If you’d like to end an engagement with a client and part ways, there are some dos and don’ts you should follow.
Dos of Ending Your Contract
Give your client ample notice. In a traditional W-2 role, notifying your employer 2 weeks before your departure is standard, but in the freelance space, one month’s notice is typically preferred. Due to the nature of freelancing, there may be ongoing projects that can’t be left half-done. Providing your client with at least one month's notice allows you to create a plan of action for how you’ll wrap up while giving your client time to find another freelancer to fill your shoes.
Be flexible with your end date if possible. Finding a new freelancer to hire and onboard could take your client a decent amount of time. If you’re able, be flexible with your end date if one month’s notice isn’t enough for your client to transition. While certainly not a requirement of ending an engagement, being empathetic towards the complexity of a transition process for your client can go a long way.
Create a final task list for the client. When parting ways with a client, you should come up with a list of the tasks you will complete during your remaining time together. Present the client with the list to make sure you aren’t missing anything.
Don’ts of Ending Your Contract
Directly blame the client. Even if you’re ending the engagement due to an issue with the client, it’s a good idea not to directly blame them. Blaming the client can add unnecessary fuel to the fire, and parting ways peacefully makes for a more seamless process.
Break the news in a team meeting. If you have meetings with your client’s team, you shouldn’t break the news during a group meeting. The conversation should happen one-on-one between you and your client.
Leave projects undone unless absolutely necessary. Leaving projects half-done can leave clients in a tricky situation. Do your best to wrap up whatever you’re working on before parting ways. If the work is a long-term project that you can’t wrap up, give the client a list of the next steps to hand over to whoever works with them next so they can pick up where you left off.
If you’re unsure what to say when you reach out to part ways, here’s a template:
Hello [client’s name],
After careful consideration, I have decided to part ways with [company name], effective [date you’ll be leaving].
I have selected this date to provide [# of weeks] full weeks of time to have a clear offboarding process, create transition materials, and provide support in getting the next [position title] here filled in if needed. Please accept this email as written notice of our contract ending.
Let’s schedule a call for [this week or next week] to go over final tasks so we can be on the same page in regards to wrapping up.
Please let me know if you have any questions or specific requests for me to complete in the remaining time we have together.
Closing Out Your Contract on Pangea
After completing the remaining tasks you and your client agreed upon, send them a final wrap-up email that compiles all of the tasks you’ve completed during offboarding, any links or files they may need access to, and any additional information they may need.
After they have confirmed that everything they need from you has been completed, submit your final invoice on Pangea. Once the client has paid the invoice, they will be able to close the contract on their end.
If it feels appropriate, reach out to the client to thank them for your time together.