(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?
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.
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
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?
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?
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.
P.s. the previous owner is threating to sue me....I waas her only full time stylist.
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
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.
Thank you both. I just wanted some feedback. I appreciate it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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