Starting a new training business among friends

Publicado el 19 de March de 2015

It is common for friends who share a love for training to make the move to the professional world by setting up a company of their own.

But these companies may end up as the rosary of dawn, ending in many cases not only the professional union but the previous friendship that united the partners. In the world of dog training, many have been through this unpleasant and emotionally draining situation.

However I think these arrangements can be successful with a set of rules that avoid most misunderstandings and disagreements.

Perhaps the main problem here is the level of involvement and the hours spent, often the availability of time (or inclination) of the different partners is different. This idea of “everyone do what they can,” which at first seems acceptable to all, ends up feeling like abuse by the more hard workers, who feel that they are doing the work of their peers and that the distribution of money is very unfair, with phrases like “you know that I cannot train in the evenings” do not help anything!

My proposal is to divide the work into categories depending on what is to be done, not many categories just two or three, for example: Office work, street work and long journeys. Then assign an hourly rate for each category, for example: five Euros/office hours, ten Euros/hour street work and twelve Euros/hour long trips. Each of the partners will get paid the hours worked and the (supposed) benefit will only be split once obtained after paying for the work of each worker.

In this model, it is very important to avoid assigning salaries according to technical difficulty, for example by giving a different price to the hours spent training than to the hours spent leafleting: both belong to the category “street work” and must be paid equally. This prevents some from feeling like subordinates of others, which is very common when not all members have the same level of technical skills.

I also recommend dividing at least a portion of the profits in proportion to working hours. This is important for companies that are set up with an initial investment close to zero Euros, although a partner does not charge for hours worked if they are to gain the benefits that, we hope, will be growing. To collect benefits, something must be invested: money or work, if not, rather than a partner, we have a parasite.

There should also be a minimum and maximum number of hours of work per week, the minimum makes us see if the members are really in the business or if they are just passengers. The maximum hours prevents people from overloading, with the mental exhaustion that this implies. If someone works to excess, s/he will be more inclined to think that s/he is the company, to feel that others do not take the project seriously…and this is not true in many cases, another partner really can work fewer hours but do them with enthusiasm and effectiveness. This is not a parasitic partner and it is not fair to take it out on him/her, it is not always the one who works most that is right in these discussions. If we set minimums and maximums, these problems radically reduce.

This model allows you to live everyday according to the phrase that my friend Cándido often repeated: “Clear accounts make for lasting friendships.”

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