No Job is Too Small (If You Want to Succeed)

Plumber working on a kitchen sink

I don’t know what conversations you’ve been having in your house of late, but at my house there has been a lot of conversation about plumbing. 

Glamorous, right?

What occurred was a trifecta of fun involving a hose bib, a toilet, and the need to sink all the lines to my office (helpfully located on the other side of the lawn) by an additional 2 feet.

So, we called some plumbers.

What we discovered is that many of the plumbers in question weren’t interested in salting my tail to get this work….(do you know this phrase? Loosely, it means reeling someone in slowly but surely….) My idea was that I would have someone begin by doing the hose bib—a small but immediately imperative operation. Then, when I’d seen that work there would be a toilet conversion; with that successfully completed, the granddaddy of all expensive jobs: sinking pipe across my lawn—at an estimated $25 a foot mind you—would begin.

To me, this seemed a reasonable approach. If a small job is done beautifully, it’s likely a big job will be done beautifully.

I discovered I was surprisingly alone in my thinking.

What I was told was that it wasn’t “worth it” for some of these plumbers to come do one small job. It was all or nothing.

This doesn’t work for me—and I’m interested in finding out what works for you. 

My thinking is that no job/detail/client is too small. That the care that is taken with the small things is indicative of the care that will be given to the bigger things—and if you can’t be bothered to care about doing small things in a timely, thoughtful manner I certainly don’t want you working on a bigger job. 

Given this, I hired the (delightful!) plumber who was willing to pop in and do my hose bib job quickly and efficiently; and I look forward to our ongoing relationship as the plumbing shenanigans continue.

And—inspired by my plumbing chum’s willingness to give 100% to my smallest job—I find myself recommitted to giving my clients the best I have to offer whether it’s for 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days or 5 years.

I hope you will be, too.

Frances Cole Jones