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What to Consider Before Working With Family

mike pickel march influencer
March 18, 2022 at 2:00 p.m.

RCS Influencer Mike Pickel says balance and honesty are two key factors when deciding to work with your family members. 

Running a roofing business is hard enough when you have to deal with contractors, building/homeowners, suppliers and employees. If some of your employees are family, it can feel like you have entered the twilight zone! (Ok, I probably just dated myself.) You get along and enjoy spending time together at home, great! Mixing all the stresses of work with family pressures from home changes people’s personalities and now you don’t know who they are! 

My brother-in-law and I own a roofing company together. We had a great relationship prior to starting our business. We didn’t want to ruin our relationship by working together so we laid down some ground rules. 

God first, family second! We made it clear that our business wasn’t going to get in the way of our beliefs and our family. I have seen several people start businesses and pour everything into their company to make it work, unfortunately to the detriment of their family. Don’t throw away your family to have a successful business. Find the balance, it’s there. 

Next, we said we would be brutally honest in our company. Why not just be honest? People will be honest until it gets difficult or may hurt feelings. Brutally honest means you are giving permission for people to be honest to you even if it hurts! Now people can be truthful in everything, and you can’t take what they say as a personal attack! That agreement has been a huge thing for us. No one gets their feelings hurt when they give permission to be completely honest. 

As we grew, we added employees, some family members and some not. All must be treated the same. This can be difficult. We have focused on having a family culture at our office. For this to work you have to be selective with who you hire. You don’t just want anyone in the family. 

Before you hire a family member you need to know if you can work together in the office and still love each other at home. My wife and I could not work together in our company, but we work great together at home and that’s fine with me. Don’t bring a family member in just because they need work. Take a long hard look at whether they would be a good fit in your culture at the office. A family argument at the office is not good for your employees to hear. 

Make sure you keep work problems at the office and home problems at home. If you are always talking about work issues 24/7, life will get out of balance. The workload can get too heavy and destroy a relationship. When we have family gatherings, we don’t talk about work, we can do that at the office. 

Setting ground rules has helped our company and family coexist for almost eight years. Now, I work with two of my brothers-in-law, my son, my sister along with nineteen non-family members, prior to joining our company, now they are all family! 

Mike Pickel is co-founder of Texas Traditions Roofing. See his full bio here



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