Stealing customers?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by goinggreen123, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. ACA L&L

    ACA L&L LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,102

    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??
  2. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,085

    cases don't typically make it to court and are settled though a mediator (not via a judge...common misconception) small start up guys cant afford to go through the ringer and attorney fees, knuckle under and give up, that's not "winning in court", although that is a common legal tactic. It's all about money and who has more.

    IF the other guys "lost" it's not due to the fact they started their own business. It's because a) they contacted customers while still under the employment (or ruse they were) of the original company, b) stole a customer list and went down it in alphabetical order systematically TRYING to steal the guys clients.

    If the original employer can prove malicious intent to harm his livelihood, he has a case. But he can't keep you from starting a business on your own.
    Bear in mind this isn't legal advice, because Im not a lawyer, and some state laws can vary (I did previously say in MOST states) and if it's something that your worried about: 1) I might be a good idea NOT to do it 2) what harm could it do by consulting a lawyer directly?

    I mean it's maybe $2500 to retain a decent lawyer, he can do ALL sorts of things, set up your articles of organization, draft up initial contracts and a dozen other things I cant even think of that would be useful.

    In fact, that's the best advice go find a lawyer (they are only expensive if you HAVE to go to court, usually pretty reasonable BEFORE court) he/she will tell you exactly what you should and shouldn't do.
    I'm almost certain that choice will set you up for success for years to come, and if you should ever need a lawyer? Well you already have one!

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