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Posted By:popgyrl on: 10/16/2007 7:00:54 AM


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popgyrl
Posts: 198
Bronze Member

non-compete contracts
Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2007 7:00:54 AM

(x-posted to salon owners forums)

I need some advice.

I was at my last salon for 7 years, built a loyal client base and made great money. My book was always full, with appointments booked for months and at least a week wait at any given time. I contributed more than my share in training new employees and helping new stylists with their clients, without extra pay. It was a good partnership, but I decided it was time for a move. I had no contract, but wanted to be ethical in my transition, so I only conatacted clients that have come to me for so long that I consider them friends. Out of a list of hundreds, I contacted 15 or 20. A big jump and a scary situation for an established stylist, but I wanted to do the right thing.

The interview process with my new salon was great. The commision cut is lower than my previous salon, and the benifits are less. They also don't offer assitants, but I agreed to all this to have a pleasant work environment. So its ok.

On my first day of work the owner approached me with a non-compete. It really freaked me out, and I have not yet signed it. We bargained a little about the distance clause, but upon further research I still have a very bad feeling. I live in the boston area, and even though its a city, the city is very small.

I made a radius map, and discovered that the distance clause covers not only the area I'm working in, but the area I worked in for 7 years, every other salon I have ever worked in and any area that would be desirable to work in in the future. There is no way I can sign to that!

The other thing about it is that although I didn't conact my clients directly, they are finding me at a rapid rate. In my first week of work, at least 80% of the services I provided were for clients that are only coming to the salon for me, and I was fully booked! I will be bringing a lot of clients for the owners of my new shop that they will have to do nothing to draw. Just having me there is going to make them LOTS of money. There will be no investment on their part in the way of advertising or training that they won't make back very easily.

I really think it's innapropriate for them to push me out of the area should things not work out in the future, or to expect me not to retain the clients that I brought in for them. I have worked so hard for so long to keep these customers satisfied, and I'm an honest person. I have no problem with not soliciting, poaching employees, or directly contacing clients. Those are only fair. But I have to know I will have a future if I ever had to move salons again.

The other thing is that I never would have accepted the job or quit my old job if I knew this contract would be expected of me. I feel that it is really unfair that It wasn't mentioned before I left my old job.

What are my rights in this situation? Any feelings or thoughts? How would you feel if an employee like me started in your shop, would you fire them for not signing? Can they fire me for not signing?  




russnyc
Posts: 1145
Platinum Member

Non-Compete
Posted: Wednesday, October 17, 2007 3:29:39 AM
I wouldn't sign it, ask for another arrangement. Explain that you have been monitoring your clients and are getting a lot of older ones from your other salon. If you don't sign it, it is VERY IMPORTANT no one else in the salon knows this, so make sure your conversation with the owner is private and don't discuss anything with peers.

I would also do some research about Boston and see if any court cases held up in favor of stylists. When I worked in Boston, 5 mile radius covers pretty much the whole city and makes it too hard to get another job

*If the demands in the non-compete are unreasonable, like it's more than 1 year or further than a couple of miles, it really can't hold up because you have a right to work.

popgyrl
Posts: 198
Bronze Member

Posted: Wednesday, October 17, 2007 4:59:59 AM

Thanks Russ.

It's nice to talk to someone about this who understands how small the area is in a geographic sense. The deal would be three miles for one year.

Dosen't sound like much, but because of the salons location that would cover all of Cambridge and Somerville- out to parts of Arlington, Charlestown and Watertown- Newbury street, the Back Bay and South End, parts of the Financial District and the North End, Beacon Hill,  the better parts of Comm Ave, Coolidge Corner, and most of Allston.

So basically, all the areas of Boston where a stylist has a chance to make a living without clientele. Also, it encompasses all the areas of the city were I would be able to charge the same amount of money for my sevices.

