Reaching out to a client (of a past employer)

12 replies
A couple of years ago I left a company where I worked as a web developer. The company, an established PC repair store on the east coast with several stores, hired me to 'head' the new web development dept. I wore many hats - support, developer, marketing, sales and designer (eventually outsourced). We did well the first year and even better the second.

Ultimately we parted ways. It was mutual, no hard feelings.

Which brings me to my question: there are a couple of clients who I really enjoyed working with who appear to need help - now. They have not contacted me but based on the issues I see, they either don't care (doubtful) or they have lost touch with their provider.

There was/is a Non-compete agreement in place. I don't have a copy. I've tried to get in touch with the owner (former boss) but haven't had any luck yet.

Should I reach out to my former client?

I'm not looking for legal advice, just opinions based on past experience, from either side.
#client #employer #past #reaching
  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    There was/is a Non-compete agreement in place. I don't have a copy. I've tried to get in touch with the owner (former boss) but haven't had any luck yet.
    If you signed a non-compete agreement, you should know how long it was for and what the terms were. I find it hard to believe you don't know what the time frame or terms were. Not having a copy doesn't mean the non-compete isn't in force.

    Try harder to reach former boss - get a copy - and go from there. That's what I would do.
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  • Profile picture of the author reboot38
    If you signed a non-compete agreement, you should know how long it was for and what the terms were. I find it hard to believe you don't know what the time frame or terms were. Not having a copy doesn't mean the non-compete isn't in force.
    Thanks...I think.

    It's been a couple of years. The agreement is somewhere, where that is I don't know. Also, I never implied that not having a copy voided the agreement. I'm simply looking for thoughts/ideas/advice from others who have been in a similar situation.
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  • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
    Most non-compete agreements are unenforceable. If it didn't list a work radius that is "reasonable" along with an expiration date less than 2 years, there would generally be nothing to worry about. They're made to stop you from leaving and working for a competitor, they aren't made to stop you from starting your own business. If you're worried about legal ramifications then consult with an attorney in your area.

    If you're just freelancing, you're technically a contractor for the business that is paying you. It's very difficult to claim that a non compete agreement was violated, and almost impossible to enforce (I know this based on past experience)

    Personally, legal stuff aside... I wouldn't worry about it. I would contact whoever I wanted to contact.
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    • Profile picture of the author Advanpro
      Personally, legal stuff aside... I wouldn't worry about it. I would contact whoever I wanted to contact.[/QUOTE]

      I totally agree, take no notice and crack on. A mate of mine took all his clients with him when he left his company, there were all sorts of non competes etc etc in place !!
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  • Profile picture of the author msthing
    Yeah, people are often told that non-compete agreements are not enforceable, but they can be, I assure you. Usually, it's the big companies that go after top level executives or salespeople if they go to competitors--contrary to their employment agreement.


    Below is a link to a case of a salesperson working for a trash/recycling company that got sued by his employer for contacting the companies clients and getting them to switch to the new company he worked for. His former employer prevailed in court.


    Indiana Trade Secret Litigation Update – Ray’s Trash Service, Inc. v. Robert Miller et al | Indiana Intellectual Property Blog
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    Sounds like you're in a small town. As such, you are aware that people talk.

    And, it sounds like you want to keep things good with former boss.

    How about a certified letter to former boss?

    Along the lines of: I value our relation and noticed that a few of the clients we had when I
    did web dev with you look like they could use some more help.

    I was wondering if I could contact them....(Or joint venture with former boss?)..."

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  • Profile picture of the author reboot38
    Thanks for all of the replies!

    Sounds like you're in a small town. As such, you are aware that people talk.

    And, it sounds like you want to keep things good with former boss.

    How about a certified letter to former boss?

    Along the lines of: I value our relation and noticed that a few of the clients we had when I
    did web dev with you look like they could use some more help.

    I was wondering if I could contact them....(Or joint venture with former boss?)..."
    Thanks for the input BizGrower!

    I do live in a small town but as luck would have it my small town is located about 600 miles away from his town - no worries about people talking.

    I sent him an email last night, I know he opened it this morning.We'll see - the more I think about it the less concerned I am.
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  • Profile picture of the author eccj
    Are you in a right to work state?
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  • Profile picture of the author niksto82
    Well, I am not sure about this. Even though this is business, you will have to consider one thing. While you were working together, did your boss disrespect you in anyway? I mean, don't wanna sound childish or whatever but you should probably treat him with the same respect he has shown you over the years (whether it was bad or good). That's at least what I would do. It looks like you are a capable guy. You will earn money no matter what. Just try to be fair in the process. If the money is your only incentive, you will probably regret your decision after a few years (if it was indecent one).
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