Re: job shop--non-compete clause?? (LONG)

Subject: Re: job shop--non-compete clause?? (LONG)
From: Kat Nagel/MasterWork <katnagel -at- EZNET -dot- NET>
Date: Mon, 30 Dec 1996 11:20:43 -0500

Randy Burgess asks about non-compete clauses:
>Effectively it would
>bar me from working for a company she "introduced" me to "directly or
>indirectly" for up to a year after I leave her employ. It seems very broad
>to me

The wording makes me a little uncomfortable. A year seems reasonable
to me for a "direct" contact. It's the "indirect" part that is open for
interpretation, and could get a little sticky.

First, talk to other writers she has represented. She should be willing to
you names of people she's worked successfully with. Talk to them about the
support she provides. Talk to them about the kind of placements she gets for
them and the quality of the other writers on any project teams she got them
involved in. Be alert for warning signals of bad karma <grin>.

If, after doing that, you still think want to work with her, sign on for one
specific project---or for a specific time period like 6 months---not an open-
ended deal. Suggest a similar non-compete clause, but with a wrinkle.

Your part of the agreement could be something like this:
Agree not to approach a directly-introduced client company for future
contracts for a year after the end of your contract with her firm. If that
company contacts -you-, agree to (a) refer them to her and (b) tell her
about it.

Her part of the agreement should be:
If she isn't interested in bidding on the contract, she agrees to refer them
back to you. If she does bid on that contract, she agrees to include your
services in the proposal rather than hiring a different writer. (Remem-
ber, this is a client that approached -you- rather than going to her
directly.) If your skills don't fit the project, and she feels she can better
serve the client by offering another writer, she agrees to pay you a finders

I did my first subcontracting project last year after 10 years of a
reasonably successful independent career. Writer friends had been trying
to get me connected with the firm for several years, but I've always been
leery of subcontracting. This was an interesting project that needed a team
approach rather than a solo operation, so it wasn't something I would have
bid on myself. The client company turned out to be a little weird, but the
folks I subcontracted through turned out to be wizards at dealing with
wayward children <g>. They were also highly skilled, ethical, and a
pleasure to work with. It worked out pretty well from my point of view,
and I'll certainly consider doing another job with them.

FWIW, I recently talked to another writer who occasionally subcontracts
through the same folks. She was offered a contract by one of the "directly-
introduced" companies less than a year after the non-compete agreement.
The firm called the client and told them about the non-compete thingy and
said they'd be happy to release her from the agreement if the client offered
them the equivalent of about 2 days' pay (I -think- it was 2 days, cartainly
less than a week). Everybody wound up happy.

Kat Nagel, MasterWork Consulting Services
Technical writing / Editing / Document design / Research

"I knew that much of my memory had migrated from protoplasm to silicon,
but I didn't realize how true that was of my social life as well."
___K. Watkins, posted to Wordplay-L (December, 1996)

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