Alot of good advice and insight in the previous 2 posts. With that said I will say this when I got started I happened to aquire a lawn my previous employer had taken care of for many years. They were simply not happy. When i quit I sat down with my former employer and let him know what I planned to do the following spring, He flat out asked me to not go after his clients, but if it happens that one does contact you please decline to follow threw with the bid. I said I cant promise anything and that was about it. In the next few years a few came my way, we took what we could as I did not go after them in any way shape or form. I did however give him a " courtesy call " if we won the bid. It made me feel better about, and when I did run into him, because you will, I could hold my head high and not feel like I snaked his customers. Now fast forward 15 years, he is the president of our local lawn & Landscape association, we are friends and I have a business that competes with him on many levels. I think you will regret goig after them in a malicous manner, Flyer the areas and see what happens, I would not go knock on there doors and ask for their business. Just my .02.
On another note, the year I left he made everyone sign non compete clauses, and actually enforced them on two guys, and won. Not sure what the details were but the guys could not talk about it, and his story is one sided. The jist was they were doing lawn care inside of the 2 years, judge did rule in his favor I do know this much to be true.As far as what kind of monys had to be poaid if any i do not know, Im sure they came to some sort of agrement??