This is why 50/50 partnerships don’t work. A lot of house cleaners will start their business with a partner, and then lose everything. This is the start of our Partnership Series, where we will cover why partnerships don’t work, how to make them work, and how to get out when they don’t work.
Listen: Why 50/50 Partnerships Don’t Work
Watch: Why 50/50 Partnerships Don’t Work
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
Why 50/50 Partnerships Don’t Work
Why 50/50 partnerships don’t work. If you are a business owner, please pay attention to this because this is something that could save your business. Now we have somebody that wrote into the show. She asked this question, and this is a really important question, and it triggered the need to go on a partnership series for you. I’m going to read this to you, and I’m going to answer one of the questions.
And then we’re going to spend the next week and we are going to unpack this question because the reality is there are a lot of cleaning business owners who have business partners, and then when the business partnership falls apart, they have no idea why. And it usually, usually costs them their entire business. So if I can help you prevent some of those errors, then we’re going to be on our way to recovery.
I Have Had Failed Business Partnerships
I want to preface this series by saying I’ve had four failed business partnerships in my 30-year career. I’m not proud of them, and it doesn’t make me a genius for having failed, and it doesn’t make me a fool. What it means is I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I had to learn the hard way, and I don’t want you to have to go through what I went through, okay, because it was pretty miserable.
I’m going to help you understand what partnerships are, how partnerships work. Why people go into partnerships with other people, what the exit strategy is if the partnership does not work out if the partnership is going to survive. And what the agreements are that you have to have in place in order that you can make those partnerships work.
I’m in my 20th year of marriage, and right now my husband is my business partner. So it can work, but there are a certain series of rules and regulations you have to follow if you’re going to make a business partnership work. Let me read this to you.
50/50 Partnership is Not Working
“I started a cleaning business and I asked my sister if she would like to go 50/50 with me on this business. At first, things were going great, but for the last two months, she hasn’t offered any gas money or money to pay for cleaning supplies. I drive 40 minutes one way to pick her up and back. Plus sometimes a couple of the jobs are a little over an hour away from her home.
Every time I say anything, it’s always the same thing. ‘Well, I have bills to pay.’ Well, in reality, I do too. By the time I’m putting 25 or $30 in gas, I’m only making $15 on a job. I went to the store one day to buy supplies and she only gave me $13 towards it. I’ve bought all the business cards myself and I feel bad about all this.
The last two weeks she’s been down on her leg and she can hardly move. Sometimes I’ve had to reschedule with clients and if this keeps up, I’m not going to have any clients at all. When I say I’ll just go do it myself. She was like, ‘No, I’ll go,’ but the work is not up to my standard, so I go back and I redo the work without her knowing. I’m lost and honestly, I don’t know what to do. Please help.”
Admitting the Partnership Isn’t Working is the First Step
All right, I’m going to help. I’m going to start by saying congratulations because you just made a huge move in the right direction. That move that you just made was you admitted the partnership is not working out and you asked for help. That is step number one. You have to recognize that what you’re doing is not working, not working at all, I need help.
So once you admit that things are not going your way and it’s not working out, now you are in a position to do something different. If we don’t do something different, we’re not going to get different results. So that is step number one.
This is A Territory Issue as Well
What I want to do is I want to stop for a second and I want to pay attention to the territory situation of what’s happening here. Which illustrates the need for us to change this partnership. It’s not about partnerships; it’s about territory, but it creates the need. The territory issue is this.
In this email that you sent me, you said you’re driving 40 minutes one way to her house to pick her up for the job, and then 40 minutes coming back after you drop her off after the job is over. That is one hour and 20 minutes per day in drive time that is not billable time, you are not getting paid for.
Now, you said some of the jobs are an hour away from her house, so that is one hour out to the job and one hour back. And you said there were jobs like that, so I’m guessing all the jobs are not an hour away. You’re talking eight and a half hours of drive time that is not billable time, you are not getting paid for. So in essence, that is one entire full workday you are not getting paid for every single week.
This Business Partnership is Not Working
I agree with you. This business partnership is not working. The very first thing that you want to pay attention to when you have a business partnership is why did you get into business in the first place, and why did you get a business partner?
I want to recognize the fact that you already have a business partner and we’re going to go from there. We’re going to unravel and we’re going to unpack this, and then we’re going to figure out how we go from where we are to where we want to be.
Why People Go Into Business With Partners
The next thing I want to address is the reason why people go into business with business partners in the first place. It’s one of a couple of reasons. The first thing is they are hoping the person that’s coming to the table is bringing something they don’t have.
So this person is going to bring moral support, or they’re going to bring financing, which is money support. Or they’re going to bring educational support so you won’t be doing all the things yourself.
But in the email that you sent me, not only are you doing all the things yourself. You’re driving them to the job, you’re buying the supplies, you are running the business. So this doesn’t sound like a 50/50 partnership to me at all.
You Might Not Need a Business Partner at All
My first suggestion to you is to sit down and write down the reasons why you think you need a business partner because when you stop and you analyze, is it because I was hoping someone would bring me the education. You can get an education from somewhere else. It doesn’t have to be somebody that owns half your business.
When you talk about the money, is it somebody who was going to bring you the money? Well, guess what? There are banks and lenders everywhere, and so you can get money from lots of places. It doesn’t have to be a person that owns half of your company. Lots and lots and lots of people have investors in their business and they own 10% or 8% of the business. It’s not 50%.
There are other reasons why you would want a business partner like I really want somebody to spin ideas off of. Well, they have therapists and counselors for that. It doesn’t have to be somebody that owns half your business. Then you say, “Well, I was really hoping for somebody that would understand my business and understand my clients and know what I’m going through.” We have a Facebook group for that and that’s free. There are lots of ways to solve the problems that maybe you were hoping to overcome when you got a business partner in the first place.
If Your Business Partnership is Over
My first recommendation to you is if this business partnership is over … and in the next couple of days, we’re going to go over all the different nuances of business partnerships, why they don’t work, why they can work, and how to make them work should you decide to stay in the situation, which right now I don’t recommend that you do.
It sounds like your sister having physical problems and not being able to work, making excuses of, “I got a problem with my leg,” or whatever. “I’m not able to do this.” And then when you say, “Well, I’ll just go myself,” she’s giving you a guilt trip of saying, “No, no, I’ll go. I’m in pain, but I’ll go. I’ll suffer through this and make this work.” And yet you’re going back and you’re redoing the work already without her knowing about it. There’s something going on there where you don’t want to hurt her feelings by letting her know her work is substandard and you have to go redo the job.
It Will Be Uncomfortable to End the Partnership
I want you to sit down, and this is not going to be an easy process, it’s going to be uncomfortable and you might even be sad. But the good news is this; it’s not going to take years away from your life if you go through this every day and make $15 at the end of a job. That’s not a business. That’s just a crazy job.
So now that we’re in agreement this is not working, come back tomorrow, and we’re going to discuss some of the other elements that will help you regenerate your business in a completely different way.
Business Partnership Essentials: A Step-by-Step Action Plan for Succeeding in Business With a Partner – https://amzn.to/3g7iP2A
When Your Business Partner is Your Spouse: How to Have a Successful Business AND a Happy Marriage – https://amzn.to/3itpaH4
Forming a Successful Business Partnership: The 9 Things You MUST Consider When Starting a Small Business with a Partner and Creating a Business Partnership Agreement – https://amzn.to/3cNYNZ5
Strategic Business Partner: Aligning People Strategies with Business Goals – https://amzn.to/3x6g7A7
Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You – https://amzn.to/3pBmSHs
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