Another partnership dilemma

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by fga, Feb 11, 2004.

  1. fga

    fga LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,449

    I just lost my worker of 6 years. I've been a 2 man crew, me and this guy from day one. I've tried to hire a 3rd guy so many times but they only last a week or 2 at most. so right now before the season, I'm completely solo.
    I have a budy of mine who has a route similar to mine, and has asked me several times about a partnership. I've always been uneasy about partnering up with a friend, as it is now, we help each other often (truck failure, equipment failure, worker failure, etc.). How do you feel about partnerships? partnerships with a friend? How would you combine 2 businesses together? Do I have to ask him before I give an estimate, and vice versa? If my truck breakes down, does it come out a the biz account or personal? I know I'd be pissed if my partner's truck needed $300 a week in repairs! How do you keep both of your paperwork consistent? What if one guys really pulling more then the other guy? :confused: :confused: These "little" things drive me to not attempt it.
    The biggest temptation is this.... between us we'd be cutting roughly 220 accounts weekly. He'd rather do jobs, and always seems to be behind in his lawns. I'd rather be cutting, and stay on top of my lawns, and loose some jobs because I can't get to them. Sounds like a match, just can't make the plunge...
    what do you think, go with my gut and stay by myself? Its so hard to find a worker I don't have to pick up and drop off every day. The horror stories i could tell you about trying to find a 3rd worker..... last guy, during lunch by a customers house, lights up a "funny cigarette", I could smell it from down the block! I once asked this guy to take over trimming when the customer wanted to B.S. w/ me.... he actually asked me in front of the customer,"....why, what are you going to be doing?" Keep in mind he was just standing there when I asked him. I wish I could pull it off totally solo.
  2. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,547

    stay solo, employees will always be hard to find its just the way it is.
  3. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    I too suggest to stay solo. Perhaps cut back on your customers to maintain the high quality and personal attention until you find 2 more guys. Yup 2 more. 1 full time and 1 part time. If the full time guy ever leaves you have the part time to fill in the space.
  4. MudslinginFX4

    MudslinginFX4 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,170

    I to would stay solo. Put an add in your local paper and just search around for an employee. I'm sure you will be able to find one. Atleast you need another employee and have the yards, you are ahead of a lot of people from that stand point.
  5. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,677

    I don’t think you fully understand the concept of partnership it can be a great thing or as you fear your worst nightmare.

    You mentioned repairs and things that cost well if you merge you have no more personal moneys the business is the bank account and you would only get paid when you both agree on it so any repairs would in fact be paid by you and him profits would be shared according to your ownership % you may not be 50/50 like you have in your mind.

    First thing would be to put a value on accounts and equipment and trucks it wouldn’t be fair for you to put in 30 k worth of stuff and have him stick in 50 k and expect equal share of the profit. You may find your both close to the same size or perhaps one guy has to put up cash as well. Starting a partnership after the business has already become real is much harder then if you both had a dream and decided to make a go of it. So say you do work out that part and you each take shares of the business and yes I would recommend if you were going to do it to incorporate and have shares printed up so there is no miss understanding.

    Next thing once that is settled some one has to be president and some one has to be vice president you can not both be the final word or nothing can ever get done I happen to have a 60/40 partnership in the form of an S corp. I am President and CEO he is Vice President and Treasurer so while I do have the final say he actually controls the bank account. From what you said you seem to compliment each other by liking different parts of the trade that could work for you but don’t get jealous or start fights over who’s pulling more weight cutting lawns is different then planting jobs I could see that working if you had your own areas of the company so perhaps you split stuff like I do. My partner does all filing billing and phone calls where I am the one who has to go out on the weekends and evenings and do the estimates that he sets up. I hope your beginning to see just how complicated this will be if you decide to do it. It does sound like you are pretty bad at training the new employees if he is better at that then perhaps that could help your employee shortage. That is an area of my business that I take on personally.

    But most important you have to have the same dreams and desires of where you want your company to be if you want it to grow to 1000 accounts and he would be happy with 150 your gona have problems that can not be overcome another fight you will have is what’s the new name going to be.

    You have a month or so to decide weather your going to try to make a go of this if your serious you need to be talking to him not us and you need to be bringing up the very points I made and see how well that goes. Odds are you wont get pass the talking stage. It is that difficult to see eye to eye.

    One more thing as for the friendship the reasons people don’t like to go into business with friends is they feel if it fails they will lose the friend that is a distinct possibility but I wouldn’t do it any other way if I don’t like the person what am I doing going into business with him.
  6. fga

    fga LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,449

    Kelly, sounds as complicated as it does in my mind! I'm so used to doing every aspect of the biz, from weeding to estimates. As far as being a bad trainer, I don't know. I would definitely say i try not to be intimidating, but encourage a good attitude. The examples I've given were 2 dumd@sses, they wouldn't have worked effeciently for anyone, that's why they were in and out in a couple of days. Alot of the younger guys I try to hire and train seem to have this awful attitude that they display after they're hired. Like alot of young guys (NOT ALL), wanting high pay for little effort. Kelly, thanks for your reply.
  7. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,677

    High pay hehehe they all think they are worth 15-20 an hour I got one guy that I will be paying 15 this year and he’s got nearly as much experience as me this is going to be his 13th season and he will be running my third crew.

    Well let us know what you end up doing I’m interested in weather it can even be done.
  8. fga

    fga LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,449

    I don't think it can be done, but then i'll think it can....... and so goes my headache for the next couple of weeks:dizzy:
  9. GreenQuest Lawn

    GreenQuest Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 822

    I had a partner.......Now I dont.......

    Dont do it man!
  10. jajwrigh

    jajwrigh LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Martinsville, IN
    Messages: 1,405

    Some guys have been fortunate with a partnership, but I would never ever get involved with one. A few years before I got incorporated I tried to start a partnership, but there was always a struggle for control and disagreements about what "fair" was.

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