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  • Should I start a partnership with a professional peer?

    updated 8 months, 2 weeks ago 0 Member · 1 Post
  • Charles

    October 27, 2019 at 10:18 pm

    I have been running a small design company for 20+ years. I am at the top of my profession, earning about $160k per year. However, I work about 50 hours a week, and don’t really have any days off… even when I try to go on vacation (I have to bring my work with me). I currently have about 15+ jobs in my active queue, and new jobs are currently estimated to start in January (or February). Despite that wait I still have people signing up for next year. I have been asked by a peer about starting a partnership. He has about 6 years of design experience, although only 2 years running his own design company. He has a quite a few clients that bring in a good amount of work, and he has a very good work ethic. He used to work for one of my clients many years ago, where we met. We have collaborated on multiple projects. I trust him (as much as is reasonable) and like him quite a bit. He has a draftsman and I have a draftsman (which is important for getting masses of work done). We would both like another draftsman but they are hard to find and training takes time. I am state certified for my work, while the other designer is not. The certification is not mandatory, but allows me to do some specialized work that is rather profitable. He can do the work but cannot stamp it. I like the idea of having a partner for several reasons… he can help cover for me when I want to go on vacation… he can handle more of the mundane tasks that I dislike doing… he is better at managing queues and job operations (that stuff bores and frustrates me)… he is good with human resources… etc. I know what I would bring to the table… years of experience and a deep rolodex of clients and a crazy work ethic. So what are the pros and cons of having a partnership. My biggest concern is how do I make sure a partner works as hard as I do? I don’t mind working 40-50 hours a week and I don’t mind if he only works 40 hours. My share of the profits would likely be 60-65% anyway. But I am concerned about how we make sure we both work as hard as we have already been working, and he doesn’t slack off because he now has a workhouse on his team. Is it all based on trust? p.s. not needing guidance on the business entity stuff… I have a good business attorney that can write up the partnership along with exit strategies and payout expectations… I am more concerned about the inner workings of the day to day operations… setting reasonable expectations on workloads, hours of work, methods of checks and balances so our workloads are equitable, etc. Thoughts? – by hq overview Coffeman94 – –

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