crazy to turn good offer down?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by sarahfoto, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. sarahfoto

    sarahfoto Member

    Messages:
    216
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    Location:
    Hönö, Sweden
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have recently advanced from taking children's portraits in my living room to actually getting a studio of my own, with a darkroom. Bliss! It took me a few years to get there and I'm far off from making money on it, still keeping my weekend job. Now someone comes along and offers me half of a business consisting of a photography shop,gallery and studio. We would split everything halfways, work and profit.
    It's a great offer with company car, holidays, going on courses and working with photography all day everyday, plus unlimited equipment and materials... Still it feels like giving up what I've created and "jumping someone else's train" would be too easy?
    I love doing portraits and alternative "arty" photographs, if I say yes I would have to do weddings, advertising, products the whole thing. Which would be a huge learning experience but would it kill the creativity?
    And then the kids and family would have to fit in there.
    I'm leaning on saying no but scared that I will regret it later on, just need some views on the subject before my head explodes!:confused:
     
  2. phenix

    phenix Member

    Messages:
    217
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    Location:
    penguin-cold
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I would do what Frank Sinatra said. There’s a price, but there’s a reward too.
     
  3. nemo999

    nemo999 Member

    Messages:
    279
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Shooter:
    35mm

    Before I could comment, I'd need a lot more explanation of the above sentence! Does "comes along" mean someone you don't know contacted you and made you an offer? Does this "offer" involve your buying into this person's business, i.e. injecting capital? How is the business at present? Is it profitable? Are there audited accounts for several years to prove this? The offer may be genuine, but in the present climate, EXTREME caution is advisable!

    If, on the other hand, you're being offered a salaried position, the risk is far less, the main considerations would be: Do you find the learning curve you will face daunting? Can you generate enthusiasm about photographing weddings, advertising, products, etc.? Ultimately, it's the question of a trade-off between creativity, freedom and $$$!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2009
  4. Mike Richards

    Mike Richards Member

    Messages:
    115
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2005
    Location:
    Preveza, Gre
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    An old Greek saying: "When you dance alone, you can jump as high as you want."
     
  5. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

    Messages:
    623
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2004
    Location:
    Wigan (oop N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I would suggest that you will bring your own your own skills, experience, insights and creativity to this job. The fact that there is a ready made infrastructure and client base is a bonus but nothing to feel guilty about.

    About weddings etc. I used to work as a wedding photographer in the 70s and my experience was that creative expectations of the client were very low and they were, essentially, most concerned about the photographs "turning out". Therefore the company I worked for had a policy of low risk photography that maximised the chance of success and therefore customer satisfaction. It killed creativity and thats why I stopped. Things have moved on considerably since then and client expectations are much higher. Your creativity will be stretched if different directions. No bad thing really. So long as you dont do a lot of scientific, technological record photography I don't think you have anything to worry about. I wish I was brave enought to try it.
     
  6. mike c

    mike c Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,577
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you are a young person at the least It would be a learning experience,even if it dose not work out. Take in account the way the economy is all so.Is this place making or not. Good Luck ; mike
     
  7. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

    Messages:
    4,517
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2002
    Location:
    Ipswich, Mas
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Been there... etc.

    The most important part of the entire equation, by far, is the "fit" of your personality - and your ethics with your partners. How well do you know the person/ people you will deal with? Who will have the ultimate authority to deal with "crises", and how confident are you that, when push comes to shove, you are not going to be surprised with their decisions? Will you hear, "Look, I'm DON'T care about the right thing to do - we're in business to make money!!"
    Do you agree with their their ultimate goals and objectives? Are they interested in long term or fast bucks made in the last three hours?

    One thing concerns me here; you write of "unlimited" materials and resources ... that is never going to happen. Every expense in business has its limit, and anyone trying to convince anyone else of something different draws my immediate attention.

    Calculate! What is the "upside" (be realistic!!), and what is the downside/ risk? For me, the downsides were an adverse effect to my reputation and standing in the business community, the loss of a LOT of money, and t was eally difficult- worse, impossible, to return to my own business. It simply did not, could not, exist in the same forn as before.

    In short, simplify, and be careful.
     
  8. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,355
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Location:
    Melbourne Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Whilst it may look rosy, possibly it is, check very carefully the amount of debt the business is owing.

    Unless things are radically different in your country, once you sign on the dotted line as a partner, you will own half of the debt the business has.

    Nothing is for free!

    I run my own business, not in photography, over the decades I have seen some interesting partnerships thrive and others fail. Almost always, the businesses that fail, do so, because of debt.

    Other times, not so often though, businesses fail due to a problem with one half of the partnership having difficulty, often a marital situation going sour, or ill health. These are not always avoidable, but things to be aware of.

    I have been in two business partnerships, neither of them lasted the distance. One due to a marital breakup by the other party, the other due to the other partner being unable to live on the reduced income once the business profit was being shared by the other partner that came in, which was myself.

    My first impression is to proceed very cautiously and really do due diligence, especially about outstanding debt and any ongoing debt. Car payments are a classic example of ongoing debt, these debts can lead to difficulty in a company that is struggling to keep payments one step ahead of the bankers.

