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View Full Version : Dispute with my partner, please help...


fiveoboy01
05-13-2010, 03:48 PM
Ok guys I know all about the "don't go in with a partner" thing, let's save that for another thread, my partner is my brother and yeah partnerships sucks but it's my brother so it's not changing.

Anyways, this year I decided to become meticulous with expenses, I have several spreadsheets that I made up from scratch detailing an expense in a certain category, what percentage that expense was of my gross, what percentage my expenses were compared to gross, etc etc...

Now I'm also working on a cost analysis for my trucks and equipment, to start with I created a grid on a sheet that each time you fill up a truck or mower you write down the following:

Which mower or truck(or handheld gas)
Hours on the mower or truck(yep Fords have hourmeters)
Mileage for the truck
What the price of gas was at the time of fill up

I then take those numbers and calculate my cost of fuel per hour/mile and also fuel economy.

Along those lines, I want to take the yearly expense for a mower or truck(repairs, routine maintenance such as oil changes, blades, belts, anything that breaks, etc), and going off the hours on the machine or mileage on the truck, figure at the end of the year what that piece of equipment costed me.

Here's the disagreement.

My brother is throwing a fit, telling me that what I'm doing is stupid and unnecessary, all that matters is that there is more money coming in than going out, it's a waste of time, and he doesn't want to record hours on the mowers when he fills them up nor the price of the gas, he says he already knows "200/month per truck and 50/month per mower" is what he keeps saying... But I want it more precise than that.

He claims that it will slow him down, all he wants to do is pull up to the pump and go. I say it will take him 2-3 minutes to write it on the reciept of the grid I've created which we can carry on a clipboard in either of our trucks.

My line of thinking is that if I do not know exactly where and how much of the money is going, I can't efficiently control my expenses.

My brother thinks it's all a waste of time, and that I'm micromanaging. He claims to understand it all, but says it's not necessary.

In your guys' opinion am I getting too detailed? I think I'm right, but I don't know. You always think you're right when it's your idea.

Opinions?

nomisunrider
05-13-2010, 05:36 PM
he says he already knows "200/month per truck and 50/month per mower" is what he keeps saying... But I want it more precise than that.

Can he prove the numbers he gives?

br549oicu8
05-13-2010, 05:40 PM
Get divorced from your brother......

Mike Blevins
05-13-2010, 05:53 PM
Partnership = twice the work,expense,etc,etc,etc, for half the pay. I understand its your brother, but you sound like your really trying to crunch the numbers and he is just wanting to hit the high spots. I would sit him down and try ot explain what your trying to do and why.

Lawn Shark prop mgmt LLC
05-13-2010, 05:53 PM
I like what you are doing with the spreadsheet. Would like to take a look at it.

Larry Overcash
05-13-2010, 07:56 PM
I would think he would be willing to help you out. I mean all your trying to do is get the most from your time and money. Which in the end is going to mean more money in the pockets. I applaud your efforts to make your business more efficient.

ShooterK2
05-13-2010, 07:57 PM
No two people manage money the exact same way. That's why business partnerships are tough and often fail. There's gotta be some middle ground somewhere.......... You two need to talk and see if you can find it.

gene gls
05-13-2010, 09:34 PM
I'm not a spread sheet person but I use the Gopher program. It has some issues but it works OK for me. I would agree with your brother to some extent on your micro tracking. Whats the advantage of keeping track of the hours and miles of every fillup on each piece of equipment? We all know that weather conditions has a lot to do with fuel useage and there is very little you can change with the daily-weekly hours-miles to make any differance. I track every expense of my business through Gopher. I have it set up so I track everything by the year, hours used, miles driven, gallons bought, dollars spent. Every penny spent on any part is recorded for each piece of equipment and the dealer it went to, cash,check, or charge. I also have a miscellaneous section for the odd ball-one time items. My accountant thinks I'm nuts for tracking everthing so far but he smiles when all the numbers are there and easy for him to fill in his blanks.

MOturkey
05-13-2010, 09:37 PM
Interesting post. I, in the past, have owned three different retail businesses, with my wife as a working partner. She is probably the best person I have ever known at meeting the public, gaining the trust of customers, etc, but probably the worst person I have ever known at handling the financial aspects of a business, which caused constant friction between us. This problem still arises today with my mowing business, and arguments arise quite often about decisions I make. Like you with your brother, I'm stuck with my partner, :) so have to make the best of it.

