A brothers' battle

Okay my brother and I are tring to start a business. I had already tried before so I already know what paper work and legality needs to be done to get started. Now I wanted to base this business on designs and development. While my brother wants just web designs and logos and stuff.

Working with him is just like working with a client, it really is. The first thing he went and did as design a logo and website. While our fiticous business namehas yet been submitted and approved. Plus during the logo process he just copied a bunch of other company logos and choose one. So I stepped in and drew my own in which would become the logo, but he redrew it and changed it up. I just went with it. For the website, he’s never done one nor a page layout. I told him that I’d want him todo the design in the company eventrally, but he thinking its right now, and he has a lot to learn.

He’s already changed the location in which we are supose to opperate at (without checking with zoning and getting permits). And I am going nuts, we are going for general partnership, but I already know we are going to get sued just by his supidity. He’s older, my brother and doesn’t even want to work, and I love him so I figured i’d give him some profits while I teach him, but already I am thinking this is a mistake.

The common rule in business is not to have any family members in it. Leave it and start your own thing. It’s not worth the trouble. Let him work for you and not the other way around.

Just let him (try to) do everything on his own, then he’ll realise he can’t do anything without your help. At that point you tell him he has to do everything you say or you’ll pull out.

That’s assuming he does need your help, then again you could just tell him like it is and that you don’t support his decisions.

I have to admit, i don’t really know much about business formation, but i do know a bit about forming a company, i.e. LTD etc… but…:

Unless your currently freelancing as a graphic designer and have a good client base and a nice, steady income I would hold off any business /company formation with your brother till you do.

The cost of setting up such as paying a laywer to make contracts, (a main one being the partnership between you and your brother since that is your legal ‘life-line’ and stops your brother from ‘taking over’ then trying to give you the sack… it outlines you both equally own it, unless you sell your half of the business to him… It also outlines a lot of other stuff but you can read up on it)

Freelancing means there is less paper work, since i don’t know much about setting up a business between two people - with a company there are pricy annual fees and paper work and so on…

You will also find that since your brother cant really design, you cant really take on the large projects which require 2 desiners since you only really have the one, that means your going to be doing all the work on smaller projects but sharing the profits with your brother.

To keep this post short: Freelance yourself out, get yourself a unique identity and start earning yourself some clients/ business. In the meantime get your brother on a design course such as web design and what not, it can be ‘self teaching’ or what ever and if you do need his help when the odd large project pops up, contract him out on those odd day you do instead of turning away the client. When you’ve progreesed to the stage that your brother can design and pull his weight and you have enough clients coming that the two of you can constantly be working on independant projects or joint project - form the business.

You better register that business name or you won’t be able to cash the cheques when you get paid.

For example here in Oz to register a business is easy and on the spot (about $85US) which is you the sole trader trading as whatever. Then you take that little number to the bank and open a business account, Then you go to the printer and get business cards printed up with that little number included. Now you ring up the local rag and advertise, 3 lines about $75US for a month.That’s it! You’re now in business.

If you want some ideas on writing your own contract look here,


They also have a very interesting article on copyright as well.

I already have a few clients, I just haven’t bother tring to get more. And I really get try to get more simple due to my time contraints, thats why I wanted my brother on my side. I can bearly handle a full in php and mysql as it is. Taking the design part off my hand is nice, but for me its really hard to teach someone.

I have lots of knowlegde its just tring to teach to someone who doesn’t even know square one is very very hard. And with my bother, ill teach sime something really basic and he’ll push for harder things, so I give him what we asked for and he stumbles. Just like the newbie envisioning their perfect MMORPG game ;]. Then I get fusterated because he just dosen’t try to remeber. Leanring HTML is easy, learning how to apply it and apply it correctly is a whole nother problem. Same with photoshop, its not hard to learn a cool little trick, but if you dont know how to apply it yourself then whats the point of learning…

I already told him to just forget about turning his photoshop layouts into html, and pick that up after he learns to do better layouts in photoshop. So once I see he can do decient designs ill teach him proper xhtml.

Ozo, thanks I looked at it, I totally skipped over about what if a cleint cancels.

Also is there a Liscense that allows me to let my cleints use my code and modify it, but they are not allowed to resale it.

