Handling vacation between business partners (one taking way more than the other)

I started a consulting business with a partner 7 months ago. Of that 7 months, he’s taken roughly 20% off for vacation in the early going of our startup. When we split everything 50/50 I don’t think this is fair to me or to the success of our business.

We otherwise have a good relationship and are doing well for being a young company. I’m learning that we should have put together a partnership agreement of some sort to avoid these types of issues, and I think that’s where I would like to take the discussion with him.

My biggest problem in starting to try to address this is that I can’t find any relevant examples that include vacation time. Making it even harder is that we don’t draw any standard salaries. We’re bootstrapping this thing and taking 35% of what we make apiece when we get money in.

So I’d like to know how you think I should handle this? Do I try to come to an agreed number of vacation days and if you go over you lose a representative percent of a quarterly cut? Is there a better/simpler option?

  • Don’t be petty about unimportant stuff like this. If you’re serious about your business your partnership is going to last many years. One of you might fall ill. One of you might get kids. Life happens. There will be periods where you put in more work and there will be periods where he puts in more work.

    Partnerships are never truly equal, and being upset about this is petty and self-destructive. Be thankful and grateful that you have a partner with whom you have a good working relationship. Don’t complain about their vacation days (don’t bring it up!) and don’t be resentful towards them.

    You don’t need a partnership agreement, you need to be more mature in the way you approach relationships. Count your blessings.

      • consider yourself lucky you have somebody to bring an additional 80% of work and effort into your startup.

        If this persists over several funding rounds, the issue can be revisited easily.

    • I get your sentiment, but things are definitely not equal on other fronts as well. It’s my personal reputation and network that brings in the vast majority of new business. He’s increasingly shown he doesn’t respect my time as much as his own (showing up 30 minutes late to meetings between the two of us in addition to increasing amounts of vacation taken). I frankly think your comments are way off point, because no one can sit on something that’s bothering them for years without addressing it with any partner, business, spouse or anyone, without it creating a divide. Just suck it up and don’t bring it up doesn’t work on a basic human level. I will be addressing it with him, and I think we’re adult enough we can come to an agreement. My ask is the best way how, not suck it up and deal.

      • Looks like you got it figured out. Running a business is tough so might as well get the small issues out of the way asap and get it behind you to focus onwards.

        Perhaps understanding your members more in depth before the partnership formation is a heads up for future caution.

        But if your partner is pulling his weight bringing good money, I dont see why picking on small things is worth your time.

        Ask yourself, is the company dependent on his performance. If not then break the partnership.

        Good Luck,


        • We’re on our way to resolving the issue. I expect we’ll have a bit of back and forth yet on the specifics, but we have a general agreement on the solution. He’s been aware that I bring more to the table from the beginning, but I think that got away from him as we started to have success. I reframed the issue for him as if we were bringing in another partner (which we may do), and I that that clarified to him the inequality of the situation.

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