The ideal business partnership would be one where the partners realize their individual strength and weakness, and do what they do best, and allow the other partner, or partners, to do what they do best without interference. Unfortunately, when it is family, it seldom works that way.

I see both your viewpoints. I like to know how things are working, but am, honestly too lazy, and have too little bookkeeping expertise to go to the lengths you are considering. I also see your brother's viewpoint, because I hate doing Mickey Mouse stuff unless I can see a valid reason for doing it. He figures as long as you are making money, why worry about all the number crunching?

Perhaps your best approach would be to try and show him how better record keeping will increase the bottom line by telling you wihich piece of equipment is costing more to repair than replace, etc, as I assume that is your reasoning behind doing this, then perhaps you can sway his thinking your way.

Ask him to indulge you for a trial period, say 3 months, then show him, how your record will allow you both to make better business decisions. Good luck.

mdlwn1
05-13-2010, 09:44 PM
Sounds like you are micro managing. Sure the information will be helpful to some extent. Just seems like a lot of effort for relatively little return. What if you spent the same amount of time getting more work? Maybe someday when you have 1 million in revenue.............................

topsites
05-13-2010, 09:51 PM
There's two ways to doing it...

The intelligent way is to gain your brother's alliance by telling him that you are
his business partner and you would appreciate him following your lead this time
because you believe you are onto something, yes please and thank you.

Then there's the agricultural way for the folks who got hearing problems...
Do what you have to do for yourself, one of you tracking is good enough, then
give ALL the inefficient work to him, that's the work that no matter how you cut
it is going to cost anyhow, and you do the stuff where you can be most efficient.

Problem solved.

DuraCutter
05-13-2010, 10:07 PM
Sounds like you are micro managing. Sure the information will be helpful to some extent. Just seems like a lot of effort for relatively little return. What if you spent the same amount of time getting more work? Maybe someday when you have 1 million in revenue.............................

This is probably the most sensible approach.

One more thing, ask your brother his ideas on how you both could achieve higher profits and what his ideas are. Involving him might make him think of various ways and that's how a partnership works best.

Take his ideas and don't say yes or no right away, think about them for a few days and have another meeting. You'll be amazed at the amount of cooperation if he's involved. Remember, he's a partner and doesn't like being told, but rather consulted.... right.

:)

LwnmwrMan22
05-13-2010, 10:52 PM
I'd like to know what you plan on doing with the information once you get it?

If you have a mower that's giving you 1 gallon / day less efficiency than the dealer / promotional material said it would do, are you going to sell that mower?

I understand the thought behind micro managing, but like others have mentioned, if you have time to sit at home and figure out every last number, you don't have enough work.

I'm with your brother. I work 90 hour weeks. Paper work gets done at the end of the season.

If the mower needs gas, it needs gas. If the truck is empty, it gets filled up.

If I need tires on the truck, it gets tires.

I know in the back of my mind what money is coming in, what's going out.

tstutz
05-14-2010, 12:24 AM
i agree i would love to see the spreadsheet and maybe use it myself. Is this possible? pm me if you would! I have been thinking about this and if you wouldnt mind i would like to use yours.
anyways your doing the right thing. you might talk to your brother and see if he would rather be an employee vs. a partener.

aczlan
05-14-2010, 01:35 AM
For the truck gas, have him get a receipt when he fills up, write down the odometer/hourmeter reading and (if needed) the vehicle name on it when he gets back in after filling the tank. Takes 10 seconds and then you can input everything else into your spreadsheet to track mileage and such.

Aaron Z

fiveoboy01
05-14-2010, 03:51 PM
I'd like to know what you plan on doing with the information once you get it?

Using it to figure costs.

I cannot properly bid a job without knowing what my costs will be.

Sure it's not an issue on a little lawn but I will need information like this if I need to bid something large where I can't just "throw the number out there".

If you have a mower that's giving you 1 gallon / day less efficiency than the dealer / promotional material said it would do, are you going to sell that mower?

Of course not. It's not about fuel efficiency of the mowers, it's about knowing what they cost me to operate per hour.

I understand the thought behind micro managing, but like others have mentioned, if you have time to sit at home and figure out every last number, you don't have enough work.

Perhaps you might be right, I also work a fulltime 40-hour per week second shift job. I don't exactly have much time for anything.

I'm with your brother. I work 90 hour weeks. Paper work gets done at the end of the season.

Yeah, by ME.

That's your perogative, but I'm not going to let it pile up for an entire year.

If the mower needs gas, it needs gas. If the truck is empty, it gets filled up.

