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Ask Dave

Prevent a Partnership

Dave has a bad feeling about the business arrangement that Mike wants to get into.

QUESTION: Mike in Missouri wants to get in with his friend on a landscaping business as a partner. Are there any concerns going into this? Dave has a recommendation to help him get started.

Dave's ANSWER: I would beg you to not do it. You could buy it and have your buddy work for you, or he buys it and you work for him. You can work for him for a percentage of the profits and not be the owner.

Anything with two heads is a monster. You guys are good friends, and you are going up there to do work for the Lord. You'll end up getting cross with each other because of this stupid landscaping deal. Don't get into something where you own a business together.

I've been doing business counseling and business coaching for 20 years. The number of businesses that have partnerships more than 10 years old is almost zero with the exception of law firms and medical practices. They have different partnership structures in those situations. Very few people have a partnership that lasts in business. It's just a very bad vehicle.

There are 9 million things that can go wrong. Everything bad that happens to their family happens to your business. Everything bad that happens to your family happens to his business. People get into all kinds of stuff like disability and death. All these things that you think aren't going to happen, do happen. Then you are stuck to each other, and it's awful.

Don't do it. The only ship that won't sail is a partnership. Just let him buy it, and you work for him. You can share in the profits. I have folks on my team that share in the profits. That's their primary and only way to get paid. That’s the deal. Please don't do a partnership.