Canadian Rental Service

Hope is not a Plan: The liberating power of just saying “no”

By Adam Snook   


Don’t let your urge to help turn you into a doormat.


For such a small word it sure can be hard to say. It’s always had a negative connotation to it. If you said it, you must have been either angry, selfish, or frustrated.

Family, friends, employees and customers all know you as the person who always says yes. Too good natured to say no, always wanting to help out and never wanting to rock the boat.

Family is the most important thing in the world, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be a drain on you. Kids always asking for the latest and greatest, without knowing how hard you had to work to buy last month’s latest and greatest.


We all have that one extended family member who’s either looking to “borrow“ money, tools or something else of value. Borrowing indicates you’ll get it back, but you know you never will.

Good friends are hard to find and should never be taken for granted. Casual “friends” are easy to find, especially when you own a rental company.

“Hey buddy, can I borrow a skid steer and dump trailer this weekend?”

My initial thought was always, “ Sure, want me to come operate it and pay for the fuel too?”

But because I’m the guy who always helps out, I’d always say yes.

Then on Monday when the machine gets returned empty of fuel and filthy with a flat tire on the trailer I’d be so furious I’d promise myself it would never happen again. Until the next time they asked that is.

Employees often are the lifeblood of your business, while at the same time the bane of your existence. Especially in a lopsided job market like we’re seeing right now.

Whether it’s raises before the probation period is over, time off with no notice, benefits that don’t cover their exact needs, or what feels like the constant threat of losing them to the competition, you can feel powerless in your own business.

Aside from your kids, probably the hardest group of people to say no to are your customers. After all, they pay your bills, put food on your table and allow you the “freedom” of being in business for yourself. Notice freedom in quotation marks, like ”borrow” above.

We’re all so afraid to lose out on any revenue that we’ll often overlook the biggest source of stress we have in our work lives.

Count yourself lucky if you don’t have that customer(s) that always return your equipment broken, dirty and late.

They tend to be the ones who ask for the discount, refuse to pay for the damages they caused, and then take 90 days to pay. And still expect free delivery and after-hours call outs.

I’m sure I’ve missed some of the list of those that weigh us down daily. But you know the ones who cause you the most stress.

As the old anti-drug commercials said, just say no!

You’ll be amazed how liberating it can be. 

Adam Snook is a co-owner of JustBins in Regina, Sask.

Print this page


Stories continue below