So it dosen't sound like a lot, but its crazy if you know the buisness and the area. I'd venture to say that I would be forced to stop doing hair for a year, unless I wanted to work at Super cuts or in a mall or something. Been there, done that. No thank you :)

The other thing that makes me kind of crazy about it is that the owners of my new shop have no ethical problem booking the clients that are following me from the shop I worked in a half mile away! Money is money. They knew I would fill a chair and bring my following when they hired me.



russnyc
Posts: 1145
Platinum Member

Shore up your clients
Posted: Wednesday, October 17, 2007 6:47:59 AM
Make sure every client that comes in of yours fills out an updated information card for yourself. Also make sure that they have your cell number and periodically call them back to make sure everything is OK, send thank you cards out promptly with your own number and TELL THEM to call you or to leave a message if they can't get in.

There is no "ethical" here, you are an asset. If they want you and your clients, part of your bargaining chip is those cards. The other part is your referrals, if you do need to sign a non compete, allow a variance in your contract of some sort for all of these clients, or WALK AWAY.

Again, make sure that there is no funny business going on and you are getting all your clients into your chair, work Sundays if you have to accomodate them, but keep your ear open. I found out that another stylist at my old salon had been trying to recruit my clientele when it closed, mostly because my client was insistent on finding me.

Make sure it is easy to Google where you are now by posting something on the internet, and have a heart to heart with your boss so there is NO GRAY AREA about your clients!

hairchic
Posts: 355
Silver Member

Posted: Thursday, October 18, 2007 3:58:43 AM

I went through this same experience some years ago although the owners added the contract after I worked there 3 years and things were really good between us. LOL

It was for one year and 20 miles. It never occured to me Not to sign as they said they would be flexible should the need arise. ROTFL

Of course things went south a year later and they were not at all flexible (I found a place 15 miles out) . The problem and lesson was bottom line a contract is a contract. You signed it and lawyers cost money and they have more than me. It turned into a nightmare even though I was in the right and the new salon was not willing to endure any ill will by hiring me with this hanging over my head.

Moral is don't sign it or get them to reduce the mileage. I found it was insecure owners.  I am sure now to keep my stylistmatch, findyourstylist etc... pages updated even having my own myspace page that clients know about just in case.

OHHH one more thing if they do reduce the mileage, BE SURE to have a list of YOUR clients and the clients THEY referred as well as a clause stating (if your clients refer clients they too are yours) as well as your formulas belong to you.

What they own and have rights to is what THE SALON (through advertising, marketing, word of mouth etc..) brought you.

Hope this helps and good luck

 


Carpe Diem

popgyrl
Posts: 198
Bronze Member

Update
Posted: Thursday, October 18, 2007 5:21:38 AM

So far the owner has not brought the contract back to me, and I'm starting to think she might not.

When she first approached me on it, I was freaked out. I think she understands why I am so apprehensive.  I told her that while I understood where she was coming from, signing a contract like that would be like signing away my dreams. I also straight out told her that I would like to own my own salon someday, and she really felt for where I was coming from.

Plus, they LOVE me so far. Every day she complements my work, my skills and my attitude. I think she is afraid of losing me.

Last night she even made a point of telling me that the clients I'm bringing belong to me, something an owner has never said in my 11 year history of being a stylist.

So now I'm on the fence about one more thing: Should I be the aggressor in bringing it back up, or do I wait for her to come back to me? I'm afraid of making her angry, but I feel the need to approach her and clear things up before she invests the time and money in having her attorney revise the contract. I think it would only be respectful.

Should I go in and have a coffee with her on my day off, or just talk to her at the end of the day on Saturday?

This kind of confrontation makes me very nervous, but I need to know what will happen before I get my clients settled in to the new salon. I would hate to have her bring it up out of the blue six months from now or something.

What would you guys do? Should I let it die and see what happens, or should I take action?



russnyc
Posts: 1145
Platinum Member

Be clear
Posted: Thursday, October 18, 2007 6:19:09 AM
There are a few other things-

1. All of your journals, sales info and literature related to clientele needs to be kept in clearly marked folders that have your name on them in one place. Every client card also needs to clearly indicate it is your property, WITHOUT the salon name on it. This is in case of a lockout situation, so that you can return with a sheriff and retrieve it worst case scenario.

