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Archive 2012 · Joint Ownership question
  
 
Ghost
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Joint Ownership question


Hi,

Just throwing this question out there hopefully to get some meaningful/experiential answers. Would you consider joint ownership with a non-photographer? The person brings business know-how to the table and contacts. Let's say the ownership is 50% each. What are some of your thoughts around this? Key contractual clauses to keep in mind?

I know this all sounds very Shark Tank/Dragon's Den like.



Dec 31, 2012 at 06:34 PM
TRReichman
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Joint Ownership question


Absolutely not. Terrible idea. I've worked through this scenario before counseling businesses. There should be 1 boss and the other person ought to be an employee. Yes, there are examples where this works in the short term, but they are in the minority.

- trr



Dec 31, 2012 at 06:41 PM
FLSTCSAM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Joint Ownership question


TRReichman wrote:
Absolutely not. Terrible idea. I've worked through this scenario before counseling businesses. There should be 1 boss and the other person ought to be an employee. Yes, there are examples where this works in the short term, but they are in the minority.

- trr


Very good advice.

Sam



Dec 31, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Ian Ivey
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Joint Ownership question


A partnership is a delicate balance. To work, one of several critical elements is a shared workload and shared responsibility for building the business. An unbalanced two-person partnership is likely to spin out of control quickly. My experience is in law partnerships, but similar principles apply here.

In this case, it sounds like you have 1) you, the technical (or subject-matter) expert, who will actually do the work, and 2) the equivalent of a rain-maker, i.e., someone who would bring in the work.

Consider whether you could simply arrange to pay him for referrals or some kind of similar non-equity arrangement.



Dec 31, 2012 at 07:15 PM
sgtbueno
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Joint Ownership question


Never never ever, it is a very bad idea. My wife is a lawer and she get tons of clients with those problems, it just never work.


Dec 31, 2012 at 07:26 PM
James R
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Joint Ownership question


How many weddings can you shoot in a year? How many weddings would you need to shoot at 50% reduced net profit to make a living? Can the partner guarantee a certain number of weddings per year?

I would shoot fewer weddings on your own and spend more time increasing your business knowledge and contacts.



Dec 31, 2012 at 08:08 PM
jefferies1
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Joint Ownership question


A partnership is hard to do when one is the person doing the actual labor. He may bring you an account but who is shooting and delivering everything. I would be totally independent and pay a referral fee if he can bring me business. This way you can turn off the relationship anytime without legal issues. Avoid a big mess.


Dec 31, 2012 at 08:13 PM
misty23
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Joint Ownership question


Pay him as an independent consultant but going 50/50 is a losing proposition on your behalf.You'll be doing all of the physical work. It's a tough call not knowing what you are capable of business wise,and what HE is capable of too.


Dec 31, 2012 at 09:01 PM
TheGE
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Joint Ownership question


50% of something is better than 100% of none of it. Sure, the photographer's doing the heavy lifting, but for profit he wouldn't make otherwise. Actually, if you consider it, this is where a photographer ought to be working on the business as a business instead of having the business be more like a job, so there isn't any heavy lifting.

In terms of legal entity, a partnership, no, I wouldn't do that. A joint venture? Absolutely would consider that.



Dec 31, 2012 at 11:35 PM
 

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Ian Ivey
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Joint Ownership question


TheGE wrote:
50% of something is better than 100% of none of it. Sure, the photographer's doing the heavy lifting, but for profit he wouldn't make otherwise.


Two major flaws in this logic are 1) the assumption that 50% would be a profitable rate, and 2) that it would be more profitable than any alternative endeavor.

50% of something that produces less profit (or no profit, or a net loss) could quite readily be worse than 100% of none of it.



Jan 01, 2013 at 08:41 AM
cineski
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Joint Ownership question


Don't do it unless you're married to the person.


Jan 01, 2013 at 04:38 PM
misty23
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Joint Ownership question


TheGE wrote:
50% of something is better than 100% of none of it. Sure, the photographer's doing the heavy lifting, but for profit he wouldn't make otherwise. Actually, if you consider it, this is where a photographer ought to be working on the business as a business instead of having the business be more like a job, so there isn't any heavy lifting.

In terms of legal entity, a partnership, no, I wouldn't do that. A joint venture? Absolutely would consider that.


Why does it have to be 50/50 ?



Jan 01, 2013 at 04:46 PM
Micky Bill
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Joint Ownership question


This is very common in the commercial advertising world, there are reps who (depending on the relationship) receive 20% to 30% photography / creative fee. after any expenses. So unless this person is a very well connected "whale" a 50% split is unheard of. Although the wedding world may be different.

How do you divide up the responsibility, does the rep do all the meetings, with your blessing for any deals he works out? Do they do the after the event follow up and delivery?
Where do you draw the 50/50 line? What does the rep bring to the table to equal the thousands of $$ in equipment and training that you have.

Working for 70% of your fee with a reduced business end workload might be ok, 50% i don't think so.

Be careful, have sgtbueno's wife talk you out of it



Jan 01, 2013 at 04:51 PM
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Joint Ownership question


My op is a partnership with controlling interests. Granted, it's a partnership with my wife but its an open structure for more photographers that want access to investment capital and back office support. There are always going to be debates on what direction business should go and what monies are being spent where. Oh and a 50/50 partnership is never good unless you have someone doing the exact same thing as you. With financial backers, you'll always want to see what people are putting into the business and what makes business sense in terms of control rather than just to with an idea.


Jan 02, 2013 at 12:20 AM
Ghost
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Joint Ownership question


Thanks for your thoughts everyone! I kinda share the same sentiment when I first heard of it from this wedding photographer that I came across. I didn't know him much so I didn't want to offer my opinion. But the arrangement didn't feel right to me at least. You folks just confirmed my thoughts.

What concerns me is probably where the copyright ownership would lie? To the photographer or the company which is a joint ownership?



Jan 02, 2013 at 06:14 AM
Ian Ivey
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Joint Ownership question


Not sure how it works in Canada. In the US, if you're doing work as a firm, the firm typically owns the IP unless there's an agreement to the contrary. As a sole proprietor or a sole-shareholder-LLC (limited liability company), that's a distinction without a difference, but once you bring in a partner, you need to establish that at the outset.

Since the IP could be some of the highest-value assets the firm would own, this is not a simple legal matter, and you'd want the assistance of a lawyer experienced in partnerships and corporate formation to help you determine how to allocate ownership of assets.

All of which is merely to outline another reason it's a bad idea.



Jan 02, 2013 at 06:24 AM
MBMK
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Joint Ownership question


50%?!? Sorry man, that's not worth it! The only thing I'd offer is 10% fee for finding me clients, at the most. It might sound like a good idea now, the fact that the other will bring you clients, but down the road you're going to regret it.

Why not try to work with a wedding coordinator instead?? They'll probably get you a good amount of work w/out giving up 50%.



Jan 02, 2013 at 06:48 AM





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