I've been very fortunate to become what I would consider successful after being self-taught development and having a strong degree in marketing. We currently have 3 employees working full-time on salary but I'm the only one devoted to design and development. Our shack only does this 50% of the time with the other 50% split between client marketing and internal needs.
I've come to a point where I really need someone in-house starting at 20 hours per week devoted to development. I've sub-contracted before and will continue to do so but need someone I can depend on being around 2 days out of the week in-house.
I've got a very talented acquaintance whom has worked with me in the past. I offered him a position working in-house for the 20 hours per week at what would be considered a fraction of his freelance rate but still a very nice hourly rate (probably paying his rent for 2 weeks work) in addition he will have access to his desk here (located in prime area amongst his other clients) all week. He has shown great interest in the position and I believe we are going to move forward.
Can / Should I get him to sign a non-compete?
For instance I will want him to sign a non-compete focusing on the area of he will NOT take our clients and start working with them through his own business for at least 6/12 months. Would it be asking too much to have him sign such a thing? Honestly I can't do the deal unless he signs this but I want to have realistic expectations. I don't want to prohibit him from finding his own clients or doing his own outside work of course but since he will likely have access to my clients and contact books I don't want him to have an opportunity to 'steal' business.
What else should I look out for?
If anyone has hard lessons they would like to share about hiring someone part-time out of freelance I would love some insight. I don't know why but I'm kind of looking at this hire from a different angle than I usually do seeing as he could have a big impact on my business (good or bad).
Thanks for any input.
You'll get varying answers on this, as usual.
I think it's fine to ask someone to sign a non-compete as long as it's reasonable. The more experienced developers will be apprehensive to sign the stronger and more limiting documents, as a rule. Certainly it's reasonable to ask a developer not to solicit business from your existing clients for, say a year. Asking a developer not to engage in any business in a whole industry is a bigger thing to ask.
As usual, the value of these agreements is limited to what you could actually do with them if there was a breach. An agreement doesn't stop anyone from doing anything, it just gives you recourse if they do. There would have to be material damages for your to sue and the developer would have to have money for you to recover anything.
So, an agreement like that is useful but what is MUCH more effective is to treat the developer well, pay them fairly, and establish a quality relationship that will make them less likely to steal clients.
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