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Why working with family can be bad!

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by plowfever, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. plowfever

    plowfever Senior Member
    Messages: 234

    It has been a long two seasons! Two years ago I was in business with my father in law and all hell broke loose! Finally I had enough of all his stunts and decided that it was either him or I was going to make a change. I started the business in 1999 and grew it to $750K in 2009. He worked his way into the business somehow throughout the years and I was fine with it till about 4 years ago. He was low balling work, not calling customers back, over charging customers and not paying taxes. I let him in the business because he had a MBA and thought it would be good for him the manage the money aspect of the business. Boy was I wrong! He had been telling me all along he was paying all the taxes and come to find out he hadn't paid any for almost two years. Needless to say we had a heart to heart and he decided he would leave. Well long story short he ended up stealing all my accounts I had worked 10 years to get by low balling me and acts like I am in the wrong. Well it has been two years now and I am starting over from scratch! I have been doing the two lawns I managed to keep as well as three others. I was so mad, frustrated, and hurt that family would treat someone that way. I have taken the high road and been the better person because I feel like I did nothing wrong. I just needed to vent I guess and tell all you guys that are in business with family to make sure you communicate and be totally honest with one another. I blame myself for not making him sign something but who would have ever thought he would pull this stunt with family.
  2. sectlandscaping

    sectlandscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 315

    That is messed up. I wouldnt blame it all on family though. Anyone in his position couldve done that. You shouldve been on top of him and double checking bills were being paid. I dont see how you could miss the tax payment. You get a statement in the mail every month. I'm not trying to blame you but you bare responsibility as the owner.

    As far as him cutting your throat and stealing customers that is hitting below the belt. Theres not much you can do about that. You would lose more by doing a price war so it looks like new clients is the way to go.

    I work with my brother but he has nothing to do with the business end. Him and employees ask how much you getting for this job? I tell them nothing if you dont stop talking and start working. I end up being secretive so something like that doesnt happen.
  3. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,218

    Plowfever: glad I read your posting. This should make evryone think twice about family in business together. What does your wife say about her father ...... if you want to share that ... if not just ignore my question. Best of luck to you.
  4. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Family or not ,you need someone to check the book keeper. to keep him honest.

    IPLOWSNO PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,620

    yup i learned the hard way too, keep your mind on your money and money on your mind, leave everyone else in the dark imo,,

    SNOWLORD Senior Member
    from MN
    Messages: 610

    Family and business rarely work when mixed. After reading your post my mind went insantly to your relationship with your wife, I would concentrate on that thru this mess. And like someone else already said maybe thats to personal for here. I do understand how this whole thing could be draining. Good luck and hang in there.
  7. blk90s13

    blk90s13 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,157

    Never again I will hire any family member.

    long story short my brother wont give me his SS to issue him a 1099 for last season's work !

    He said he didn't make enough to pay taxes on it and I should pay it for him !
  8. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,394

    People are people, it doesn't matter if it's your Father-in-law, Brother or just an employee. I would have zero reservations about working with my Father-in -law but my Brother-in-law.....great guy but ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS looking out for number one. Pruning season, "hey can I borrow a set of your hedge trimmers". leaf season, "hey can you come down and suck up my leaves". I've never heard of any business where family is involved and something didn't happen. Thats too bad, makes for very uncomfortable family get togethers.
  9. buttaluv

    buttaluv Member
    Messages: 83

    I got to believe that people like that will get theirs...one way or another, and it may not come quick, but they'll get theirs....Good luck to you, and keep doing whats right, and you'll get it all back!
  10. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    The wife relationship is on my mind also. The FIL must not care for his daughter very much also.
  11. dlcs

    dlcs 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,160

    I have never had any problems working with my brother in law. Now my own father well lets just say I fired him twice. First ttime he worked for me for 2 weeks, second time it took 1 week. Lets just say i'm a slow learner. Actually i really wanted it to work out.