clients?

If all your “worst clients” came from six-week challenges, consider forgoing more six-week challenges.

If all your “squeaky wheels” are currently paying at a discounted rate, consider eliminating discounts.

If your most disruptive clients are likely to quit if you raise your rates, consider making the same money with fewer people. Then raise your rates.

Every client is a good client—until they’re not.

And a person can be a great person without being a great client. They can even be your friend without being a great client.

The Trade Deadline

You don’t need everyone.

If you ask yourself, “How did I get this client?” for both your Seeds and your Weeds, you can start trading worst for best by modifying your own behaviors.

Stop doing the things that grow weeds and start sowing more seeds. Your deadline to start making those “trades” is Dec. 31.

What’s your plan?

(We teach the process step-by-step in our Affinity Marketing plan. It’s part of our mentorship program.)

Other Media in This Series

“Seeds and Weeds”
“Seeds and Weeds: Your Best Clients”
“Love Makes Your Garden Grow”
“The Fired Client Rebellion and the Comeback of the Year”
“How to Upgrade Your Clients”
“Video Recap: Seed Clients and Weed Clients”


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.