Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

I'm not big on motivational books, but this quote from Norman Vincent Peale, who wrote "The Power Of Positive Thinking," has stuck with me over the past few weeks while I've been waiting to schedule someone to fix my fridge, house alarm and dishwasher: "Find a need and fill it."

A real-life example of this maxim is the dentist I found when I first moved to Vancouver in 1985. I couldn't afford to take time off during the day for dental appointments. So he and his partner cornered the market for young lawyers, accountants and other business people who also had difficulty with daytime appointments. They scheduled most of their appointments either early in the morning or at night after 6 p.m.

Twenty-seven years, and many thousands of dollars of dental work later, I'm still with them. I needed someone who did after-hours appointments. They filled that need.

Story continues below advertisement

Over the past few years, I've needed various appliances installed or repaired in my house; fridges, stoves, TVs, alarm systems and other appliances. I've had the same experience with telephone and cable companies where someone has to come to the house to install or service a modem, but someone else (me) has to be home to let them in to do the work.

Like the millions of other consumers who have day jobs, and can't be home when it's convenient for the repair or installation company, I'm told that the 'appointment' will be on such and such a day. I'm not given a precise time. Instead, someone has to be home between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. or between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. That's all they can promise.

As I write this, I'm waiting for a company to replace the ice-maker in the fridge. I don't even know if it's a morning or afternoon appointment. Someone will phone me after 8.30 a.m. to tell me if I have to stay around all morning or if I have to come back from work in the afternoon. If you're lucky enough to get a morning appointment, there's no guarantee that the appointment won't start at 11:58 AM. and be complete by 2 PM. Although some companies will try and schedule the first appointment at something like 8:30 a.m., getting me out the door by 9:30 a.m. if I'm lucky, nobody that I'm aware of will schedule appointments before 8 a.m. or after 7 p.m.

Suggest early morning or evening appointment, when you're actually home, and you'll be met with incredulity. It's reminiscent of the Monty Python sketch where there is no cheese in the cheese shop yet the sales clerk is insistent on telling the customer it's the 'finest cheese shop in the district.' Plead on your hands and knees for an evening appointment, and it's like returning a dead parrot. You'll get nothing but excuses.

Because my wife or I have to stick around and wait for the repair person, we are not at our offices earning money. And of course, if the repair person is delayed, our working day is effectively shot. I wonder if someone has done a study of the loss to the Canadian economy by people waiting around for the appliance repairman to show up? Better yet, check Google for all of the entries on 'Waiting for the Repairman' and you'll get a sense of how endemic this problem is.

I think it's time things changed in the appliance repair and installation business. It's not the 1950s or the 1960s anymore, where 'mom' is at home doing the dishes or cooking dinner and there's always someone available to deal with the repairman's schedule while 'dad' is at work. Most couples work.

I say Start the Revolution Now! Don't use repair installation companies who aren't prepared to make early-morning or evening appointments, and don't buy from an appliance company which isn't prepared to adjust to your schedule, as opposed to you adjusting to theirs. There are lots of companies trying to sell you ovens, fridges and dishwashers. If someone won't deliver and install your appliance at 7 p.m. (a need) find another company which does (need filled) and buy from them instead.

Story continues below advertisement

Likewise, if someone isn't prepared to repair your dishwasher at 7:30 a.m. to suit your schedule, try to find someone who does.

There's a big opportunity for an appliance repair or installation service to provide early-morning or after dinner appointments (like my dentist did), and crush the 9-to-5 competition that only delivers, installs or repairs during traditional bankers hours. Perhaps this business model could be branded, franchised and expanded nationally.

Charge a premium for it, because it's worth something to the consumer to have the installation or repair done in the early morning or after dinner so that their work day is not disrupted. Ask yourself this: is it worth your time sticking around house for 3 hours waiting for someone to replace a battery in your alarm system or fix your fridge, or, would you rather pay someone $50 extra to come after dinner so that you don't lose a morning or an afternoon at work?

Frankly, someone has to do to the appliance repair and installation industry what Apple did to the music industry. And any company that's prepared to do that will have my business, and I expect, the business of lots of others who are fed up with waiting for the repairman.

Tony Wilson is a franchising, licensing and intellectual property lawyer at Boughton Law Corp. in Vancouver, he is an adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University (SFU), and he is the author of two books: Manage Your Online Reputation, and Buying a Franchise in Canada. His opinions do not reflect those of the Law Society of British Columbia, SFU or any other organization.

Follow us on Pinterest and Instagram
Join our Small Business LinkedIn group
Add us to your circles
Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies