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Non-compete and non solicitation in California

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  • Non-compete and non solicitation in California

    Hey all.
    I live in Northern California. I work for a mobile company. Business is really petering out. My boss seems totally uninterested in developing the opportunity. I sign a contract with a non compete and non solicitation clause when I was hired. Searching the internet, I understand that the non compete is almost unenforceable here in Cali. But I wonder about the non solicitation. Is that also unenforceable in Cali? Anybody with experience on this who knows?

    I am getting to the point here I cannot afford to stay in this situation. I have many clients that I have groomed their pets for years and developed a nice relationship with. I know it would not be right to arrive for the next groom in a different companies van to groom their pets. But would it be wrong to let those clients know in person or by phone that I no longer work for A Company groomer and now work for B company groomer and am just a phone call away if they would like to continue the relationship? That way they are able to make their choice as to who will groom their pets? does that sound reasonable or am I crossing a line?

    Thank for your thoughts,

  • #2
    The customers belong to Company A. You cannot contact them directly (phone email etc) to let them know you are working for Company B. However, if they find you on their own that is fair game. Unless you are Independent Contractor then the employees belong to you and you can do what you like and contact them.


    • #3
      I think it is shady if you contact the clients. Why not buy your own van and advertise locally. When you groom the dogs make sure they know your name....that way if you place an ad with your name in it they will know it is you.


      • #4
        In my employee contract it states that all client records are confiedental and the property of the company. If one of my employees takes (steals) those records and uses them out of compliance they would find themselves in court.
        I have said it before and it comes up here often, put your own blood sweat and tears into starting your own business. Some people will follow some won't. I must say, funny that company "A" gave you a job that at one time was able to support you. Don't you think that they deserve a little respect?


        • #5
          Buy ur own van and make up flyers with your picture on it and your name. Make sure the picture is very big. Pass out your flyers to everyone including those former clients. Just make sure you do not just pass out the flyers to your former clients. You can also so a newspaper add with the same very well


          • #6
            Just make sure you don't mention your old employer in your ad.

            Acceptable: Jane Doe is now serving your pet's needs at Jane's Mobile Grooming.
            Not Acceptable: Jane Doe no longer works at Big Corporate Mobile Groomers. She invites all of her former clients of Big Corporate Mobile Groomers to switch to Jane's Mobile Grooming.
            "With God's help, all things are possible!"
            Laura Lee Ray
            I am kats_melody on eGroomer. Follow my Twitter tweets - @ZOOMGROOM on


            • #7
              You are correct in that a non-compete is basically moot in CA, but you are not allowed (unless you are an IC) to take phone numbers, emails, etc. to contact customers. In the past, if I knew where I'm going and had enough notice, I'd say goodbye to my better clients-the ones who'd care. I hate just leaving and having it be a nasty shock to them the next time they make an appt. If they ask where I'm going, I won't lie. But I won't volunteer information, give out my phone number, bash my current employer, take info if it's offered, etc. If your customers are determined to find you, they will. If not, there are always more dogs! I live in a smaller town and sometimes it's backfired cuz some of the customers I've tried to leave behind have found me. :/
              There are 3 different kinds of people in this world: Dog people, cat people, and rational people who don't have a problem liking two things at the same time.


              • #8
                I have to disagree...

                I have to disagree with "alphipsu"...All of my workers are IC's...and that simply means they work for themselves, have their own biz lic, etc. I am a contractor who has contracted them to groom MY clients for ME. They are free to do their own personal clients however, whenever, they want, however those clients should not be coming from me. I paid the marketing, I paid the advertising, and I built the reputation that goes with the name of the business attached to the phone number they are calling. It is in no way fair, nor ethical to take those clients via DIRECT contact in anyway. BUT, if YOU want to place a newspaper ad, a flyer, a yellowpages ad, or internet ad/posting to try to attract these same clients, or inform them of your new location (with no mention whatsoever of your previous employer/contractor) then by all means, all of the general public is fair game. I had to place those ads when I first started, and I had to sit in my salon from 9am to 7pm with maybe one or two dogs coming in for about the first 6 months. It's 6yrs later and I average 20 a day. You have to pay your own price for your success, not skim off of someone else's.