Trying to start your own business when you've signed a NON-COMPETE!
I have been working behind the scenes getting my PT/bootcamp business ready. This is one of the last major hurdles before actually advertising my bootcamp and getting out there. I signed a NON-COMPETE a while back with my employer. I now am a part time trainer there, and I would like remain there as it will take pressure off of my own business.
After re-reading the contract I realize that I've been in denial of the details:
I can not provide personal training or any type of exercise program within 10 miles of the Fitness Together Studio! (during employment & 1 year from termination)
(I had it in my head that it was just personal training and that I could still do a bootcamp, and that as long as I wasn't in that particular area of Seattle I'd be ok) Damn you selective memory!
I think my only option is to ask my boss for permission to run my bootcamp/pt business in my neighborhood as planned (5 miles away, across a bridge) with the promise that I will not advertise/solicit clients in the area nor take any FT clients away. There is a slim chance that she will be ok with it, as her main concern is her FT client base and us not taking them from her. My argument will be that no one would want to travel over to my area when there are plenty of options over there. There is also a big chance that she will not allow it and I will have to quit (as she is not always the most understanding and is afraid of change, and obviously understandable why one would say no)
Has anyone else had to deal with this sort of thing? anything I could add when asking permission?
thanks in advance for any thoughts on this fun matter,
Yes, I have dealt with it as an employer and actually find your integrity regarding honoring your contract very refreshing. In the past, I've had trainers blatantly disregard our written agreement - not only ignoring the non-compete radius, but actually trying to steal clients. I won't bore you with the details - a story for another time. But I will tell you to go to your employer & see if you can work something out. If there is truly not a conflict of interest there, I would hope your employer would give you the green light. Personally, I never found it to be in my favor to deny someone the opportunity to make money, particularly if had no bearing on my interests. Again - hats off to you but go have that talk!
Consult with a lawyer before you do any more moves. There are always options you might not be aware of.
I am sorry to say, you may be stuck because of:
" or any type of exercise program within 10 miles ".
It may be less trouble to have your classes farther away than deal with the legalities. I would weigh out all the options as Paul Thomas and Harris Sophocleous have suggested. Maybe an addendum could be written into the contract.
Good luck to you.
Natalie aka NAPS 2 B Fit.
I would follow Paul's advice and talk to your employer. I have known of cases where trainers were taken to court for violating the non-compete clause, and they did not come out on the winning end of it.
An owner of a small business will not be very motivated to take legal action, and an open conversation may be the best next step. Put yourself in the shoes of your employer. Your employment there has given you the experience and exposure that gave you the idea of your own business. You mention that you have been working 'behind the scenes' to set it up, and that sounds to me that you have been operating on the assumption that it is easier to ask forgiveness than permission. I cannot imagine that your employer will want you to continue to train at her facility, though.
I wish you good luck. I hope it works out.
This is a small industry, burning bridges is not advisable
I would talk to your employer and possibly arrange something that could benefit the both of you? Maybe he/she will embrace a discount for gym members or maybe some sort of trade off?
If not, then stay within the guidelines and move 5 miles further away!