    Remember too, that at the moment, things around the world are tightening up enormously, big time. It is very possible that we are heading into a world depression, not nice, but certainly a plausible outcome.

    If you feel it will be a nice fit with your current way of doing things, and, you don't have to change too much, it could be a good thing.

    If you wish to grow and diversify your photographic work, it could be a good thing.

    There will always be good and bad things, the idea is to pick something where the good things outweigh the bad things by a reasonable margin.

    I looked at your gallery, interesting range of pictures, there is some creativity there. It is possible that the increased workload, may restrict your creative endeavours somewhat.

    I decided many years ago to get out of photography, as a living. The only way to make reasonable money, meant my creative urges had to be suppressed to put food on the table. I have been extremely happy with my decision, you will possibly have to make that decision yourself, although I believe you are aware of this anyway.

    Mick.
     
  9. rusty_tripod

    rusty_tripod Member

    Messages:
    138
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2002
    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Mike Fagan's concerns are the red flag that popped into my mind as I read the initial post.
     
  10. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

    Messages:
    1,067
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Location:
    Long Island,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Sarah - No-one gives away half of a thriving business. The overhead for shop / studio / gallery will be half yours. The unlimited supplies - you will hve to pay half of. The car - half is down to you. In fact you will suddenly own half of all the debts and all the costs. It is also unlikely that you will have time to continue your weekend job. I'd think very carefully, particularly in this economic environment as Mick said, before committing; and I'd also look at the financial standing of the company as it now stands.

    Whatever your decision - enjoy it and good luck to you.

    Bob
     
  11. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

    Messages:
    1,067
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Location:
    Long Island,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Sorry !! Not sure how I posted that twice!!!
    Bob
     
  12. bluedog

    bluedog Member

    Messages:
    160
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, A
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I tend to agree with Mick and Bob. If an offer is too good to be true it often is. Try and find out what the business outgoings are as you will be up for half. Rent and cars can be a killer. Get as much info as you can before you make a decision. And, how well you get on with the other partner can often make or break a business. I don't mean to be too negative, but there are a few unscrupulous operators out there.
    Good luck with whatever decision you make.
     
  13. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,176
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It could go either way.

    I looked at buying a ready made business, spent $600 hundred on getting proper advice from a CPA skilled in pricing studios, found him through Professional Photographers of America.

    That was money really well spent. I didn't buy it because the reality was that investing the same amount of money in my own business would have yielded a similar gain.

    One piece of advice from the CPA that really struck me was his suggestion that when buying an existing business in order to get real value from the purchase you need to keep the same style and pricing etcetera for a couple years to keep the clientele.

    The take away here is that you are buying a market for a specific set of products when you buy a business; if you change the business model, product mix, or pricing you are in effect starting a new business.
     
  14. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,176
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    DBL post
     
  15. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

    Messages:
    909
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2002
    Location:
    Cary, North
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    The question you need to ask yourself is, "Do I want to own half a business whose product is my photographic skills?" The question is not about photography, the question is about do you see yourself as a partner in a small business. This is the real question.

    Another thought for you is the quote, "A man who marries his mistress opens a vacancy in his life."

    Ponder well.
     
  16. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    21,083
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I would echo all the good advice above, but add this observation.

    If you feel that your current resources are preventing you from doing what you want to be doing, and feel that the business offered will permit you to do those things, then it may be that the "price" you would be paying (both up front, and as time goes on) would be well worth it to you.

    When I say "price", I mean much more than a sum of money.

    Oh, and by the way, make sure you get good legal and accounting advice before you commit!

    Good luck in your decision.

    Matt
     
  17. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,069
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Aurora, Il
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Perhaps some agreement (lawyer) could be arranged where the existing debt is retained by the original owner.
    Splitting "profit" isn't always equitable. I knew two men who had a partnership for years. One man did the work, the other read the paper & did some work. The profit though was split equally. Not a good deal for the guy doing the work. Terrific for the one reading the paper.
    Another thing with a proprietorship is that if there's a major loss for some reason YOU will be personally responsible. That mens if you ain't got the cash they're coming after whatever you own.
     
  18. glaiben

    glaiben Member

    Messages:
    74
    Joined:
    May 17, 2008
    Location:
    Kansas City,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Much sage advice has been given and I can't disagree with any of it. Another question to consider: in this economy, _why_ is someone [who is hopefully running a profitable business] wanting to split their profits?? It may be that an extra shooter is needed and business can be doubled - be sure to get a good look at his business plan before taking the opportunity. My fear is that the current owner is looking for someone to share the overhead. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
     
  19. OP
    OP
    sarahfoto

    sarahfoto Member

    Messages:
    216
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    Location:
    Hönö, Sweden
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thank you everyone for your wise comments! I have decided to happily struggle on with my own business and keep the dreams of all that equipment and materials in the distance as a good reason to fight harder!
    I am happy with what I do and don't believe the car, money etc would weigh up to the amount of time I would loose with my family and own projects.