Non Compete Clauses

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by esurient_one, Nov 7, 2006.

  1. esurient_one

    esurient_one LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    Im currently working for ChemLawn and am looking to start my own LCO, hopefully within the next year or two here, and was wondering if anyone out there has had any previous luck in getting out of/finding a loophole in these assumingly binding contracts that theyve signed.

    Any and all info/advice/stories theyve heard about similiar situations would be greatly appreciated, as this is really the only thing that is currently holding me back.

    I fully intend on staying out of my routes when looking for customers and have highly considered sub-contracting my services through other LCO's to avoid legal backlash, but am entirely unsure on how binding this contract is.
  2. rider

    rider LawnSite Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 152

    I would consult a lawyer. If you just used to work for them, they do not have a right to stop you from starting your own business, or from working for their competitors If they bought out your previous business and you signed a non-compete, they have a case.
  3. indyturf

    indyturf LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indy
    Messages: 1,901

    if you don't go after their customers you should be fine, but it wouldn't be a bad idea to consult a attorney. I was told by my attorney the non-compete's not worth the paper its written on but that may be a different story when your dealing with a big company with lots of $$
  4. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    Esurient One,
    This is a personal question, and you really don't have to answer it if you wish.
    But,...are you married? The reason I ask, is that what if...(and this is just hypothetical),'re wife started a lawn care business to do applications? In Michigan, this can be done if a full time LICENSED applicator (not a certified tech) is hired. The business can then hold the license as long as you're employed. You could work for her (or anyone else) for whatever amount of years is required for your no compete agreement to expire. I don't think there is anything in their no compete that says you can't get licensed,...probably just that you can't start a business in your name. So, if you are a certified applicator (tecnician), and not a registered applicator yet, go do it. After 2 years or whenever, the business can then be transferred to your name. Just an idea.... I hope this helps.
  5. teeca

    teeca LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,202

    you can work and start your own business, as so long as you don't go after their customers ON YOUR ROUTE, OR CUSTOMERS THAT YOU HAVED SERVICED. besides, do you realy think that they will go after you? as long as your not shoving it in their face, you'll be fine. here in indiana, a no-compete clause is NOT reconized by law, however a court could and most likly will honor a no-compete clause because it is a 'written and agreed upon contract' they would have to prove that you not only took customers from them, but also that you had access to their data base to get those customers. as far as your wife starting the company, i think the only thing that would do is piss off the judge, like you were intentionaly doing wrong, and trying to cover it up. jmo
  6. MIDWEST25

    MIDWEST25 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 97

    Whether or not they come after or not will depend how much of a threat you are.And just because they come for you does not mean they will win.I was a GM at trusuck when I quit and started my own.They tried and failed to stop me.4.5 years later I had 5000 customers!!I stopped flagging lawns because trusuck would knock on their door and offer half off for the year.Thats what you can expect from them!Trusuck will not want you to make it. they do not want other employees thinking its a possibility to make it on your own.God Bless and good luck to you!!!!If you cannot work 70 hours a week I would say stay on the porch.Remember,if your going to run with the big dogs you cannot run around pissing like a puppy
  7. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,697

    No compete clauses are worthless in Mi. The only thing that you may not do under a no-compete is use company secrets, trade secrets, customers, etc. No company can stop you from starting a business. Been there, done that.
  8. esurient_one

    esurient_one LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    Thank you everybody for your replies.

    I still think Ill still consult an attorney, but after reading these posts, it does seem to make sense that I should be alright...given that I don't intend on taking not even a one of their customers. I think Ill start marketing for my customers OUTSIDE of my particular branch's jurisdiction, just to be on the extra safe side, as it would be literally impossible for me to have any access to that info. As for the "secrets" of the trade...the only thing I think Ill have picked up from my current employment is exactly what NOT to do in this situation.

    All of that aside, I don't foresee me being much of a threat to them anyhow, as I only plan to employ myself and am only shooting for around five hundred customers for my first season, which is exactly HALF of the lawns I treat in a month the way things are right now...
  9. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    I think as long as you are not directly pursuing the customers that you were aware of, there isn't much they can do. On the other hand, if some of these customers come to you, all bets are off. I think it's all fair.
  10. SodKing

    SodKing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,641

    "i signed the aggreement under duress" words to remember

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