a community of practitioners
I am a fairly new MT; I started working a little under a year ago part-time at a small spa as an independent contractor, and I really like it. I'd like to continue to work and build my clientele there at the spa, but I also want to have separate private clientele that I see as a mobile therapist. I'm poised to start doing some marketing--community events, online marketing, etc.-- to build my own mobile brand, but I'm worried it will be a seen as a conflict of interest with the spa I'm currently working at if they happen to see my personal promotion efforts. I have no intention of luring existing clients away from the spa or even marketing my own business in that immediate neighborhood. How have others dealt with this? Any advice? Thanks!
First question. Do you have a non compete agreement with them? If you do read the fine print. Some of these are very restrictive. Some of are so restrictive they are really not enforceable and a judge would throw them out of court if it ever went that far, but if the spa owners are spiteful jerks they could really make your life hell for the term of the agreement.
Second... What is your relationship like with them?
Are you working under their brand?
If you are working under their brand it is definitely a sticky situation and complicates the situation.
These are the biggies.
Just to warn you these things get complicated very quickly. Jealousies raise their ugly head very unexpectedly. I myself was in the same situation as you. Thought I had a great working/business relationship, the mobile model did not infringe on their brick and mortar space, did the ethical thing by meeting with the spa owners and telling them my plans. Made clear I would not take clients from them etc. Talked about timeline and exit strategy. Everything seemed good during the meeting, but not an hour later they cleared my calendar and wouldn't talk to me after. Over the ensuing weeks, they also spread false and nasty rumors about me too; that came back to bite them in the ass. I can't begin to tell how shabbily I was treated after that.
IMO... Take the high road. The ethical thing to do is have a meeting with them and tell them straight out your plans and assure them you will not steal their clients. Doing it behind their back is not right. Hopefully, your experience will be better than mine. It just really depends on the people you are working with.
In the end, it worked out for the best because the spa owners showed their true colors and doing both jobs would have burned me out.
If I had a chance to do it over I would have just cut the cord when I felt ready to take the plunge, but I thought it would be nice to have the while setting up my own practice.
Not sure this is much help, but how well it works out is really just up to the folks you are working with.
A) You are in CA. It is against labor regulations to work in a spa facility as an independent contractor. You MUST be an employee. Bring this up with your supervisor or you can just file a complaint with the CA Board of Labor. Your employer cannot retaliate against you for doing so.
B) You are in CA. Non-Competes are illegal under 99% of circumstances -- you'd have to be dealing with super proprietary information to subject to one
C) you could be asked to sign a non-solicitation agreement, which pretty much says any client you meet in the course of your work (AS AN EMPLOYEE ONLY, non competes NEVER apply to IC, hence the whole point of being independent) cannot be solicited for your personal business.