When you hire a contractor to work for your business, you take a certain amount of risk. Even if you take measures to protect sensitive information, your top freelancers will likely learn the names and nature of business of your clients. What stops one of those contractors from directly offering one of those clients to do the work for cheaper?
What Is Poaching?
Known as “poaching,” having contractors contact your own clients is a risk every business takes when bringing on contractors. Poaching can happen either while the worker is on contract with you or afterward. Either way, though, you can lose the ability to do business with that client. If, for instance, you provide graphic design services to a variety of clients by hiring a contractor, and that designer offers to cut the middleman and work directly with the client, you risk losing that customer to the contractor. Fortunately, there are ways to protect your business while still enjoying the benefits of independent workers.
Preventing Poaching Through Contracts
Perhaps the most popular way to prevent poaching is through the use of legal paperwork. A non-solicitation agreement is an in-depth way to cover poaching. With a non-solicitation agreement, you specifically ask contractors to sign an agreement stating they won’t solicit your company’s clients or employees up to a designated time period following their work with your business. Instead of an entire contract, you can simply insert a non-solicitation clause into your non-compete agreement. Conversely, you can include a non-compete clause in your non-solicitation agreement. A non-compete agreement prevents your contractors and employees from going to work for a competitor prior to leaving your business. You can simply insert a non-solicitation clause to prevent contractors from stealing your clients.
Non-Solicitation Clause Caution
Even with legal protections in place, though, there are no guarantees that you’ll be able to take action if one of your employees does violate the terms of the agreement. This is especially true in California, where courts generally side with workers when it comes to non-competes and non-solicitation agreements. To protect yourself, use a non-solicitation or non-compete clause sample or a contract template. If possible, have a legal professional review your contract to make sure it will hold up if an employee violates it.
There will always be a risk that one of your contractors will directly solicit one of your own clients. But if you have agreements in place, you’ll be able to at least show contractors your stance on bypassing you to poach your own contacts. Contact us today if you need assistance assembling your contracts. If you make efforts to treat both your contractors and your clients well, you’ll likely find they want to continue to work with you no matter what.