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Ask Dave

Create A Joint Venture Instead

Joshua has a side job cleaning businesses. The bank he couriers for has offered to allow him to possibly clean 72 branches. He needs help.

QUESTION: Joshua in Pennsylvania has a side job cleaning businesses, and he spoke with someone about cleaning the bank he does courier work for. But the bank has offered to allow him to possibly clean 72 branches. He needs help and wants to know how to bring in his friend Albert. Dave recommends a joint venture—not a partnership.

ANSWER: Just split the responsibilities. Out of the 72 branches, a certain number of them are yours and a certain number of them are his. Two independent businesses doing what I would call a joint venture in order to get this big contract, but you’re not sharing secretaries, you’re not sharing books, you’re not sharing checking accounts. You don’t even share business cards. In a sense, you get the bid through, and he agrees to subcontract and take care of X number of the 72 branches for you.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. You’re better off to do a great job and totally own them and have them wanting you to expand because you’re completely incredible and leaving a mint on the executive’s desk every time you clean or whatever. That kind of stuff is more important than just volume. Sometimes, the thing that causes a business to fail is too much success.

You could sub this out to your friend in a sense. Turn in the bid, and have an agreement with him in writing that he’s agreeing to bid and just list off the addresses. He’s agreeing to take this portion of the obligation to clean. If you want to make a little profit from him for putting the deal together, that’s fine. Or you can just let him have the money from those units. Either one is fine with me. Everybody just needs to know what’s going on. That way, you’re not really in business together and yet you have teamed up.