Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Recently I engaged a firm to do a few odd jobs around my property.

Firstly I needed a paddock slashed urgently so that a fence could be installed.

I also needed some trees mulched and some firewood split and some minor fencing repairs done.

A young horticulturalist was engaged to do the slashing and then later, to do some of the other work.

But here’s what gets me cranky….

After the initial two visits the attention to detail and the completion of tasks became less and less.

In fact here’s what happened the last time the guy was booked to do a day’s work. Here’s the instruction I gave him:

“When you come on Friday, can you repair some fences (wire and gripples) and also install about 100m of electric on existing fences (I have the unit but you will need the wire and some more hooks/attachments).

And move that mulch from one paddock to the planted Leightons (small job), and then if you have time can you block and split some wood?

Thanks mate


Here’s what I received as he left at 1pm that day…

“Hey mate I’ve moved the mulch and put it into the gardens it just needs to be spread. I’m just heading off now so I’ll put I finished at 5hrs. I will send Steven to do the fence next week for you as it’s spring now and everything is growing so I’ll be doing a lot more of the horticultural/green keeping maintenance until it all dies off again.”

Three weeks later and no one has come to do the fence repairs. The guy sends me a message because I haven’t paid his bill…..

I replied:


Still waiting for you to come back and finish the job… you left at 1pm with the job unfinished after I went and got all the clips for the electric fence.

You told me in SMS that you’d have Steve finish it the next week… that was two weeks ago.

Happy to pay when the job is finished.

But it’s not finished.

There’s plenty of work here for you…

Fences. Wood splitting. Mulching.

If you’re going to be running a business you need to back up your words with actions.

Happy to pay you when you finish this job.

BUT, if you’re going to pick and choose and be on social media pitching for jobs while you haven’t finished what you said you’d do, you’ll really make a rod for your back.

Let me know what day you’re coming back”

I think that’s only fair.

I’m happy to pay in full once the original tasks are completed.

But I don’t believe someone racking off at lunchtime with a full day’s list of tasks as incomplete deserves to be rewarded for their doggy behaviour.

How do people even think this is reasonable business practice?

The guy should never have said he would do the work if he never intended to complete what he said he would.

The trouble is, choosing hired help is like biting into an apple. Sometimes you don’t know the apple is bad until you’ve committed and taken that first bite.

And it’s not just tradesmen…

Years ago I decided to have laser eye surgery. I visited a local ophthalmic surgeon who convinced me that PRK surgery was a better alternative than Lasik.

I took his advice and committed to having the first eye done by him using PRK.

The 28 days post-operative were the most painful four weeks of my life. My eye felt as though it had been stabbed with a dagger, and I could not tolerate any direct sunlight for the first 14 days.

I decided to investigate Lasik as an option for my other eye.

The postoperative period was uneventful and the day after surgery I was able to drive an hour each way in glorious summer sunshine for the surgeon to review the outcome.

Obviously I felt deceived and misled by the first ophthalmic surgeon.

And disappointed.

Sometimes people will bend the truth to get any work they can…

Sometimes people will bend the truth to get any work they can, when it’s really not in the best interests of the customer.

Endodontics is a great example.

Endodontists will tell you that most of their work is fixing things that have gone wrong when general dentists get in over their heads…

As Harry Callahan said in the movie MAGNUM FORCE:

“A man’s got to know his limitations.”

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