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Is this REALLY a moral dillema?

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  • #16
    Re: Is this REALLY a moral dillema?

    Imo, you need to be more of a hard-edged business man if you want to be successful.

    If you have previous contacts from your old company, by all means call them and try to get some business. Its a free-market, teeming with competition. You have to be aggressive and competitive, so to hell with your competition, they are not putting food on your table anymore. What are you going to do, throw away the list of customer's you happen to have in your hand??? That would be stupid.
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    • #17
      Re: Is this REALLY a moral dillema?

      P.S. Get a contractor's license and insurance before soliciting business on your own. Good luck.
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      • #18
        Re: Is this REALLY a moral dillema?

        Originally posted by woodenstickers View Post
        I got a call out of the blue from a contractor I came in contact with earlier this year who was doing work on a house I refaced. He offered to hire me and wants to do refacing jobs.

        I have a pretty good hunch that he is hooked up with one of the salesmen from my old company and they are probably planning to funnel jobs from his leads there. Neither of them know that I quit last week though.

        I feel a bit torn because I am such a goody-effin-two shoes that I still harbor some loyalty to the people I worked with. I wouldn't go so far as to narc out the salesman--in fact I pretty much figured out their relationship while I was still employed there and kept it to myself--but actually working with them while they are stealing leads from my old company feels a bit dirty.

        If I do one job or two jobs a month for them on the side, easily doable while working full time for my new job and still with time off now and then, I'd make another $15-25 grand a year.

        Is this really something I should be worried about getting involved in just because the salesman is breaking his agreement with my old company?

        To rationalize it I would add that the company is ruthless as hell, has a business model developed specifically to destroy smaller companies and treats their employees like tools to use and discard when necessary.

        What do y'all think?



        Eli
        Go to school.... I don't know what the rest said, because I only read your original post.
        Great Link for a Construction Owner/Tradesmen, and just say Garager sent you....

        http://www.contractorspub.com

        A good climbing rope will last you 3 to 5 years, a bad climbing rope will last you a life time !!!

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        • #19
          Re: Is this REALLY a moral dillema?

          Originally posted by woodenstickers View Post
          He also mentioned something about paying me to train him and his guys, but it opens the same can of worms. I'm not gonna lie, the money would be nice, but I haven't sold out in the past and I don't want to start now really. I am going to meet with him today though, just to see if my suspicions are true and make a more informed decision.
          It is only my opinion, but I think if you are just training his guys; and not doing work on a poached lead that is something that is perfectly reasonable for you to do. Everyone's moral compas is different though.

          Originally posted by woodenstickers View Post
          Now on to this--I didn't really feel like this idea was unethical, but I guess I might as well run it by you guys while were on the subject. I still have all the names, numbers and addresses of all of the customers I worked for thought the company. I was thinking I would call and send out cards to all of them letting them know I am on my own now and asking for referrals and if they needed work done. Many, many of them, especially when I turned down side jobs at the time I was employed, asked me to let them know when I was ever available on my own.

          This isn't the same thing, right?
          It is the same thing. You developed that database on your former employers nickel so it belongs to them. This is actually one of the things that was in my employer's yearly business ethics training last year. I'm the only one who has spoken up on this so far, but I would like to hear some of the other business owners opinions on it.

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          • #20
            Re: Is this REALLY a moral dillema?

            I disagree, if he has the list with him, then use it. If the customers like his former company so much, then they will stick with them. What do you suggest, he justs throw away the list of people he already knows and has worked with?
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            • #21
              Re: Is this REALLY a moral dillema?

              Originally posted by Service Guy View Post
              I disagree, if he has the list with him, then use it. If the customers like his former company so much, then they will stick with them. What do you suggest, he justs throw away the list of
              people he already knows and has worked with?
              I understand your position, because he has no other marketing tool that would come close to that list. Think about it from the other direction though. If you decide to hire an employee, and they quit after a while, but then start calling your customers and undercutting your business; would you think they would be stupid not to use the list of people's homes they've been in? They are basically stealing the money you spent on advertising to generate those qualified leads (if not on advertising on building the business to get referals).

              It might be painful to throw it away, but in a perfect world it should be. I guess it is fuzzier because he wasn't in sales, if he was in sales I would say definitely. When I change jobs I can't take software I developed with me; my employer owns it. For salespeople, the company definitely owns every lead/prospect as well. I understand that lots of salespeople will take their lists with them anyway.