If you are putting data on computers, it is indeed property of the salon and you do not have ownership of this information if things head south. You are entitled to a totals sheet with the names of each client every day, make use of it and keep the copy for your records.

2. If you use myspace or yahoo for client group information, AVOID USING your salon name, copying web graphics, or linking to the salon's website or alliance sites such as Citysearch. As long as you do this and your clients contact you OUTSIDE the salon, it can't be defined as stealing salon information or defaming the salon if you leave and take them with you. Most of these instances are friend/ networking sites used for your personal advantage, as long as you keep your salon out of the equation there is no gray area about theft or misrepresentation, or slandering if something bad is said about the salon by your clients.



hairchic
Posts: 355
Silver Member

mixed feelings
Posted: Friday, October 19, 2007 4:13:46 AM

this really tears me up. on one hand it is crucial the stylist protect herself and the biz she has built.

on the other, she will never truly belong to the salon and feel that sense of team that really makes working a pleasure.  it's such a bleak and negative environment to be in. (protection mode, I mean) Like she can't take advantage of her clients being in the computer and say get promos from the salon.

Why not make it more about the guest. the stylist can keep a copy of her records, the salon can "share" the info (if it's ok with client) and the client can reap the benefits of the salon.

should things go south, the stylist has her info at home safe and sound, the salon does too. It is then up to the client to go to who/where she/he chooses. Isn't it the client for whom we really work?  It's a professional attitude and everyone's happy no?


Carpe Diem

russnyc
Posts: 1145
Platinum Member

Upper hand
Posted: Saturday, October 20, 2007 4:36:20 AM
In this case as with any other, when you are bringing business to the table, all bets are off and you are not to be treated like a homegrown stylist inside that salon.

NEVER ASSUME anything. Spell it out. Owners have a lot of fear about bringing established people into a salon because they can rub off onto their staff. NEVER DISCUSS your terms with the other employess, avoid even ttalking about pay in front of them lest you upset the applecart!

These examples above are very simple steps you can take to safeguard your valuable clientele from poaching efforts from the salon or other staff when you move, make sure to always thank your people for following you and avoid increases initially even if the new salon charges more.

You don't have to accept the first job or arrangement presented to you. This is like playing a game of gambling where you need to keep emotions in check and show a poker face. You also take a 20 percent hit in revenue every time you move so it is in everyone's best interests to be fair and have the transition go smoothly.

kckstylist
Posts: 2

a non-compete contract
Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2007 9:23:42 PM

I'm in a similar yet different situtation. I have left one place for new place. I am in Michigan. I did not sign a non-compete, however; I'm being told by a lawyer that I can not contact my clients because of The Uniform Trade Secret Act. Is anyone familiar with this act(43 states have it)? Also, do you think it is wrong that I want to contact my clients, as my previous employer does not give out my new info, and i had no contract signed. Any info would be greatly apreciated.


Thank you,


kck


P.s. the previous owner is threating to sue me....I waas her only full time stylist.


 



hues4you
Posts: 2566
Platinum Member

kckstylist
Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2007 1:08:30 PM

Dear kckstylist


Welcome to the BTC Talk Back Boards!  Please take a few moments to read over the board rules in the green box above.  Whether or not she actually sues - who knows it might be just a threat.  I do not see anything wrong with contacting the clients you serviced if you were allowed to keep your own records.  Let's see how others respond.


Cindy Farr Hester  Asst Moderator



hairchic
Posts: 355
Silver Member

Posted: Monday, November 12, 2007 10:01:42 AM

I agree Cindy. If you were allowed to keep your own records there's no leg to stand on.

Do your own research. Educate yourself. Read the Act. If the client gave thier info to the salon, they believe it belongs to the salon, if they gave it to you it's yours.

