The easiest way is for each of you to manage your money and inventory separately.
Each person should track their own sales and keep their money separate from everyone else’s. It’s way easier to do this from the get-go than to try and figure out everyone’s share later on, especially since it can be difficult to remember to track every sale. You could get busy and forget to mark down a few sales, but as long as your money is separate, you won’t lose any of your share to poor tallying or other problems.
Personally, when I share tables, I don’t combine deals with my partners, so even if we each have a 3 for $5 deal on buttons, the customer can’t mix and match buttons between the two of us. Most are pretty understanding about it since we’re still separate people, even if we’re sharing a table.
Occasionally, if both of us feel like it, we’ll let a customer combine an order between us and split the money on the transaction depending on the details of the transaction. So if my partner and I decide to let a customer take two of my buttons and one of hers on a 3 for $5, I might get $3 and she might get $2 (or if we really wanted to deal with change, $3.50/$1.50 or whatever). Since we each mark our sales separately and manage money separately, no special note on this split transaction is really necessary unless we’re feeling particular about our records.
Each artist managing their cash separately can be a bit of a hassle if one artist has to manage their tablemate’s money while they’re on break, but I still think it’s preferable to trying to figure out how to split earnings later.
Those are my two cents, anyway! nattosoup and heidiblack may want to chime in separately — they share tables a lot more often than I do and may have a different perspective.
I agree with Kiri! There was ONE convention where a friend I was tablesharing with misunderstood and thought I’d be in charge of making change for them, but I set that person straight lickety split. Unless your con partner and you help each other every single step of the way, there’s no reason not to handle your transactions separately.
Back in the days before Heidi got a smartphone, she’d occasionally use my Square for credit card transactions, and I’d pay out that amount in cash, but we didn’t bother to keep track of Square’s fee, and I always ended up losing some money. That’s the closest I’ve come to the situation you’re describing with tallies.
In both of these situations, money confusion could arise quickly, and this can easily lead to frustration and bad blood. To avoid this, I handle ‘types’ of money differently:
There’s ‘hotel money’ and ‘table cost money’, which as long as I’m not broke, can be repaid when the con has ended and everyone has more jingle in their pockets.
There’s ‘food money’, which is usually given to the runner ahead of time, and then returned with the food.
And there’s ‘at table transaction money’, which I only handle myself unless I’m totally swamped and my assistant is handling it, or I’m away from table and my tablemate is handling it. We keep our money, and our tallies, separate.
Heidi and I both organize our bills in clear coupon books, organized by denominations (I further sort it by only having a set amount total in my ‘kitty’, and having my one’s grouped in sets of ten held together by paperclips). You can further protect your money by having a zippered, locking pouch or a lockbox, and I strongly encourage you to take your money with you when you leave for any length of time.
I realize this might sound like I don’t trust my con partner, Heidi, but the truth is I trust her a lot. If I’m going to the bathroom, she’s in charge of my money, and we have a longstanding convention tab together. Part of the reason we can trust each other though is we have the same feelings about managing our money at the con, and we’ve long since ironed out any misunderstandings.
Occasionally though, Heidi and I have items that we’ve worked on together, which requires splitting the profit, like the lollipop buttons and the Little and Friendly Books of Monsters. There’s two possible ways we handle this- switch off on sales (I pocket one transaction, she another), or my preferred method, go ahead and split the cost right there. For some reason, customers get a kick outta seeing our ‘fistbump of frieeenddshippp!’ and watching us split the money right then and there. If this is the case for you, I do recommend splitting the money as soon as possible, just so nobody forgets.
I hope that helped! Heidi, do you have any other suggestions?
Good things to consider for those who share tables.
Personally, even when sharing tables with close friends, we keep all of our inventory and sales separate. We all have our own inventory tracking documents, cash/change, and special sales.
We will help each other out with making change if necessary, but we don’t front each other/borrow cash related to actual sales transactions to avoid confusion. As described above, it just gets too messy otherwise, especially at busy cons, and you really don’t want it to turn into a “he said/she said” issue especially with friends!
When watching friends’ tables, I (try to) make sure the person helping me to watch has or knows the following, and vice versa if I’m watching someone else’s table:
The more you do events together, the more comfortable you’ll get with each others’ systems and be able to help each other out more!