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    Orginially posted February 2008 – Let’s see if there is any difference 10 years later.


    Working for Family

    BOBO- Anyone here work for their father, etc? Is it just me, or is it almost impossible. It was good at first now I am in the office and so close with him all day, there are so many practices I don’t agree with.



    My dad and I tried being partners several different times. It never worked out in the end. But I had a few other guys I tried to partner with also that never worked out. My dad wasn’t around much when I was growing up. I think the resentment from that prevented it. But he and I both are terribly stubborn on top of that. My brother in law and I did many jobs together and usually didn’t have any problems but I moved away from where he lives a long time ago.


    Yea, we are not partners. He does pay me very well for what I do and I have a very nice company truck, plus bonus all the time. Sometimes throwing money at the problem isn’t always the answer ya know, I am thinking about branching our on my own. My brother did a few years ago, moved to other counties so it wouldn’t be a problem. The only problem is I plan on opening shop right here where I sit. I think that would make for an interesting holiday season. Wouldn’t do it until the spring though, any advice?


    If you’re young (or maybe even if your not) my advice is stick with him. He will leave you the business. Sounds like your making good money so why leave a good situation with what seems to be a good future as well?

    MIKE H-

    I was in my mid 20’s when I started working for my dad. Fortunately we were close to start with. It has its moments, but the key to it really working out is realizing that we are all different. Find where you individual talents are different and each of you focuses on your unique strong points that you bring to the business. It doesn’t need two people doing the same thing the same way. That’s a recipe for stagnation. If you do what you’re best at, and you agree on the things should be and who has what responsibilities, then you are laying the groundwork for a health mutual respect. I was 33 and dad was 57 when I told my dad that I could no longer afford to work with him. The company was growing, and I had changed a lot of things for the better. There was no way I would wait until dad was ready to go to the pasture, or passed away. I could not afford to but it then, or would have to sell for tax liability. So we drew up a mutual purchase agreement that rewarded him well for years to come, and freed me to grow as needed. A year later when we signed the papers, he pushed the paper across the desk and said, “Don’t expect to see me unless I get a phone call.” He was serious. He’ll help in any way he can, but if I don’t call him, he ain’t showing up. I you guys can work it out. Some dads just won’t let go out of stubbornness. Some won’t let go cuz their relationships with their children aren’t that string and there are fearful they’ll be left in the cold after working all those years. Some recognize that they don’t have a kid capable of carrying the torch. Whatever your case is, I hope it works out for you.


    I was 16 and my dad was 39 when I told him the same!


    I worked for my dad for years. From the time I was 5 till I was 20. At that point, he couldn’t work on the roofs anymore and he gave me and my brother-in-law the business. That lasted for 6 years, and then we split up. A lot of respect for my father, but the business was worth what the next job paid. Not too many businesses are worth money, especially the way we do work today.


    My dad and I worked together for years, I thought I was a partner then, but he was the boss. He finally became incapacitated for a spinal condition and was down sick for several years. He refused to accept any money from the business and insisted I buy him out, which I did in 1975. He was always available for consultation, but was too incapacitated to ever visit another jobsite. I still miss him. I agree with TRG, don’t go in competition with you dad, it only causes hard feelings and in the long run it is not worth it.


    It takes a strong relationship to work with or for family and friends. What everyone has to remember is that while at work, you have no family and no friends. Once you are off the clock that changes. My husband and I have worked together for most of our 26 years. At times he was the boss and other times I was the boss. At first it put an incredible strain on our relationship. Now, we have learned to deal with it. Our ex GM has his son, nephew, sister and daughter’s boyfriends working here. The nepotism was intolerable. The dad did everything he could to keep the “clan” happy while everyone else was gritting their teeth and hating the situation. Not only can working together hurt your relationship; it can lose you good employees who are not related.


    There was an article in Professional roofing a few years ago. Children in the family roofing business would go work for another successful roofing company. It was for the learning experience. Learn how other where handling issues. It was generally a 2-year deal if I am not mistaken. The companies were in a different area.


    I read once that statistically the most successful successions are ones where the son or daughter works somewhere else, at a different occupation for a few years and then comes back to the family business.


    I’ve never worked for family but they’ve worked for me. Let’s just say that it wasn’t what I had envisioned. Maybe I expected too much in the way of concern for the company’s well being. Never dreamed there would be jealousy, envy, disloyalty, generally not giving a chit, and undermining to deal with.


    Well, I worked for my dad; I can tell you that before ever graduating from college I never though I would work for my dad. We have very different views on a lot of things. When I graduated college 7 years ago he offered me a job. I will say in the beginning it was very hard working for a family member. We also have a total of family members that work for us. It is also hard to separate family and work. It has gotten a lot better and we communicate a lot more then we have in the past. So actually working together has built a stronger relationship with my dad. I have told everyone that I will retire before my dad does. So we will have to wait and see what the future holds.


    When I first started in the roofing business thirty-eight years ago it was working for my father and then I started working for another roofer besides my father thirty years ago. It was fun and boy oh boy did I lean my lesson well. When my father quit roofing for a few years I got my license and never looked back and by the second year I was grossing $250,000 and $125,000 was pure profit after paying for material and what little bit of overhead. Oh the 1990s, under Clinton, were some great years. My father saw what great money I was making and jumped back in and we have allied together ever since. We get along great these days as our professionalism is quite high and we like the same people and things and we also dislike, sometimes hate, the same people, items and competitors. When a family can put their differences aside to make money together- it helps to make each and every day truly beautiful and there are going to be greater days of pure profit ahead in the next five to ten years. Gosh how I love to roof.


    Tough spot to be in. I’ve been there. In the case of my father, he was not a business person, just a good honest worker. He never learned the business part of the business and spent his time working for wages and digging a hole that he never got out of. I was in my teens and lift at 21 to start up with a partner, but we also didn’t know the business end of things. Unfortunately my father died that same year at the age of 42. Left a very large family with nothing. A real tragedy. If I knew then what I know now I would have gotten some business education and worked on building a real business with him. I would recommend trying to work on making changes that you can both agree on. Communication is key. But, it may prove to be an unworkable situation and at some point you will have to move on. Try not to burn any bridges. A father cannot be replaced.



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