If I need tires on the truck, it gets tires.

I'm not disagreeing.

I know in the back of my mind what money is coming in, what's going out.

Perhaps you're better at crunching numbers in your head. Perhaps you have been doing it long enough to know. Perhaps you don't want to know the specifics.

Look guys, there will come a day when I need to quit my other job. Health insurance will be gone, job security will now be provided by me instead of a large established corporation. If I hire guys, I need to know what they will cost me and this ties in with knowing what my other costs are.

ALL I ASKED him to do was note the hours and gallons on each mower. Is that so hard? I'd be the one entering the info in the database.. I still do ALL the rest of the administrative work, it's not like I asked him to take over all the billing or bidding....

Doesn't matter anyhow, he claims he's quitting now. If that happens I'll have to find a way to do all the work myself.

Never did I think that trying to follow a simple(and in my opinion good) business practice would cause a fight.

beegreenlandcare
05-14-2010, 04:37 PM
You know what u are my friend? A BEAN COUNTER! ...and I despise "bean counters"
JUST KIDDING!!!!
But really, if you guys haven't already dissolved I would say you need to get him involved and very clearly explain why/what your purpose is and how it can improve your biz.
It sounds like he wants to run the biz "by the seat of his pants" whereas your a numbers cruncher. I'm VERY GUILTY of the latter.
I wish I had someone like u when we 1st started out (and even now too).
You also have to realize your brother is a "production person" and is more concerned w/ getting work done than filling out paperwork.
Try to find a happy medium, I think your a little too gung ho and your brother is simply resisting.
BTW: will this be a temporary experiment until you know some realistic numbers of your own or will thi be a forever waste of time (as your brother probably views it). This mite be a bartering chip, to tell your bro its only temporary.

fiveoboy01
05-14-2010, 05:19 PM
It can be temporary until I nail down the costs. I'd like to do it for this season. Remember I'm also wanting to use maintenance costs in my figures too.
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fl-landscapes
05-14-2010, 05:52 PM
different people have different talents. Sounds like your brother is a hands on labor type guy in the business and your the number crunching business manager. Finding your costs is an important part of your business. But spending an enourmous amount of time and over doing it will be a waste of time (money) and really irritate the people who have to do all the recording (their not bean counters their laborers) So I would suggest you ask your brother to do it for a month and get a handle on TRUE expenses. It's not a practice that needs to be done forever unless your motivation is based on something else like not trusting where the money is going....thats a different story.

whosedog
05-14-2010, 07:25 PM
Some people have the need to know details like that,my brother-in-law was thrilled when I got him a Gps,he uses it to track his fuel efficiency,don't ask me how;but my sister and him are perfectionists,very smart numbers crunchers.Myself I could care less about details like that,maybe because I'm somewhat attention deficit;like your brother.Also there are so many variables to factor in to your spreadsheet,cost of fuel,how fast the machines are being operated,spilled fuel,dollar amount earned per job, etc. and he might feel insulted like big brother doesn't trust me so he's monitoring every thing I'm doing,I know I would.

indy2tall
05-14-2010, 08:22 PM
Fiveoboy, got a few questions for you.
1. In your partnership did you provide the bulk of the initial finances and your brother provided the labor or has both aspects been split evenly from the beginning? It seems to me he must be doing the bulk of the mowing or you would know yourself how many gallons per hour the different pieces of equipment use enabling you to have enough knowledge to bid accurately. If that is the case I would say your micro managing. If you are dead set on crunching all these new numbers perhaps you should just buy out his portion of the business and hire him to work by the hour. Then I will bet he will be glad to take the time to record all the new numbers.
2. If you piss him off and he does quit how are you going to mow all your yards while working a 40 hour main job? I can tell you from experience 40 normal sized yards is about all a guy can do by himself while working full time at a different job and that means mowing 7 days a week and never being home to do anything except eat and sleep. That is with a tight route too so fewer if you have a spread out route. Unless you get really lucky and find a new hire right away you are going to get so far behind you will start losing customers and get a bad reputation. If that happens then it will have been a bad idea to squeeze those last few drops of blood from the proverbial turnip.

fiveoboy01
05-14-2010, 08:37 PM
It goes back and forth but I think we are pretty even overall. We both have money invested but that was only the first couple of years.

I'm aware of the issue with doing the work myself. I just counted the other day and we have 45 weekly accounts and 2 bi-weekly with a few "do it when they call" arrangements. I could hande them myself even with the fulltime job but not during the spring, we did a lot of dethatching and mulch installs as well as a couple overseedings and some stone, still have some mulch and stone to put in yet and some other pending bids.

