In case you haven’t heard, there’s a slump in the oil prices around my neck of the woods. Alberta, Canada that is. Frankly I haven’t a clue what the prices are doing around the world. It’s been quite a while since I was working directly in the oil patch. My go-to source was “The DOB”, the Daily Oil Bulletin which was delivered daily to my place of work.

I took a look at the DOB online just now. West Texas crude is under $50.  Yikes!  It doesn’t matter if you work at Walmart or Syncrude, the oil industry affects all Albertans. It’s the biggest industry in the province, agriculture being next biggest.  I make websites and do small carpentry projects.  The chances are that my clients are directly or indirectly working for the oil industry.  That makes me indirectly affected by the oil industry.  So yes, I’m concerned.  People can loose their income right in the middle of a renovation and that “budget” the customer and I talked about is flying out the window.  Getting paid on time is questionable.

It comes down to trusting each other, which I’ve wrote about here. I trust my clients in the same way that they trust me to do a good job. There are con-artists out there but not very many.  I think most people are good and want to be fair.   I use an online system to send out automatically generated reminder emails, and if necessary, calculate interest charges for late payments.

Most credit houses have no problem leaving their sympathy in the trash bin.  I can’t do that…easily.  but If I’m borrowing money to cover materials my client has not paid for, then I’m going to add it to the clients bill.  That’s fair.  A business coach told me “leave the emotion out of estimates and billing”.  It’s hard to do for me.  I know lay-offs happen in the oil patch – I worked there.  It’s not helping when interest charges are added to an outstanding bill.  I/we/they are not doing it to be nasty or mean – except for Banks, VISA and MasterCard.

There’s good news!  Gasoline prices are under 80 cents a litre, (I’m not going to convert that for any people in the USA.  Or apologize!  Sorry)