Whats up with everyone thinking it’s so expensive to start a company? It’s as expensive or as cheap as you want to make it. There is no annual fees just to have your own business. Sure if you want to trademark your name, that will be a little bit. A bit more if you want to have a lawyer do it for you, but you can do it yourself. Otherwise, just go down to the court house and register the name as your DBA (Doing Business As) name in that county. For the partnership, just start off as two sole-proprietors working together on projects, just layout in a contract between you two how it will go, then after seeing how it works decide whether or not to take the partnership legally further.

As for cashing checks in that company’s name, just go setup a bank account under the name. Just usually with business checking accounts there is monthly fees higher than regular. I think mine was like $14.95/month or something like that.

The only other regular fees you will have to pay is monthly sales tax if you sell a physical product. If all you do is provide services, don’t worry about it, all you have to handle is income tax. Though I’m not sure exactly on the current details about having to pay quarterly, etc… estimated income. Check with the IRS website on this one.

For contracts, to get started, there is places online that provide legal form templates, or even some software that does all the basic stuff such as contracts for services. They’re all pretty standardized anyways, just some differences from state to state and so forth.

Buy “Business For Dummies” books for him and get him to read it. He’ll soon realise that what your saying should not be ignored or put aside.

Under no circumstances whatsoever should you start a business with your brother. Trust me - I’m speaking from experience here.

For that matter, don’t start one with a partner either.

If you’re going to take the plunge, have enough faith in yourself to take the full-on Nestea plunge. Having a partner, especially one who’s in your family, will only cause your company to lose much needed focus.

Just a few tips on contracts: Make them short and precise. No more than 5 pages, with 2 or so being preferable, so you can hand it to them and they can actually read it, instead of jsut scanning and agreeing, and finding out something later that they sue you for. It’s probably cheapest and best to do some research, get copies of other designers contracts, etc… then write up a couple of drafts, find the one you think works best, an take it to a lawyer for verification of legalities and help closing loopholes and such. They’ll also be able to help make sure it is all encompassing so you don’t forget something and get cheated.

I am learning all this stuff since I intend to sell a couple ideas I have (including a revolutionary toilet! :D) and I would like to do some design things as a hobby, stuff from user interfaces and websites to modern furniture and housing options.

So you’re trying to expand your freelance gigs by bringing in your brother, who, as far as I can tell from your posts, has no business or design experience?

Something here isn’t adding up.

A company and a ‘business’ are two differernt things. Is a trading name the same as an limited company? nope.

There are sole traders, freelancers, companies and corporations from what i’m aware of. “Business” however applies to all of them since they all conduct some sort of business…

If you want to own a limited company it is expensive, as i said in my post though, im not too sure about sole trading etc… Since i live in the UK it would only be natural to work differerntly than the states.

Ozo, thanks I looked at it, I totally skipped over about what if a cleint cancels.

Also is there a Liscense that allows me to let my cleints use my code and modify it, but they are not allowed to resale it.
That concerns me quite a bit actually, you currently take on clinets yet you dont have a properly formed contract? eh… lol

Since every project is unique and differernt requirments may come up or special deals may be arranged, get used to writing up your own contracts. Yes you can allow your client to modify the source code (although legally you couldnt say they cant with a website, though you can state that support etc will all be viod if done so) but you can say they cant sell it on, which is somthing i specificly state (i dont make a design for some smut to sell it on monster tempates.com).

Designers also state that the original artwork is owned by them, you are simply paying to have a design made for X ammount of prints, not the actuall design. They can either buy the design off you (they can get unlimited prints then) or they can request for a re-print everytime.

the general rule is that your design is what makes them money or makes them look great, so for every print you derserve your “cut” since it is your design that is selling their product etc… and having a re-printonly proves it. though lame example explaining it…

logos and other designs alike are an execption since they need unlimited use to, so you just charge them to make it.

With t-shirts and alike, you generally charge the designer fee, i.e. the time spent to make it, and then a percentage of gross profits they make 10% i believe is common for tees.

I would watch out with the agreement on stock photo /fonts, generally you dont own copyright on them and you may have to buy additional licence for you client if you intend to keep it on your computer…