I'm just going to throw in something I read from above. It's called a 'non-compete' clause…. a non competence clause would mean you are expecting them to be incompetent. Non-competes do not stand up in court in the employee-employer arena. You're basically saying he cannot work in his chosen field of work, except for you. That's illegal. It only stands up in partnerships and buy outs when large sums of money/compensation are changing hands. Example: you own a hair salon, I buy said had salon. Non-compete says you can't open another hair salon in the metro area for 3 years…and I just paid you handsomely for this business. You read it, you saw the negotiation and the terms and had the opportunity to ask for more money or not sign it. However, if I own the hair salon, and I hire you, I cannot have you sign a non-compete, that if you work for me you cannot A) go work for someone else or B) leave me and work for yourself. (Sherman Anti Trust Act 1890) Federal Law allows this kind of competition. However there is the Unfair Trade Practices Act/Unfair Business Practices … under which you could sue a former employee (and he doesn't need to sign or agree to it, it's an already set precedent) In the above case, he works for your hair salon, sneaks into your office, steals the recipe for your secret hair relaxer and then goes out on his own and sells this "new hair relaxer" But you can't sue him for simply going out, hanging a shingle and starting up as your competition… even if he ends up with some of your clients, because that's inevitable with any competition. Non competes were all the rage in the late 90s early 2000s… until companies discovered they weren't worth the paper they were printed on when it became time to enforce them. It's best for Landscapers to not practice Law, just as it's a bad idea for Lawyers to mow their own lawn.