Advantages/disadvantages of creating a single company with an outsourcer friend - feedback needed
Thread poster: Tone Klausen

Tone Klausen
Local time: 13:31
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Jun 8, 2009

Hi - a friend of mine and I are both freelance translators for the same languages (both have established a company for tax reasons). As we live in the same city, we have thought about maybe joining forces under one common company. However, we're not quite sure about the advantages/disadvantages with this. Has anyone been in this situation and actually gone through with it? I suppose our main concern would be how to divide work and income (fixed salary?). Also, one of the advantage of being a freelancer is that you can work as much or little as you want (depending on demand) and take as much or little holiday as you want. We're not quite sure how to best maintain this freedom if we join forces, so I was hoping that someone could share their experience.


[Edited at 2009-06-08 13:55 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-06-08 14:01 GMT]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-06-08 15:37 GMT]


Marion van Venrooij-Rooijmans
Local time: 14:31
English to Dutch
+ ...
share an office Jun 9, 2009

Hi Tone,

A translation teacher once told me he shared an office with a friend, which has much more advantages than establishing a company together. They both had their own computer, desk and office supplies, but paid the rent, electricity, water and things like coffee together.

The advantages: they could ask eachother for help. So when for instance, my teacher wasn't sure about a term and his friend wasn't busy, she could spend time searching for that term while he could continue translating. She also reviewed his work if she had the time, and vice versa. Moreover, they both no longer sat at home all day without anyone to talk to. He also liked that he could actually close the door behind him and leave all work-related trouble behind, whereas he found himself frequently still thinking about work in the evening when he still worked from home.

The disadvantage, according to this teacher, was that he sometimes needed absolute silence to be able to work but his friend had planned some important phone calls that day, or vice versa. And now he needed to leave his house and travel to work, instead of walking to his computer in his pyjamas.


Deborah do Carmo  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:31
Dutch to English
+ ...
Live together before you get married -- it's a big commitment Jun 9, 2009

I agree with Marion. Start with office sharing and see if you actually get on before going the full hog.

I'd give it at least a year and then decide whether to do -- merge, remain as is (at that stage) or go your own separate ways. At that stage, you'll know what you each can contribute, whether you can work together, and will have concrete figures to work on.


Tone Klausen
Local time: 13:31
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Thanks for the repy. Jun 9, 2009

The main reason with having one company would be to maybe take on bigger projects together (sometimes clients aren't too happy about big projects being split between two separate translators, but they're willing to give it to a company with more translators - to ensure consistency etc.). We would also be able to split the cost of an accountant, proofread each others work (this could even be offered as an extra service).

Our main concern is how it would work in practice when two freelancers, who are used to keeping everything they earn themselves, join forces.
We've already worked together in-house years ago, so we know that we would be able to work together again - that's shouldn't be a problem. I guess our aim would be to share an office (at least down the line), and I fully appreciate the advantages this may bring socially - and the disadvantages of not being able to work in your pyjamasicon_smile.gif . But right now I'm more interested in knowing about the practicalities of how to share the workload, how to share the income etc etc.

[Edited at 2009-06-09 16:00 GMT]


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:31
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Income by productivity Jun 9, 2009

I'd sincerely encourage you to use the number of words produced by each of you as the base to calculate the income of each partner. That way, both of you will feel that your income matches your efforts and dedication to the company.

If one of the partners does not mind working long hours, weekends, etc. to offer a good service, he/she will be rewarded. And if one of the partners wants to have a life and is happy with a lower income, he/she will be able to do it without feeling guilty or making his/her partner angry.


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