Canadian Contractor

Rob Blackstien   

Dilemma: Business or Marriage?

Canadian Contractor

Taking the project could ruin his business

Karl Crabbe’s contracting business has endured some lean times in recent months, and could really use a big score to help turn things around. His wife works as a receptionist for a very rich, but notoriously cheap doctor. Knowing that Karl needs work, the doctor wants to hire him to do a major renovation on his house — exactly the type of project he needs to spark a recovery for his firm.

In discussing the potential project with his project manager, Karl learns from him that this same doctor stiffed a contractor a few years ago by hiring him to do a job at his cottage and after winding up being unhappy with something, he refused to pay the contractor. Things got ugly, and it wound up in small claims court, where the contractor was only able to recoup some of his losses and suffered a big hit.

Karl asks his wife if she knows anything about this previous project, but she hasn’t heard a word about, and actually doesn’t believe it even happened, going so far as to defend the doctor given that he’s throwing Karl a lifeline. She’s upset that Karl is questioning the hand that could feed him. She maintains that her reputation with her boss will be irreparably damaged if Karl turns down this project.

Karl’s business could really collapse with another hit, but given that his wife has drawn a line in the sand, if he doesn’t take this project, his marriage could take an even bigger hit. What should Karl do? See the options below.


1. Take the job and hope for the best.
2. Refuse the job and prepare for a lot of nights on the couch.
3. Tell the doctor he can’t do it, but will recommend someone else for the job.
4. Take the job and insist on the bulk of the money up front.
5. Something else.


If you have a five-point plan for Crabbe, email your entry to Rob Blackstien and put “Crabbe dilemma” in the subject line. Please don’t post your plan as a comment to here.

Entries close March 13. The winner will be announced on on March 27.


1) DEWALT 20V Cordless Router
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2) DEWALT 20V Cordless
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Price: $249


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