Salary based on percentage: 50-50 Bad idea?

Hi Everyone,
Was wondering if you guys could advise on me on whether I should take a job,

I was offered a job at a Kindergarten/Buxiban in the summer but turned it down cos I didn’t want to do illegal work, however some unexpected circumstances have made their previous offer to me unfeasible. Apparantly they loaned the business to some guy for 6 months and he took a lot of students and half of the staff to another school.
So now they don’t have enough students to offer me Kindergarten, so instead she is offering to let me run her Buxiban as we split everything 50-50. I don’t think there were many students in the Buxiban anyway as she had kinda let that go as they concentrated on the Kindy. The offer came as a bit of a shock, so I don’t really know if its good or bad. I don’t even know what to ask for, or what to try to bargain for. I know the Buxiban license is legitimate.

Here’s what I’ve managed to balance up so far.

Yes: I should take the offer because:

  1. It’s very dificult to find an ARC job here in this town (look at my name), and quite frankly, this is the best place to live in Taiwan.
  2. Even if I don’t get many students in the Bushiban I could work in other places.
  3. I do have a lot of connections in schools etc. to help me look for students.
  4. They have the contact details of all their former kindy students, they could help me find students.
  5. At least I won’t be working in the Kindergarten so don’t have anything (police) to worry about.

No I shouldn’t take the job. Questions hanging over my head:

  1. Is 50-50 a good deal? Is there anyone else out there who has a similar agreement?
  2. What should I bargain for? Eg: How do we pay for electricity? Who pays for advertising? Anything else that needs to be clear?
  3. What if we don’t have many students? The semester has started already, and many of the ex Kindy students would have already found a buxiban to go to.
  4. Should I try to press for renting the buxiban instead? Wouldn’t that be even riskier? How much should I ask to rent it for considering that they are helping me with an ARC?

Can anyone help please? I’d appreciate any thoughts.

how many students are there now? are you going to teach? not that this is necessarily revealing but what is your gut feeling on their trustworthiness? as you stated above the issue of payment of costs would be crucial. your main fear is that you build the place up and are then let go, typically by adding additional conditions onto the deal until it no longer becomes worth it for you.

As Tempo Gain mentioned above, if the place does pick up and business is great, do you really have any legal control/share of your half of the business? (could be wrong here but if you are here working as a teacher on an ARC etc).

Thanks for the replies…
gut feeling? Hmmm as with most business types, I wouldn’t trust her totally, but we have known each other for a long time, I think she wouldn’t actively try to screw me. To be honest I’m looking to leave here in a year or two anyway, so I was planning to let her take it from me anyway.

How many students? I’m not sure yet, that’s something I’ll ask… and right now, I’m thinking of what questions I need to ask, I was just offered this this morning. However, they don’t even have a teacher yet. If I confirm that I’ll teach there I think a lot more students, because I used to teach there and was quite popular, so a lot of the old kindy students would come back. Inside I’m confident that I can can get students, but I don’t want to let them know, I want to make it sound bleak so I can push for more %wise. On the other hand the semester has already started so that will be against me.
Am I going to teach, for now yes. Who knows if I get more students.

If I’m here on a teacher ARC is there no way of guaranteeing a legal control of the business?
Thanks for the replies so far…

I’ve been in partnerships before, and got burned badly. In these kind of agreements, it is incredibly easy for the other partner to screw you over unless you already have some experience in the “biz” side of running a bushiban. I would be very wary of doing this if you’ve never done anything more than teach in a bushiban. If your agreement is 50% of monthly profits, then your school would need to be earning an average of NT$100,000 per month profit for it to be worth your while. This sounds like a poorly-run school that’s losing students, so I think its risky…unless you like a challenge!

In my, albeit limited, experience the only partnerships that seem to work over here are those involving marriage.

If I were you I’d ask for a salary plus a smaller percentage of the profits. That way if the school doesn’t make enough, you’re still going to be getting paid. Like someone said above $100k profit a month is a lot and you’re better off protecting yourself, especially seen as you plan to leave in a year or so.

Well I would avoid it, unless there is absolutely no other work over there. Teach chickens English if you must.

I would say it reeks of how hollywood makes actors take the net vs. the gross.

Thanks everyone, that’s a good idea about salary… any idea how much I should ask for?
So if 50-50 is bad, what would be fairer for both sides? (please no smart arse comments! :slight_smile: )
I’m beginning to think I should push for just renting it… there are too many mine bombs that could explode I reckon…
What other questions do I need to ask tommorrow?

Thanks again for all the comments, you lot have really helped me to rationalise all this

  1. Define clearly how the income after overheads & expenses will be defined.
  2. Get an idea of what is being made net now.
  3. Discuss how reinvenstment in the business will be handled/decided.
  1. Will they open up their books to you, so that you can see for yourself what kind of financial situation the school is in? Never rely on your partner’s word. But also remember that it’s pretty darn easy to cook the books, too.

  2. How much of a monthly salary is your partner taking from the school? Is it so high that there’s nothing left over?

  3. Who holds the chops and the bank books? You need to know exactly who controls this, and what kind of bank deposits and withdrawls are normal procedure. If the current owner is used to treating school revenue like her own personal petty cash drawer you’ll not be able to make this work.

  4. Are they asking for any kind of money investment? Buying into a school almost never works.

The only safe option for you would be to negotiate a monthly salary for teaching, and a profit-sharing agreement for managing the program. I have no idea what the market is like in Taidong, but as a wild guess I’d say your school is lucky to make NT$30,000 monthly profit. For your sake I hope I’m dead wrong.

Oh, and check that everything is all sweet with the tax department.


apple, could you expand on the profit-sharing idea? Could you tell me how that normally works?

you could ask for 50k a month salary + 20% of the profits. but i would only do this if they were transparent with everything and I thought it was a safe bet that they’d make $100k profit a month. otherwise, I’d just find a standard $70k job and forget about the extra hassle/risk.