It’s perfectly okay to turn down work for whatever reason you see fit, be it a disparity between your style and the client’s, a realization that the scope of the project will stretch you too thin, or a gut feeling that a homeowner will be high-maintenance and impossible to please.
Of course, you always want to be professional and polite in your communications with clients, and should leave out any negative personal feeling about the project or the person behind it. Thank them for the opportunity, and wish them success.
Beyond that, you can decide how generic or personal, cursory or detailed you feel is right depending on how much time you’ve spent together, as well as any other factors like if they’re someone you’ve worked with in the past, or a referral from one of your top clients.
Read on to find the strategy that best fits the individual situation, then free yourself up for meeting new clients who you’ll mesh with more easily.