I don't really want to see the partnership break up, he's a very good worker and helps me a lot, but I know there is more to a business than "just get the work done" if a person wants growth.
I only have good intentions, but I don't think he's convinced of that. At times I am very hard- headed in my approach and sometimes its my way period but I only do that because I feel it will benefit the company.
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topsites
05-14-2010, 10:17 PM
So the man's trying to figure his costs for whatever reason, doesn't really matter.

Best case scenario I recommend compromise.
Do it for yourself, leave your brother be and let him do his thing, at least that
will give a pretty good idea on the half of it, maybe worry about the other half later.

Darryl G
05-14-2010, 10:33 PM
Reminds me of my dad and his business partner. My dad decided to take a look at the gas receipts. It turns out that his partner was turning in gas receipts for his whole family for reimbursement. So my dad says to his partner, "Norman, I need the keys to your car, I'm taking it to the shop." Norman says, "what for, there's nothing wrong with it." My dad says, "there must me, it's only getting 4 miles per gallon," lol. My point is, maybe there's a reason your brother doesn't want you analyzing gas expenses?

fiveoboy01
05-14-2010, 10:42 PM
No I don't think its like that, he is just stubborn like me and thinks its a waste of time.

I'm ok with doing it all myself. I am going to try to keep on top of fueling the equipment myself. Hopefully he will at least write the mileage down on the reciept whenever he fills one of the trucks.
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gene gls
05-14-2010, 11:12 PM
It goes back and forth but I think we are pretty even overall. We both have money invested but that was only the first couple of years.

I'm aware of the issue with doing the work myself. I just counted the other day and we have 45 weekly accounts and 2 bi-weekly with a few "do it when they call" arrangements. I could hande them myself even with the fulltime job but not during the spring, we did a lot of dethatching and mulch installs as well as a couple overseedings and some stone, still have some mulch and stone to put in yet and some other pending bids.

I don't really want to see the partnership break up, he's a very good worker and helps me a lot, but I know there is more to a business than "just get the work done" if a person wants growth.
I only have good intentions, but I don't think he's convinced of that. At times I am very hard- headed in my approach and sometimes its my way period but I only do that because I feel it will benefit the company.
Posted via Mobile Device

Why don't you take care of fueling the equipment every night or first thing in the AM so you can be sure to record the info you want and not irriate your brother. This is what I ended up doing. My guys would loose reciets, forget to get them, for get to fill up each mower. One day I got fed up and started doing all the equipment service for the daily route. When they came in the rig was ready to roll. Of course the guys didn't like the idea of me adding extra mowing each day to replace thier gas station time.

mdlwn1
05-14-2010, 11:23 PM
Just pay a Brickman Super $100 for a coins takeoff. They have every penny figured out. All you need to do is run 1 tank of gas through however many jobs it will cut. Start off with a 5 year service life. You will be soo dam close to an hourly equipment rate that small differences wont mean much at all. Your not bidding on a 150 acre community, so don't waste too much time on this yet. Your biggest margins at this point will come from route density and quality of service.

fiveoboy01
05-14-2010, 11:48 PM
Why don't you take care of fueling the equipment every night or first thing in the AM so you can be sure to record the info you want and not irriate your brother.

This is the plan I've decided to go with.

All I told my brother was that I wanted the mileage written on the reciept when he fills either of the trucks and I will handle the mowers and other equipment. HOPEFULLY that will be easier than(what seems like) pulling his teeth out.

GrassIsGreenerLawnCare
05-15-2010, 01:27 AM
i also run a partnership LLC w/ my brother. We get along for the most part except when it comes to things like this. Look at the big picture i guess. what REAL improvements will come out of you obtaining all this information?? Just for bidding on larger jobs?? I doubt the information collected will be THAT drastic as to where it puts a HUGE dent in your bid total. I realize what your doing and im all for most attempts to better a partnership, but this seems like it will just cause more friction and negativity than its good for. Like i said...im also in it for the long haul with my brother so i know how these things can pisss u off. but u know after a week he is gonna be pissin and moanin about how ridiculous this is...blah blah.(if hes anythinbg like my brother).lol Just keep it simple so you are both happy. i could see doing this if your business was failing. you could always save money other ways like packing your own lunch and drinks instead of stopping. just a thought. good luck and glad to see sum1 else running a family owned partnership