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              • #22
                Re: Is this REALLY a moral dillema?

                Theoretically, I know exactly where you are coming from, and in a perfect world you are right. But in THIS world, its ruthlessly competitive. I know if I hire someone, there is always the chance they will try to steal my customers someday. Then its war, may the best company win.
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                • #23
                  Re: Is this REALLY a moral dillema?

                  Eli,

                  Unless you are bound by a non-compete clause in your separation, using your memory of past contacts is not a problem. This is especially true if you've earned a relationship with those people that you did the work for. All you are really asking here is if it would be okay to let these past customers know that you have left the company. You're not stealing work, soliciting work, or telling any of these customers tales to mislead then into thinking that the old company is bad or incapable of providing the good work that you did... all you are doing is letting them know that you have left and are now available independantly.

                  Doctor's do it, lawyer's do it, and so does probably any body who has ever worked for anybody.

                  (If you go by a really tight interpretation of what is "ethical", you'd have to change careers, because you wouldn't be able to buy tools or materials because your past employer paid you while you gained that experience and knowledge!)

                  About the only thing that I would find wrong here would be if you actually stole the database or customer list from the company. But if you have simply written down the names and contact information of some of the customers that have expressed admiration for you work... well, that's another thing.

                  CWS
                  Last edited by CWSmith; 07-25-2008, 01:06 AM.

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                  • #24
                    Re: Is this REALLY a moral dillema?

                    Originally posted by CWSmith View Post
                    Eli,

                    Unless you are bound by a non-compete clause in your separation, using your memory of past contacts is not a problem. This is especially true if you've earned a relationship with those people that you did the work for. All you are really asking here is if it would be okay to let these past customers know that you have left the company. You're not stealing work, soliciting work, or telling any of these customers tales to mislead then into thinking that the old company is bad or incapable of providing the good work that you did... all you are doing is letting them know that you have left and are now available independantly.

                    Doctor's do it, lawyer's do it, and so does probably any body who has ever worked for anybody.

                    (If you go by a really tight interpretation of what is "ethical", you'd have to change careers, because you wouldn't be able to buy tools or materials because your past employer paid you while you gained that experience and knowledge!)

                    About the only thing that I would find wrong here would be if you actually stole the database or customer list from the company. But if you have simply written down the names and contact information of some of the customers that have expressed admiration for you work... well, that's another thing.

                    CWS
                    Just for more info--I have all of these names and addresses because I needed to turn in very complete and very complicated expense reports. In fact we were provided with labels with this all of this information to keep in our private records. I kept everything in a book for reference, names, addresses, phone numbers and job numbers as well as date of start and completion of each job. I really had no use for it except to fill out paper work for hours and travel. Never really had a plot for it.

                    The other thing that I guess separates it for me is simply that I would not be doing refacing for these same customers again unless they were to move, and that is all my branch does. The referrals could be considered property of my old company, but where the rubber hits the road it was my work that gained the referral. Turning those over was was the deal I made with my company while I was in their employ and I stuck by it, but now I do not feel like I am under that obligation. Any work I would do for a past customer now would be in a non-competing specialty and would only possibly be in competition with their partner--the big box store.

                    I didn't get a chance to meet with the contractor today, but I did do a lot of work on my Pop's kitchen. It is looking good. I'm going north to ask my gals parents for permission to marry their daughter tomorrow so I won't be back around until next week (If I make it out alive at all!!).

                    Thanks to everyone for the thoughtful responses. I can't believe that I found this site because I was pissed about the ridgid wet-dry having a 1-7/8" hose. The help and community I find here continues to be astonishing.


                    Eli
                    A good carpenter makes few mistakes, a great carpenter can fix his own.

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                    • #25
                      Re: Is this REALLY a moral dillema?

                      If you plan to offer services in a different area of specialization than cabinet refacing then I say go for it, use the names you have accumulated. I don't see any moral or legal conflict.

                      That the list of customers always belongs to the company is not the case. One of my pals left Schwab, the investment firm, and took his client list with him. Long story short, Schwab sued, my pal prevailed.

                      You may wish to give overweighted consideration to what Garager said and with which I agree. "Go to school."

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                      • #26
                        Re: Is this REALLY a moral dillema?

                        There's a subtle, disturbing quality of aggression in your approach that is a form of business. Your presenting a better, more well rounded view for me of different styles.

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