Think about it on your end, you are the client.. of say a dentist office. You like your dentist and all but would you be okay with him contacting you directly? I would personally find it a bit creepy if my dentist personally had my personal info. I gave my info the the office and expect to only be contacted by the office.

The difference here is (and what's wrong with our industry) the professionalism. I've had dentists move offices and the office gives me the option of seeing a new dentist or giving me the info for my old one.

Owners need to be about the client not themselves. The salons I've left that were professional about it have offered my clients coupons to try someone else there but will give my info if they request it. THAT'S CLASS !

In your case you can legally put an ad in the local paper announcing your move. They heard about you the first time, word travels fast.


Carpe Diem

kckstylist
Posts: 2

a non-compete contract
Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2007 1:20:51 PM

Thank you both. I just wanted some feedback. I appreciate it.


 


KCKstylist



SouthernGuy
Posts: 128
Bronze Member

Posted: Sunday, November 25, 2007 7:41:29 AM

...



gotnailed
Posts: 8

HELP!!!!
Posted: Thursday, October 23, 2008 11:33:21 PM
I know this thread was started a year ago but Im in the same situation.  I am also from the North Shore in Mass. I just recently got terminated after 5 1/2 years.  After being there for years and building my clientele from the ground up.  My boss presented a noncompete contract to me to sign this April(2008).  Stupid me, I signed it thinking this was a very stable job. The I get fired a few months later!  HONESTLY I THINK I WAS SET-UP!!!!!  The contract is a 10 mile radius for 1 year after termination.  If anyone is familiar from the NORTH SHORE,  A 10 mile radius is the whole NS.  Does anyone know a way around this?  Should I somehow contact my ex-boss (even though the thought of talking to her make me upset) to see if she will negotiate this?  Does anyone know what it cost to get legal advise on this?

XOXO~Meg



hairchic
Posts: 355
Silver Member

been there
Posted: Friday, October 24, 2008 7:45:10 AM

I went throught that very same scenario a few years back in NJ. Some things you'll hear are "right to work" laws and legal vs illegal termination. if you search my name (or non-compete) you can see what my experience was with this.   You can call an attorney and get a free consult as to whether you even have a case. They will be able to tell you what the laws are in your state.  some have beat it others (like me ) don't.  It is worth the effort to at least get educated about the subject in your state.


good luck and be patient.


 


Carpe Diem

Liv2style
Posts: 3

Illegal!
Posted: Monday, February 02, 2009 8:10:28 PM

I am not sure about your area...but those are illegal in a lot of states.....I would check on that because they can make them all they want but they won't stand up in court! Those are your clients and it takes you and your talent to keep them coming. It is illegal to prevent or prohibit someone from making a living.



gd
Posts: 810
Gold Member

Posted: Tuesday, February 03, 2009 1:03:14 PM
Not at all true, as long as they are "reasonable", non-compete contracts are legal contracts that are used in many businesses not just the salon industry. Non-compete contracts do not prevent or prohibit anyone from making a living or working in their profession. They simply limit an area or prohibit an employee from taking and using the businesses client information. I would advise anyone to see an attorney before signing a non-compete contract.


anja
Posts: 6

Non compete for 1 year after termination or resigning
Posted: Sunday, February 08, 2009 11:38:50 PM

I am in a right to work state and my non-compete I signed does not state any mile radius but in case of termination or resigning expires 1 year after???  I was really hyped about working for the salon and thought no problem considering I am a good employee and hoped for a good future with the salon.  Now I realize why they had such a turnover of employees.  I do not plan to take any clients they have or contact them.  My clients will follow if they want.  The contract also was not notarized if that counts.



anja
Posts: 6

Non compete for 1 year after termination or resigning
Posted: Sunday, February 08, 2009 11:42:46 PM


xxhairdivaxx
Posts: 102
Bronze Member

Posted: Monday, February 09, 2009 2:06:58 AM
IMO, I think that is so tacky.  If I were a salon owner I wouldn't block you from your clients.  To me thats an act of desperation.  Here it is after you've made so much money for yourself as well as the salon; then "they" literally give you their @ss to kiss; not ethical at all; truth be told if your clients love the service that you give them they will follow you anyway.

