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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 37026
Experience:  Run my own successful business/contract law practice.
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I have worked for one of the three big tax preparation firms

Resolved Question:

I have worked for one of the three big tax preparation firms for the past 20 years. I am now in the process of starting my own business as a paid preparer. The franchisee I worked for does not use the non compete contracts that the parent company requires. I am not under a written contract at this time. I have a number of loyal clients who have specifically requested me for years and at the end of the past season, I recorded my clients contact info as I had been told the franchisee was closing his offices down. Now I understand he plans to open one office in his territory by next season.

Is there an implied contract by my having worked for this company? If I contact my regular clients and let them know that I am now doing business on my own, am I violating any laws? I live in nc.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

To answer directly, there is no 'implied agreement'. While you work for the employer you cannot harm the employer or otherwise attempt to damage their interests. but once yo are on your own, that duty likewise disappears. If there is no non-compete, you are free to compete against them and use their own knowledge against them. You can contact your past clients and let them know where you are currently located, it is not a violation. Just make sure that if you contact them, it is not done in a manner of a solicitation for business, but just an information based contact letting them know where you are located and what services you can provide. Should you solicit, it may grant the other entity a stronger claim against you for 'tortious interference with a business interest', which is still a bit of an outside shot of a claim, but if they have more financial assets and legal representation, there is no need to give them an excuse to attempt to pursue you and attempt to put you out of business.

Good luck.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can you be a little more specific about the difference between informational contact and actual solicitation? Maybe an example?
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Mary,

Sure, I would be happy to. It is really the difference between passive and active communication. An example of a solicitation may be sending an email to past clients telling them that you are willing and ready to assist them in the same manner that you assisted them in the past, and offering them the opportunity to visit your new office for an appointment. An example of an information contact would be to send an email letting them know that you have now begun your own business which is engaged in specific services, that you are located at a specific location, and that you are looking forward to answering any questions should any be posed to you. In the latter option you do not directly offer your services to anyone, and it is the other person who has to take the step to contact you and seek out you for your work.

Hope that helps.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What about things I want to do to build my business? I am speaking of doing free seminars, etc. to get my name out there, and actual solicitation of new clients, albeit in the same geographical area. Can that in any way be construed as a violation of any thing. My service will. E a little different - just preparation and e-file - NO bank products.
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Mary,

You never signed any sort of an agreement, therefore you yourself are free to conduct any business that you wish. As there is no non-compete in place, you are free to expand your business in any legal manner you wish, be it seminars, marketing, and so forth. That is not a violation, you have no contractual obligation to anyone.

Good luck.

Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 37026
Experience: Run my own successful business/contract law practice.
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