What is a non-compete agreement and can it protect your cleaning business? There are many ways to stop people from stealing your business.
A non-disclosure agreement is a great way to safeguard your cleaning company, too.
Listen: What is a Non-Compete Agreement
Watch: What is a Non-Compete Agreement
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
What is a Non-Compete Agreement?
What is a non-compete agreement and how does it work? One house cleaner wrote in with this question. “What is the agreement called where you prevent an employee from taking your customers from your cleaning business, and where can I get a copy of that?”
The answer is a non-compete agreement. But there are actually four documents to use as you’re starting your business and hire employees. The first one is non-disclosure.
So when they come for the interview, you’re going to have them sign is a non-disclosure. And what that says is this. During this interview, I’m going to share with you a little bit about how our business operates. And so if you’re going out and you’re looking for a job as a house cleaner if you interview with other companies. Then you will not share the information that I’m about to share with you. So the very first one that you want to get is a non-disclosure.
Have Employees Sign a Non-Compete Agreement
The second one is a non-compete agreement which says in this certain area that they work in for a certain number of years. You will say “You will not go to my customers and clean for them and take my business away once you learn who my customers are.” So that is a non-compete agreement.
The third document that you have them sign is an employee agreement. So as they are coming into your company, you’re going to say what your expectations are. “I expect you to show up at this particular time every day, to dress in this particular way. I expect you to not be tardy, I expect you to do your inventory at the end of the day.”
Whatever your rules and regulations are, explain them. Then also you explain how they get paid when they get paid, what the days off are. Do you offer some kind of benefits or perks or any of those things? So all of that would be in the employee agreement.
Blend the Non-Compete and Employee Agreement
The opportunity is you can blend the non-compete in with the employee agreement. Rocket Lawyer can help you do that.
They can help you do all that and then tailor it to the state that you live in. Make it so that all the rules match your state regulations and the federal regulations.
Keep an Employee Handbook
Then the fourth document you may need is an employee handbook. The employee handbook comes after you’ve hired somebody after they’ve signed the non-disclosure, non-compete, and employee agreement.
The employee handbook is your company culture and it’s on paper. It says, this is what we expect, this is what happens if you misbehave. This is what happens if our clients misbehave, this is what we tolerate, this is what we don’t tolerate, these are our social media policies. Are you allowed to talk on the phone while you’re cleaning a house? All those things.
The reason it is so important to have an employee handbook is that what you’re doing is you’re building a company culture.
How do You Keep People From Stealing Your Business?
So, how do you keep people from stealing your business? You create this opportunity of a company culture that says I’m investing in you and you are investing in me. We are a team. We are working together.
Then in the event that for some reason you should ever part ways and they go out on their own. If you have this level of communication and you’ve built a company culture that’s supportive. When they leave, they’re going to tell you and say, “Hey, listen, I’ve got to go out on my own. It’s time for me.”
But instead of there being animosity and you chasing them down and you’re saying, “I’m going to sue you“. And this happens a lot in housecleaning.
You Can Give Employees Extra Business
What you do instead is you say, “Hey, listen, as you get started, if we have more business than we can take in, I will pass it along to you. And in the event that I ever get in a bind and somebody calls out sick or they cancel it and you have an opening. Then I would love to have you come back as an independent contractor and help me for a day.”
And so you create this alliance where you both understand that you both have separate businesses. But instead of you fighting, it’s a completely different environment. One where you’re helping each other and you’re pulling your resources together instead of using your resources to fight each other.
You Can’t Stop Someone From Stealing Your Business
So how do you keep someone from stealing your business? You can’t.
But when you get a job at anyone’s house, it’s possible that they had another house cleaner somewhere else. And so you’re theoretically taking business from a different house cleaner. I know that none of us like to look at it that way, but that’s kind of the truth. And so homeowners do not own you and you do not own the homeowner.
And so at any time, they are free to go anywhere and hire any house cleaner, even if it is the one that is currently working for you right now. If they’ve signed a non-disclosure and a non-compete and you’ve created this company culture, their moral obligation will turn them away.
You Want Your Employees to Have a Moral Obligation to You
Their ethical obligation will say, “Hey, listen, I love you as a customer. I have enjoyed working for you, but I signed a non-compete with this particular company.
It would be unethical for me to come to clean your house right now until the statute of limitations has expired on this agreement that I have. So I’m so sorry. Thank you so much for believing in me. I would take a recommendation from a friend of yours.”
If you have a friend or a neighbor that lives in this area and it’s not an area that is not in your territory that you can’t compete in. But if it’s somebody that they know that’s outside the area, that would be okay for you to help then take the recommendation from them. But don’t cross those barriers.Resources
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Non-Competition, Non-Solicitation, and Non-Disclosure Agreements Line by Line – https://amzn.to/3aDWrrL
The Anti-Corruption Handbook: How to Protect Your Business in the Global Marketplace – https://amzn.to/2Y9r1GZ
Becoming Bulletproof: Protect Yourself, Read People, Influence Situations, and Live Fearlessly – https://amzn.to/2VG9KDv
Nondisclosure Agreements: Protect Your Trade Secrets and More – https://amzn.to/3eUSr9A
General Non-Competition Agreement – https://amzn.to/2W3OR4o
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