While you may want to bring this relationship to a close as quickly as possible, keep in mind that ending a relationship should be treated as purposefully as starting one. Timing and delivery can be everything.

As with most things, invest in your future. Review your agreements before you sign, because understanding your rights to terminate a business relationship should start before you sign. All too often its only later that the termination process is unclear. Trust me, ambiguity will cost you!

I want to terminate a relationship, so where do I start?

Before you decide to pick up the phone to end the relationship on a whim, go back to your agreement. Specifically, be sure to review the termination and payment sections. These sections will lay out next steps but will also confirm that your termination should actually occur “in writing” rather than over the phone. Pay special attention to what amount of prior notice you must provide to terminate, the amount of final payment, and the timing of that final payment.

Next steps will depend on your role in the agreement.

If you are the client, generally you will need to:

  1. Provide written notice of termination with the required amount of notice.
  2. Fulfill any other obligation listed in your agreement.
  3. Confirm receipt of your final deliverables.
  4. Deliver final payment on time. Terminating the agreement does not excuse your obligation to pay for services already rendered.

If you are service provider, generally you will need to:

  1. Provide written notice of termination with the required amount of notice. If there is a notice period, continue to provide the required services without interruption through the end such notice period.
  2. Provide your final invoice or timesheet.
  3. Returning the other party’s materials / destroy the other party’s data.
  4. Fulfill any other obligation listed in your agreement on a timely basis and confirm that the other party that you in fact fulfilled all of your obligations (in writing for your records).

Sometime the hardest part is finding the right words, so I have given you some inspo below!

Sample Termination Email When You Are the Client

Subject Line: Completion of Brand Development

Hi Mr. Johnson,

First off, I want to say that our company has really appreciated the experience your team has brought to our brand development process. With that said, I wanted to provide written notice that effective on the completion of our logo design, our company will not require future branding services and will be terminating our service agreement. Per the agreement, upon receipt of your final invoice, we will submit payment within seven days.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

Sample Termination Email When You Are the Service Provider

Subject Line: Virtual Assistant Services

Hello Mr. Smith,

I wanted to provide written notice that on [date] we will be terminating our service agreement. Today’s notice serves as our 30 days’ notice, as required in our agreement.

It has come to my attention that you have requested a departure from our mutually agreed scope of work that we are not able to provide at this time. For this reason, we believe that it may be more beneficial to seek out another virtual assistant that can better support your business’s needs. Our company is thankful for the opportunity to work with your business, and we wish you luck with your future projects.

We will be sending your final invoice this week and updating the status on all projects in process to help with transition.

Best regards,

[Your name]

Good luck friend!