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Different workload between business parners

Different workload between business parners

Different workload between business parners

There was a similar tread recently, but I need an advice on slightly different case.
We are two partners (equal share) running small engineering company. We are both engineers, but my partner is more specialized in commercial activities and dealing with external subcontractors. My part is design department and commissioning works. My partner works mostly in the office, including some (but not so much) overtimes. From other hand, big part of my workload is on commissioning works, sometimes in the country, sometimes abroad. Commissioning is never strictly limited to 8 hours working time - usually deadline is "for yesterday" and very often I must work 10-12 hours, far from the family and without weekends for 2 or 3 weeks. For such work we pay normally overtime to our personnel.
My question is: should I insist to receive additional money for these periods? Looking from engineering point of view payment should be equal to the workload. But how from ethical point? What is your experience in similar cases?
Any suggestions will be highly appreciated!

It may be like this in theory and practice, but in real life it is completely different.
The favourite sentence of my army sergeant

RE: Different workload between business parners

I would think that the best thing to do is to sit down with the partner and let them know what you feel.  Maybe your partner takes work home and does extra work that you don't see.

If things aren't balanced or fair, the two of you should be able to work something out that will make it fair - extra pay for you, or extra time off to make up for the hours you've put in.

If this is an ongoing problem, the answer may be to find another engineer willing to help on a casual or part-time basis.

RE: Different workload between business parners

Thank you, stephenw22. I know very well how much each one of us works, and it is not a problem that sometimes I take more work, in other cases my partner. Also the financial return is not equal - from commercial activities more profit is coming with less working hours. The only problem is the extra field work, which loads even more my family than myself (I enjoy my profession!). You are right, we should sit down and discuss the matter. Up to now we have very good common understanding, but I had never raised this question. I have seen many companies separated after several years, possibly when partners feel that they are taking off from the bottom, and I afraid to destroy our partnership.

It may be like this in theory and practice, but in real life it is completely different.
The favourite sentence of my army sergeant

RE: Different workload between business parners

let's be practical: can you estimate how much commercial activities of your partner affect your business destiny? can you get jobs without partner's commercial work?

if the answer is no, maybe you could accept the situation...

if the answer is yes, you should prepare yourself to potential end of partnership and than gently raise the question


RE: Different workload between business parners

I also agree you should sit down and talk and sooner rather than later, thinks seldom get better if you sit and let them eat away at you. I would strongly recommend a time when you are not in the office and likely to be disturbed, one of you is rushing to get something done or either are in a bad mood.

When I went into business with a partner we were advised to have a partners agreement, a legally binding document, the way it was put to us is a business partnership is like a marriage, you do not go into it thinking you will fall out and possibility hate each other in the future but it can and does happen, this covers both parties without favouring either.

There are many scenarios that may crop up, what happens if one of you is unable to work for a period of time? One of you wants to grow the company, but one is happy as things stand? One of you say inherits some money and only wants to work part time. The more things you cover the better. Most people are happy as long as they perceive things as fair; it is easier to determine what is fair before something happens.

Good luck I hope you resolve this soon.

RE: Different workload between business parners

So, he brings in more money while doing fewer hours... and you think /he's/ the problem?


Greg Locock

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RE: Different workload between business parners

Thank you all, and especially ajack1, you hit the point with most of potential problems I have estimated for such partnership.
Actually according to me we both are doing our best for the company, everybody in the area where he is better. I think it will not be a good idea for us to separate, as my partner is much better than me in negotiations (generally I don't like this part, excluding rare cases when negotiated some souvenirs on a market in Africa smile), and he cannot perform and even manage my tasks. So we supplement each other an I it will be very stupid to split the company.
The problem is that my family relations suffer from my field work and I wonder whether it is ethical to ask for some compensation.

It may be like this in theory and practice, but in real life it is completely different.
The favourite sentence of my army sergeant

RE: Different workload between business parners

I must say I do not agree with the view of Greg Locock. For example how much does it cost Honda (or anyone else for that matter) to run a formula one team? Now how many other employees of the company that actually earn the company money get paid more than the drivers? Sometimes the non profit making areas of a company are more important than the profit making, although overall obviously the company needs to make a profit.

Iz5pl I think you need to sit back and look at where you are, at least in the early days surely getting the company off to a solid start is more important than personal gain? Your problem seems to be you are unhappy with the time you spend away from your family, will extra money really change that?

RE: Different workload between business parners

Personally, as one of the partners, you should get the same pay as your partner.  If you are having to do more, then you should take a look at promoting or hiring a new employee to take some of the workload off you.  Not all of it, just leave what you can handle.  Look to writing a job description for both you, your partner, and this new position.  Qualified employees can do some marketing and client contact.  I did.  I still do.

It's called growth.

Mike McCann
McCann Engineering

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