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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    2

    Default Solicitation Rights

    me and me wife were independent contractors at a pet grooming shop. we decided that we were going to start our own mobile grooming so we turned in our week notice. we came back the next morning to finish out our week and and she wouldn't let us in and said that she wasn't going to give us OUR tools and checks until we signed a non competition agreement. i told her i wasn't signing it. (when we started we never signed any agreement at all. not even a non solicitation agreement) now she is threatening us saying that she is going to sue us if we contact any of the clients we groomed at their shop. since we didn't sign anything can we get in trouble for doing this? and is there any way to go about to getting our checks from her without signing that agreement? we were able to get some of our tools back, but we had to get a police escort to go in there with us to claim our tools. she claimed that about 300 dollars worth of equipment was hers. so we weren't able to get that stuff back. please, any info for me being able to take this ladie down would be great.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,653

    Default Re: Solicitation Rights

    You didn't identify your state, and laws can be different in each state. Generally speaking, absent any contractual provision to the contrary you can compete with your former "employer" (in this case, not truly an employer but the company which contracted for your services). If you badmouth the business or actively try to disrupt its ongoing business relationships, that could be a source of liability, but simply telling your former clients, "We've left XYZ Grooming and set up our own business at 123 Fourth Street", shouldn't be a problem.

    If she won't pay you or turn over your personal property, consider suing her in small claims court.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Solicitation Rights

    i am in arizona. well that information is good to know. thank you for all the advice.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    4

    Unhappy Re: Solicitation Rights

    Let me note here that there is LEGAL behavior and ETHICAL behavior.

    While there is no excuse for the owner of the grooming shop to withhold your money and tools... at the same time, as a business owner myself... I can understand her concern.

    Here she provided you with a means to earn money... and a client base (hers) in order to do that. You don't say how much experience you had prior to working for her... but the time you spent with her also allowed you to improve your skills.

    Now you are leaving her (your right), but obviously intending to approach her clients (how does she even know you intend to do that by the way?) ... that she spent her marketing dollars to obtain (or paid the rents in a visible-traffic location to obtain).

    THAT is unethical. Put her shoe on your foot. How would you like it if an employee (or contractor) you hired worked for you for a while and then tried to take your clients?

    You might resolve this issue by offering a compromise... something that simply reinforces the ETHICAL behavior you should already be planning on displaying.

    Offer to write her a letter of agreement that you will NOT knowingly solicit any of her clients... or contact them individually or directly (how could you... you didn't steal her client list did you?).

    Put a paragraph in there to cover your butt in the event you accidentally do it... such as ...mailing postcards to everyone in a zip code... that might contain her clients, for instance, or taking an ad in a local neighborhood paper.

    Then... launch your mobile business... sounds like a great idea... and go after NEW clients. Do you own marketing work and leave her business name out of it. Stand on your own two feet and build your own reputation.

    By the way... if I were one of her clients... and you did contact me to try and get my business... I would view you as unethical and I would not want someone like that having access to my home just in case your propensity for taking things that don't belong to you extends to my possesions also (just something to think about).

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