Doing Business with Family Members
February 18, 2007 6:41pm CST
My husband has always wanted to own and operate his own business. We moved to Florida after we had been married for 5 or so years and had two small children. We started our own lawn service and worked it with his sister and brother in law at the time later on she had a boyfriend we worked it with. We brought in most of the accounts and my husband paid them way to much money but not to start any battles left well enough alone. Well time goes on and we decide that we can no longer keep doing the business with them and we sell out to some men that were working for us(which was a big mistake). His sister was so mad at us for selling out and moving (which was none of her business as far as I am concerned) that after we came back to Iowa she sent us nasty letters and so forth. After we get back here my husband decides to go into business with his other sister and brother in law and now 6 years later my husband is doing all of the work to keep it going and his brother in law is lazy and does very little. WE have one more year till it is paid off and I want to be done with it. My husband and I both work nites full time so we can work at the greenhouses during the day and his sister and brother in law work days. I think that is so unfair. I want to work days too but know won't work till it is paid for. What would you do in a situation like this? I would just like to see it go under and it is close to that barely making ends meet and we just both take the debt that is left and pay it but no they want to keep it going and my husband keeps doing all of the work to keep it going. Don't ever go into business with family don't work proved it 2 times here. Tell me your opinions would love to have them. Sorry so lengthy.
2 people like this
• United States
21 Feb 07
Personally, when it comes to going into Business with a Close Family member, or personal friend, unless you can agree 100% from the start and choose to continue to talk it out, your Business and Friendship is doomed. I have found the easiest way to ruin family ties, is to try and include them in something with you that includes $$. It just never seems to work, and you have issues all of the time, and people not wanting to do the Work required, and then still expect their share in the profits without considering the time involved, expenses, etc. No, if you want to go into Business... Do it with your husband, but leave the rest of them out of it. You will have a lot better life when you do.
• United States
19 Feb 07
I totally agree, Don't ever go into business with a family member. I guess if you had some really special circumstances you might, but my advice is do not. I like you have had personal experience with money owed and bad feelings left unresolved. My husband and I went into business with his parents and ended up $30,000 in debt with no business, and this only took 3 years from opening to closing. Luckily we have no children and we sustained the blow to our marriage, with no jobs and no place to live we borrowed from family and both went back to school. It is two years since our business closed, we are both working now and we have paid off more than half of the debt, but there has never been closure and there are still bad feelings, which is really sad. In your particular situation I would work until it was mine and then get out of it and move on, only if just to start somewhere where you could do it all yourselfs, weather that means owning a business or going back to work for someone else. Sometimes the whole thing has to be finished and left behind before you can move on and feel better about what you did right. And from what it sounds like, thats all you did.
• United States
19 Feb 07
Hi Gramskaren: I decided to check out your discussion as you asked. It is a good one too because I am thinking about going into business with a family member too. Just this past weekend we discussed it, but I will get back to that... Now, of course they would like to keep the business going because they are not doing anything, you and your husband are. I think it would be up to you and your husband to bit the bullet again, and do what is best for your too. If they want to keep the business going, then I would sign everything over to them and have them buy you two out. If they are not willing to do that then I would do what would be best for you and your husband. It may cause waves like in the past - and yes it was none of her business and the nasty letters were uncalled for - but it is better than you two suffering behind the business. On the other alternative, it is only one more year. I mean you are coming close to the end and if you can stick it out (only if this is the best alternative) then stick it out for one more year. Again, I would only do this if it is the best alternative. I think you and your husband will have to sit down and make a list of pros and cons of any decision that may be on the horizon. Then see which decision path pans out to be a better choice. I mean, things don't always happen just the way we plan them, but with careful planning the decision that is decided upon could work out nicely for the two of you. I really wouldn't take much of their feelings into the decision making because they don't care that you two are struggling to keep the business a float. I hope that helps. I am typing as it is coming to me, so it may not all be in proper order. Now, personally there are only 2 people in my entire family (extended family and all- and there are thousands - literally) that I would consider doing business with. The cousin I am considering and one of my uncles. Other than that, I wouldn't even consider it. I mean everything is not in stone and if things don't progress the way I desire it to then I will gracefully step away from it, because nevertheless, it is supposed to be something that will better me and my situation and not make things worse. Sorry for the super long response, but I just couldn't answer this one with a two or three liner :-) Best... Andre'a P.S. If you dont think I am being too personal, please do share what decision you two decide to make it would be interesting to see how it all works out. Thanks!