Simi has just completed her first year of university (most of her classes were related to business
administration) and is now in the midst of making a major career decision. Since her life savings have
been depleted on tuition and housing costs, she has decided to take some time off from studies to work
back home in Mission, BC.
Simi’s current plan is to work full-time (six hours per day with Sundays off) as a server at a local
restaurant called Paulie’s. Simi worked at Paulie’s in high school, so she has a good idea of what she can
expect to earn. With tips, a $19 per hour average rate is reasonable for Monday through Thursday. On
the weekends, higher tipping typically increases the hourly rate by 10%.
While she won’t have to pay full rent while living with her parents, Simi still expects her living costs to
total $1,000 a month. To try to save up faster for three more years of college, Simi is planning on also
growing her part-time online retail business. In the last year, she started painting cartoon portraits of
students at the college campus, earning $50 per painting. The business concept started slowly, during a
drunk Friday night with her friends in a dorm room of an art student. After a few other people
approached her offering to pay for paintings of themselves, Simi decided to put some flyers up around
campus. She believes she ended up selling 100 paintings at an average price of $50 each (she hasn’t kept
track of the exact numbers).
Simi’s plan, in the absence of young people/potential customers all around, is to market her services
online under a catchy name, Snazzy Simi’s Swirls. She plans on having friends and family follow, perhaps
even share, photos of her work on social media which would hopefully help attract new customers.
Being a day away from the new year, 2023, Simi has put together some projections for next year.
Because of shipping costs, she is planning to increase her price to $75 per portrait. Each portrait will
cost, on average, $15 to package and ship (and take an hour of Simi’s time). Additionally, Simi estimates
that the supplies for creating 100 paintings last year totaled $1,200. She expects this trend to continue.
Simi’s expectation is that she will sell 250 paintings in 2023 and a 8%-10% annual growth rate is realistic
until December 31, 2025. Simi is open to advice on this business, especially the online elements.
Simi is also wondering about the importance about maintaining accurate records. Her aunt Trina, a
successful businesswoman, has warned her to not neglect saving and organizing paperwork. Simi also
wants to make sure she has a solid understanding about how to perform important calculations to
analyze profitability over the long-term, what analytical tools are most helpful, and how these tools can
improve her business.
While Simi typically despises nagging from her aunt, she did get a potential career opportunity from her
yesterday. Cenk, the current owner of the local Spritzy Gas Station, is retiring. Hal, a friend of his, has
agreed to buy a 50% share for $300,000 and Simi’s aunt is willing to buy the other 50% share for
$310,000. However, she will only close the deal if Simi agrees to work at the station for a minimum of
two years. Simi’s aunt is willing to pay her half of the profits she is entitled to, or 25% of the gas station’s
annual profit, if Simi works 30+ hours a week (paid to Simi as bi-weekly salary). Simi is wondering how
her hourly rate may compare to her other options.
Hal has insisted that, since he is managing the inventory and fuel supplies, Simi should manage the
bookkeeping. Simi knows the accounting basics but isn’t sure about some of the intermediate concepts,
such as depreciating the fuel terminals. Considering that the terminals are used regularly but business is
heaviest in the summer months and December due to the holiday season, Simi is wondering what an
appropriate depreciation policy might be. Also, she isn’t sure what a depreciation journal entry looks like
and how it ties into financial statements.
Trina expects to see the 2022 numbers before completing the deal and says the gas station expects to
tally up annual revenues of $424,000. The expenses, with the business owners working full-time, are
ballparked at 42% of revenues. In 2021, the revenues totaled $425,400 and expenses were $179,100.
For 2023, Hal and Trina have discussed possibly hiring a part-time employee which would allow Simi and
Hal to work fewer hours. However, this would push expenses up to about 54% of revenues. Simi is
wondering if she should urge her aunt to hire the part-time help, as it would allow her to continue her
painting business. With full working hours at the gas station (no part-time employee) and bookkeeping
tasks to complete at home, Simi would not continue her art business.
Simi believes she can invest her savings in a mutual fund and earn a 6.5% annual return. Since it is
significantly more than earning 3.75% annually by entering an agreement to deposit $500 monthly into a
guaranteed savings account for at least 18 months, Simi is leaning towards the mutual fund option. She
wants advice on the risks and benefits of each investment strategy and a recommendation on which
direction to proceed in.
Simi’s parents have advised her to stay in school and take student loans to finance her studies since she
doesn’t have to pay interest until after graduating. Simi agrees that the interest rate is low at 3.15%
(0.50% below the current market lending rate), but she is still hesitant to borrow an estimated $25,000
per year to study for three more years. She is especially concerned that she isn’t sure about her career
direction at this point. While getting a steady employment offer seems appealing in some respects, it is
still difficult for Simi to imagine herself being committed to a career for a prolonged amount of time,
even if the expected starting salary is $40,000 with 4% average annual growth for ten years afterwards.
Simi wants a detailed analysis of how her career options. She wants advice on ethics, business
strategies, tax implications, and other relevant matters. Simi welcomes any recommendations, as well as
any questions to her which will help you better analyze her options. Please prepare a business memo to
Simi, addressing all issues raised in this case.