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When life throws you a real curveball

Lorainfurniture

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I've been in business for myself for almost 20 years.  I started at age 18, as an antique dealer. My store has always been fluid, changing with the times and the economy.  When I started 18 years ago, my store was situated in a neighborhood that you would call "seedy", to be generous.  It was the perfect location for a used retail store. I've always managed to thrive, even though the "Great Recession ".  At this point in my life, I'm mostly an appliance dealer. I make a good living at my shop, and I don't really work (physically) hard anymore.  

 

I still find find myself working 7 days a week mostly, about 60-70 hours.  After all is said and done, I make about $150k per year, net.  Give or take.  

 

My my background is in industrial machines. Ever since I was 10 I was maintaining food processing equipment for my family business.  My brother took over said business and has really thrived on a level most of us commoners could not even imagine.  He really needs/ wants me to work for him. 

 

Ill cut to the chase. 

 

Hes offering me $105 k to start, working a very structured 40 hour work week.  Retirement, insurance, etc.  My neighborhood where my store resides has really gentrified, now my location is in high demand. I can rent my storefronts for basically more than what my business can afford to pay. About $50k per year. 

So option 1: stay, make about 150 per year, long hours, employees, inconsistent income. 

 

Option 2: get a job, make a bit less (after taxes), at least for now. I would easily believe my salary will double within 10 years.  Very standard 40 hour week, weekends off, vacation, more time with my family.  

 

Sounds like a no brainer, but I'm terrified.  I've never made such a big life decision. 



11 Comments


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Hiroshi

Posted

Quality of life is the determining factor for my piece of mind- if that extra 50k doesn't afford you the time to see a ballgame or have a few beers with friends, what good is it? 

I certainly don't want my headstone to read: "Here is a man that worked too much, saved a mountain of money, but was too old to go skiing with the cash, then croaked on a velvet pillow."

 

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Samurai Appliance Repair Man

Posted

Brother Hiroshi maketh heap good points. The epitaph is particularly poignant. 

Let's consider the pros and cons of the offer:

PRO: it's a family business

CON: it's a family business

Family businesses go one of two ways: gang busters awesome or gang bangers hell. 

So... how are things with you and bro?

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Lorainfurniture

Posted

2 hours ago, Samurai Appliance Repair Man said:

So... how are things with you and bro?

Very good, we are very close. He's a year and a half older than me. I've always helped him out whenever I could back in the day when financially I was doing better than him.  He's returned the favor anytime I have asked without hesitation times 10.  

 

The job he is offering me doesn't exist in his plant. Likely I will just be a trusted overseer to make sure everything runs smoothly.  The occasional repair or adjustment of any one of the food processing equipment.  In his words, I would just be "folding myself in". 

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Samurai Appliance Repair Man

Posted

 

2 hours ago, Lorainfurniture said:

Very good, we are very close.

Based on that, it seems like a slam dunk to go with bro. Could be the beginning of a lifelong partnership building a multimillion dollar empire. Historically, family has always been the basic building block of society and business. History is with you! 

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Lighthouse

Posted

For me benefits are a big factor. I was making a lot more money a couple of years ago while I was still going to sea. I really enjoyed my time at sea. What is more important to me now is the time that I am getting to spend at home with my family. I still work long hours but I don't work weekends. Time with your family and quality of life are a couple of things that cannot be replaced. There is an opportunity that I have been been looking at that will pay me a little less money than I am making now but it has full benefits and 7-4, weekends & holidays off. No bone headed customers to deal with. As I get older quality of life for me means more time off to spend with family and enjoy activities. I am more interested in making memories than money. I grew up in a family business and it can be tough but it can also be more rewarding.

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Thirstytech

Posted

For me, quality of life beats everything else every time. Provided you are not in a situation financially that you just can't survive on a little less money, at least initially. Time is the one thing you can never replace. 

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beyonddoubt

Posted

At my business, we're just reduced our store hours by 10 per week to give everyone a better work/life balance. The extra money wasn't improving my quality of life as much as extra time would. My vote would be to make the move! If you don't know what to do with all the free time, you could continue freelancing appliance repair or rebuliding machines in your spare time to supplement the pay.

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newtech11

Posted

Your brother's offer is great. But did you go into business to work for someone else or work for you? It's nothing like being Captain of your own ship. As Mel Brooks said and I quote "Its' good to be the King." Hire you a general manager and enjoy life.

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mikeyjd

Posted

I would endeavor to duplicate myself and do both. It sounds like a challenge you of all people might actually be cut out for. You can always scale your current business back to only the most profitable portions and cut the rest out.

You might be taking on as much as your business can handle even when deals are only marginal. If you hyperfocused your current business to be managed and profitable in your absense I think you could have the best of both worlds.

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Joe B, Stoughton Appliance Repair

Posted

Eugene,

A little late here, hope it's going well.

You've always seemed pretty smart, and it seems you've had your shit together.

That said, do whichever reduces stress and makes you happier.  Money isn't the issue.  People everywhere thrive on less, and you've got the hustle and skills to always kick up more income if you need it.

If the family business is gonna be high-stress that's probably not a great trade.  I know you wrote 40 hours, but only knowing that it's a family business I'd suspect there's a real potential to slide into 50-60 hours.  Another potential pitfall could be negative feelings and possible resentment from your brothers employees who'd see him hiring an "unqualified" family member into an upper management position as a gift.  You may have to work to earn some respect and that may not be something a prior "owner" is used to doing.  Not that you can't...but there is potential, for that.

Lastly, even if you've already decided to go ahead with your brother.  It would certainly be worth some research time at the local library to look into family business best practices.  It's good to be clear up front.  You're goal is to improve your quality of life, not destroy relationships with your brother.

Dave Ramsey isn't always my cup of tea, but I know he has some books (Generations, maybe?) on family businesses and passing them down to the second generation.  If nothing else something like that may be a good starting point.

Best of luck!

 

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Lorainfurniture

Posted

On 6/3/2017 at 9:07 PM, mikeyjd said:

I would endeavor to duplicate myself and do both. It sounds like a challenge you of all people might actually be cut out for. You can always scale your current business back to only the most profitable portions and cut the rest out.

You might be taking on as much as your business can handle even when deals are only marginal. If you hyperfocused your current business to be managed and profitable in your absense I think you could have the best of both worlds.

I've been implementing that lately.  I hired a guy a couple of years ago, and I finally am comfortable enough to send him on some service calls.  Personally I only do about 3 or so calls a week.   My store manager can keep the store somewhat together, and my salesman is pretty good.  

 

Basically I did duplicate myself, but it took 3 people.  

 

As as far as scaling my business, I will look at the numbers at the end of the year.  It's hard to not carry something, or shrink. I'm having a record year, it seems whatever I put on the floor sells immediately.   I definitely do best with used appliances, but new appliance sales have been steadily improving.  

 

I decided to to wait until the end of the year.  I spoke with my brother, my offer is standing, so whenever I decide I can go there.  I've been keeping meticulous records financially this year, so finally after 17 years I'll know how much I make annually.  Once I have those figures in hand I can really make the best decision.  

I also just bought another basket case of a building so I can't rock the financial boat.  

On 6/8/2017 at 0:21 PM, Joe B, Stoughton Appliance Repair said:

but only knowing that it's a family business I'd suspect there's a real potential to slide into 50-60 hours.  

Likely no, I may have misled you guys with the "family business " wording.  It's so big at this point it's more like a corporation with just one owner.    It would be conceivable that I would work 50, but I'm already working 60-70 

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