Pet projects - Non-compete

Hi, If your freelancing for say a company that makes Pet Products and they want you to sign a Non-compete barring you from working for other pet product companies.
Is this typical? How long is the time period usually they bar you from working for others? You think this is worth doing for $2000.? Other ways around this?


Yes t can be common, and the time line is usually from the completion of your last project. I have seen it any where from 6 months to 2 years. When determining the acceptable amount of time you need to ask yourself… Do I have X number of other clients who do pet products lined up to hire me… Also how much work are they going to be giving you… If they have one project that runs say $3000.00 is that worth signing something that prevents you from working for another similar company for 2 years…

In the end it comes down to what is it worth and you need to weigh the pros and con’s. I would suggest starting with 6 months depending on how much work you will get from them.

Chevis W

Unless they are going to guarantee you X$ worth of business, I’d say not worth it. there has to be a give to the take. Also, does the non compete cover all pet products, or the one’s you will be working on. Example, if you design one squeaky toy for them, are you barred from designing a pet rain coat (or something else completely unrelated to squeaky toys) for x amount of time? Doesn’t seem fair. Have a lawyer look over the exact wording. Suggest changes. Also check your state laws. These can be pretty unenforceable depending on the state. California for example has a right to work law making a non compete almost null.

Thanks Yo. Did not even think of those angles.

Often, the contracts are generic, so you can negotiate with them to modify it.

For example, if the contract is for a $2000 project to design a “dog house that looks like igloo”. You can narrow the scope of the non-compete to “dog houses that look like igloos”.

It would be ridiculous for the igloo client to bar you from working on “pooper scoopers” for a competitor if you made igloos for the first client!

There are many variations of “narrowing the scope” but you get the point.

Their main concern is you gaining strategic insight into their business processes and then taking that to a competitor. So it is a balancing act for both parties.

Keep in mind if they are writing the contract they will try to have everything. It should always be viewed as a starting point.