Tips for Working With Family and Friends in Your Contracting Business

When you think about starting a contracting business, it’s tempting to consider involving family and friends in the endeavor. After all, you know them and they know you. If you have a pretty good idea of their work ethic and what to expect, it can be a great partnership. It might also not work out the way you think. Here are a few things to consider before you make a choice.

Balance Skill Sets and Knowledge
Having a partner who can balance out your knowledge and experience is ideal. If you’re trying to do a complicated task, it’s smart to have two people who each have expertise in different areas. Two people who know the same things may find that their effort put together isn’t sufficient. If you’re thinking about going into business with a friend or relative a few years from now, you can tailor your education to suit it. That way, you can ensure that all the requirements for your business are met by one person or the other.

Identify Goals for the Business
Bringing two people with a long friendship together to build a business can be excellent if you have common goals. It’s a wise idea to sit down and outline what you expect to get from the business, as well as how you feel about taking risks. Misalignment on these basic aspects can lead to serious conflicts, and they may not take long to show up. It’s wise to be wary about a partnership of two people who are a lot alike. Sometimes, it’s harder to challenge a decision made by someone who acts just the way that you would. And it can also make you less likely to think about things from a different perspective. You want to partner with someone that you have a lot in common with, but perhaps not everything.

Evaluate Conflict Management Styles
When you evaluate a partner for your business, you might wonder how they act when they are under duress or facing a significant conflict. With a friend or family member, you probably have a good idea of what you can expect. This can be a good or bad thing, depending on how their conflict management style meshes with yours. If you love to address a conflict head-on, you may struggle to engage with someone who needs to think over it. Similarly, if you like to take a day or two to calm yourself and think about a resolution, you might find it difficult to resolve conflict with someone who demands an answer right now.

Set Clear Expectations
With friends and especially with family, it’s tempting to bypass a lot of things that your business actually needs to run. You would never agree to a job without a clear, written expectation of requirements and payment. When it comes to a family member, it might be easier to let things slide. Instead, you should make sure that you are running your business much in the same way that you would with someone that you don’t know very well. This means that you should:

  • Set clear expectations for the business
  • Outline requirements for each job
  • Provide details in writing

That way, you don’t have to worry about anger or hurt feelings based on a misunderstanding that you can’t clarify.

Get Outside Opinions
Going into business with your best friend or a cousin you’ve known from childhood may sound like an amazing idea. It’s wise to get outside opinions on that. If you have a lot of people in your social circle telling you to reconsider for various reasons, it’s a good idea not to ignore them. Going into business is a big endeavor and it can cause a lot of stress for people in the first few years. If you notice a lot of signs that you and your partner won’t be a good match to run a successful business, it is better to know that before you get embedded in all the responsibilities.

Starting a business with a friend or family member is a common choice, but you have to do it wisely. To learn more about running a contracting business, contact CSLS today!

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About CSLS

Contractors State License Service (CSLS) is the largest school in California devoted to the Construction professional. For over 23 years, CSLS has helped its students pass the exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California, licensing more students than any other school. From our main offices in Southern California, CSLS operates over 25 locations with full-service support and classrooms. We have grown to this extent by providing quality, professional services. In comparison, this provides 7 times the number of convenient locations than the second largest contractor school. Contractors State License Services is one of the only contractor schools in the state that is run by educators, not lawyers or people mostly interested in the bonding and insurance business. Contractors State License Services formerly operated under the oversight of the State of California's Bureau for Private Post Secondary and Vocational Education. As of January 1 2010, the new Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) came into existence replacing the BPPVE. CSLS now operates under the provisions of the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (CPPEA), Article 4 Section 94874(f). Our Mission is simple; We can help you pass your California Contractors License Exam. Celebrating our 25th year, CSLS has helped over 120,000 students pass the California contractor licensing exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California. Additionally, we offer complete home study and online contractor’s license programs to help you pass your California contractors license exam. CSLS offers licensing classes for all types of contractor licenses, including General Engineering Contractor, General Building Contractor, Specialty Contractor, Insulation and Acoustical Contractor, Framing and Rough Carpentry Contractor, Cabinet, Millwork and Finish Carpentry Contractor, Concrete Contractor, Drywall Contractor, Electrical Contractor, Elevator Contractor, Landscaping Contractor, Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning Contractor, and many others. For a complete list of contractor licenses, visit and tuned for more informative posts.