6618molly
Posts: 68

Holy Cow !!!!
Posted: Monday, February 09, 2009 10:14:43 AM

Are things that competative in the east, that a city with a population like Boston would have a shortage of clients for the number of hairdressers !!!??? But if the salon owners have found that if they don't have these non-compete clauses in their contracts that they actually do lose business maybe there's something to them. I would like to think I would not find myself in that situation where I'd kind of like sell my soul to work in a salon. Then again in my city, 3, 5 or even 10 miles would not deter my cliental (at least most of them). We do have clauses when we've sold salons that we won't open within a certain radius, or use the name for a certain time. I would prefer to have the freedom to hang my shingle where ever I pleased, within reason of course. 


bill in az

NBretsch
Posts: 1

noncompete schmeet
Posted: Sunday, February 22, 2009 11:32:12 PM
I think those contracts are unethical. From what you wrote it's obvious that your clients loved you and your work, not the salon. We've all heard how hard it is to find just the right stylist, and when they do, your golden and they will follow you. I think you should have told your clients you were moving, but glad to hear they found you. Imagine the panic attacks you must have caused! (; Here's my advice for your new boss: make a list of All the clients that followed you and give it to him/ her and promise that IF you must leave, you will take ONLY those clients with you, but as far as limiting where you can work is not an option and I think should be illegal. However, I'm almost certain that if you do sign and breech the distance nonsence, that they won't waste time and money to come after you. These contracts get under my skin. I think I might rant about it on another thread.

6618molly
Posts: 68

owners vs stylists
Posted: Monday, February 23, 2009 8:22:08 AM

I think that we need look at the salon makeup, the dynamics of the folks...some salons do a lot of education, some salons spend small fortunes bringing in the clients, some salons are exclusive and if you go to work for them or in their salon as a booth renter you do so under their terms. There are those that just want a body behind the chair and there are those that REQUIRE excellence and all the inbetweens. We have a very large arena to pick and choose from. I don't know of many that would go so far as to take legal action over the breech of contract, however the threat is there. Doesn't do much good to complain after the fact. Read the contract, pretty easy. If the contract is too wordy and lengthy and full of small print, hire an attorney or go else where. I don't of that many salon owners that aren't always looking for good hairdressers. Compete clauses are pretty standard by the way and not a bad way to do business.


bill in az

gotnailed
Posts: 8

Posted: Monday, February 23, 2009 4:30:55 PM

Hey guys!  I know that it has been more than a few months now since my last post to this discussion.  Its unfortunate that this situation happens more often then I thought.  When I was going through all the mess, I really thought I was the only one that has gone through the whole contract thing.  It is an awful feeling.  I would not wish that on anyone. 


Losing my job alone was really taken a mental toll on me and had sent me into a depression for a good month or so.  I really felt that my soul was toyed with.  I know for a fact now that I was fired on a personal level not a professional one.  I know that if I had gone through with court with attorneys and everything that I would have won!  HANDS DOWN! 


I was the top tech in the salon,  booked out 3 weeks advanced,  always showed up even being sick, and had paid for ALL education out of pocket. (travel and them some)  I WAS TOTALLY TAKEN ADVANDAGED OF.  This was a life lesson and will NEVER allow someone to treat me like that ever again.


XOXO~Meg



6618molly
Posts: 68

Be Tough
Posted: Monday, February 23, 2009 4:54:22 PM
Another life lesson, sometimes you love them...sometimes not. Meg, you seem to be a sharp person, girl gender I'm guessing and yes it looks like you were treated disrespectfully and unprofessionally. I'm not sure if you're young or old and I won't pontificate. I hope this is one of those things that will have a purpose and work out for the better for you. We all know some good comes out of the bad. Depression can be a real drag and I'm glad to see you're snapping out of it.
bill in az