Which are more important – customers or money?

by Allan Sandilands


For all the years I was in a van, customers were definitely more important than money. If I received a phone call from a random individual or company asking for a hose to be replaced, I was out the door faster than they could hang up the phone. Just getting a customer on board was a major challenge and when I finally did receive a call, the last thing I wanted to do was annoy them.

I was always petrified if I asked for any detail or god forbid “payment“. I may risk offending that customer and losing them altogether. “What if they don’t ring tomorrow?”, or “What if they call one of my competitors?”. The large customers were especially scary, the ones I thought were keeping me alive.

The amount of times I’d do a job and not get paid or be stretched out for months and months was more than I could count. I didn’t understand the simple rules of business.

I referred to myself as a tree hugger. Money is not my focus, I just want to help people and do right by the world. That’s all good but if you do everything for free your good intentions don’t seem to last long, as the money can dry up real fast and there is nothing left to help anyone! If only I had been older when I was younger, I may have had a better plan.

Although most customers are genuine and genuinely care, there are always going to be the ones who have no morals at all and will use you as their bank or worse. But now that I am older and wiser, I have found communication and having a set process is the key.

At the end of the day it’s ok to ask for detail and payment, it’s not offensive, there is a tremendous amount of value in providing the service you provide and being paid is part of the business process.

Yes, customers are important but in my opinion it’s not a sin to discuss money and the two go hand in hand.