|software and anything else that benefitted
Randy Vines, co-owner of STL-Style and
a Costco member, says the two businesses
have had some very minor disagreements
about design elements and customers disrupting
the work of the screen printer, but for
the most part pooling resources has been
working well for them.
"We shared space with them before this
year, but that was when our company wasn't
open to the public," says Vines.
Considering teaming up?
If you think a business-sharing partnership might work for you, here are some aspects to reflect on before signing on the dotted line. Quadagno emphasizes that it's more important to know the other employees before moving in together than to know about their business. "Assess the personalities you're going to be working with to make sure you're all compatible," suggests Jones. "These are people we like being around." Jones also highly recommends clearing
|any kind of sharing arrangement with the building's landlord before putting a plan into gear, having a sublet agreement that spells out how much the other party will pay and requiring 30 days' notice if there's a change in occupancy by either party. "You should always get things in writing, have a business plan and make legal agreements, even if the people are your friends," says Vines. "If one deal goes awry, it could sour the whole relationship." Most businesses in these types of partnerships prefer being on their own and hope to do so when the economic climate improves. How will a company know when it's time to move on? "The natural growth of our businesses will indicate when it's time to cancel this arrangement," says Quadagno. "It's a financial help for us now. Ideally, it would have been great to be on our own, but this way the receptionist is one less employee we have to pay," he says. "In another year the accounting firm will leave or we'll find more suitable space, like a warehouse, where we have room to grow."||
Jones says he'll know the time is right when he's spending more time dealing with the other business than with his own. So far that hasn't happened; he also says when there's no longer enough space for both companies, then it will be time to move on. Vines says that the bottom line means everything in today's economy, so it makes great sense to find a company and people you're compatible with and share resources.
Heather Larson, a writer in Tacoma, Washington, frequently writes about business and finance for a variety of publications.