From the Editor's Desk: Calling A Guy

Opinion | Columnist

René J. Roy

May 17, 2021 | 3 minute read


Living in a small community means that sometimes there aren’t a lot of options when it comes to your purchasing power. And it also means that if you want something fixed, most of the time you have to fix it yourself.

Although I was born here, I wasn’t raised here, so I never had to worry about limitations on what I needed. If I had to fix my washer or get a window installed, I’d just call a guy. But living here in Port aux Basques, I am way behind the curve on what I am able to do myself, because I’ve never needed to do it before. I might be able to fumble my way through something, but chances are high that I will muck it all up. So I still have to call someone.

Running a company in my home means I constantly have a lot of work that needs doing, and I don’t have the time or ability to do it myself. But the problem is, I might not have a choice.

Calling someone to have them come do work for you is like that scene in Castaway with Tom Hanks – the one where he knocks out his tooth with a rock. He really doesn’t want to do it, but he has no choice. And it feels so good when its over. That’s me. Calling a guy.

I have had almost zero success with contractors. While I do have one or two fellows who are readily available, and do what they can, I am not their only customer, and not number one on their priority list.

Electricians, plumbers, carpenters, roofers, landscapers – I’ve used them all over the last year or so, and 90 per cent of them simply never call, show up or return. They drop off the map.

It’s legitimately infuriating.

We recently had a sewer problem, and the man who came to “assess” said he would be back the next day. And the next day? Nothing. Crickets. Tumbleweeds.

Repeat that exact same scenario for landscaping, carpentry, and electrical. It really seems to be the industry standard to come look at the work that someone wants, just to decide if you want to do it. That’s not how a contractor works – at least not where I grew up (Halifax mostly).

If you want to keep getting work, and keep getting calls and referrals, then wouldn’t it do you better to actually follow up with a client and do the job you say you will?

Even if you get held up a day, let me know so I’m not sitting here stewing at another no-call-no-show. I honestly don’t understand it at all.

Not only do they not bother to come back, they don’t even call you. Nothing. They just abandon all pretense of having followed up and disappear. There’s no common courtesy, let alone customer service.

It is probably the single most ignorant thing a business owner could do to a customer, outside of taking a swing at ya.

As a business owner, if I simply ignored contact from you, how long would it take you to walk away from me forever? My guess is you would walk away faster than me, because I still need work done.

And I just can’t seem to find anyone who wants to work.


René J. Roy is also an experienced book editor, trained photographer, volunteer firefighter, volunteer board member and diehard Montreal Canadiens hockey fan. Find him waxing poetic on twitter as @hfxhabby.

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