This is a subscriber-only article. Join Entrepreneur+ today for access

Learn More

Already have an account?

Sign in
Entrepreneur Plus - Short White
For Subscribers

The Ethics Coach on Conflicts of Interest and Personal Tasks We tackle the ethical dilemmas of getting insider information, and asking your assistant to complete items on your personal to-do list.

By Gael O'Brien

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Illustration by Jason Schneider
Do you have an ethical dilemma?
Write to The Ethics Coach at

Q: I'm the sole proprietor of a property management business that has grown rapidly since I started it in 2011. I have several clients and manage more than 300 units. For maintenance and construction projects, I call contractors to put in bids, but their response times are slow and prices are high. I want to start a maintenance company so I can improve turnaround and quality of work for my property management business. It would be a separate entity for tax and liability purposes.

Is this ethically acceptable? As the owner of both, I will have the inside track on competitors' bids and make the hiring decisions. Can I source the work to another company I own if I know I am providing customers better service at better rates than they would otherwise get? Regarding disclosure, should I tell clients I own the other business or ask for forgiveness later? Or is this too self-serving, and I should avoid starting the company altogether?

The rest of this article is locked.

Join Entrepreneur+ today for access.

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Sign In