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Anyone else have this in your contracts?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by NPMinc, Dec 5, 2010.

  1. Was curious if anyone else has a confidentiality/non disclosure clause written into their commercial contracts. Mine states something along the lines of "All information contained in this agreement is considered to be between parties named herein and both parties agree that all information contained herein is to be held in strict confidence". My reason for adding this was that a couple years ago I had a few guys going around to several of my customers and straight out asking them what they were paying and then offering $x less to steal the contract. This really chapped my Azz that they would do this not just because I had the work taken from me, but also that I had gone through the work to complete a legitimate estimate and after signing the contract had that job in my job plans. I doubt I would really have much ground to stand on as far as enforcement, however I have had friends of mine stop and ask on a few and they were simply told that it was under contract for the season, and they would be more than welcome to submit an estimate for next season. So I guess it did have some positive effect. Just wondering if anyone else does this.
  2. msu1510

    msu1510 Senior Member
    from MI
    Messages: 128

    no i dont have anything like that. sounds nice though
  3. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    I can see your point, but enforcement would be next to impossible. I don't have it in my snow contracts, but I have something similar in my service contracts.
  4. As I said in the OP I really couldnt see how I could enforce it, I mainly did it so they might think twice before just giving my figures out to anyone. Im sure most of them till I pointed it out, didn't realize that this would be a big deal to tell others. As i said i have "tested" a few and they all so far have "passed" so as far as im concered has served its purpose and will remain in my contracts. and yes like you it is also in some contracts for some other aspects of my business.

    REAPER 2000 Club Member
    from 60050
    Messages: 2,230

    I know a EX roofer in Michigan who will do exactly what you describe. Among other names I have called him a low baller in roofing and have seen him actually lose money doing his bidding this way.

    People are not honest when talking about money and spending when someone asks how much. On a bid the buyer knows the one asking is looking to undercut the other guy. So they will low-ball the lowballer.
    Roofing estimate from legit guy = $5000.
    Low baller asks how much legit company told him. Buyer says $2500. Lowballer believes this and not knowing real costs says $2250. Gets job and ends up eating his shorts.

    Notice I said EX roofer. This is the exact reason why. He at one point had 25 jobs and thought he was rolling in the money. By the time he was done with the jobs he was bankrupt and has still not recovered over 5 years later and still can not figure out why.
  6. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,707

    This is more of a vague confidentiality clause than anything else. Add non-compete verbiage to make your intentions and agreement clear. A 2 year non-compete with penalty is about right....and they are very enforceable in court.
  7. joe2113

    joe2113 Junior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 15

    Good call! I didn't know where you were going with that at first. A guy who used to work for me bought a plow for his truck this summer and went to all of my accounts bidding almost half of what I do it for. Only one customer decided to hire him and he got three large apartment complexes out of it. I can't really blame the management company for trying to save some money in these rough economic times, but they might learn about dealing with guys like him when his tired 97' 3/4 Chevy breaks down and they can't find anybody to finish their lots. At the prices he is charging if he loses a plow flag he'll be lucky to break even.
    I doubt you'll ever have to try to enforce that non disclosure clause, but it's great way to remind our customers about how this business is done honestly.
  8. kitzy

    kitzy Junior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 17

    As others mentioned, clauses in agreements/contracts or whatever we want to call them are almost impossible to enforce. But it certainly doesn't hurt to include that clause if you care to. Clauses in contracts are like locks on trailers....they wont prevent theft if someone wants in bad enough but..... they certainly deter some/most people...just like words do in an agreement (for those that can read of course). :dizzy:
  9. mnlefty

    mnlefty Senior Member
    Messages: 980

    I'll agree all it can do is make them think twice about giving out your numbers... I would think at best you could only prevent them from naming you when talking numbers. For example, I don't think you could stop them from telling Lowballers Plowing

    "We pay $xxxx.xx for the season"

    That is their business, and their information to share if they wish. Your clause could however possibly prevent them from saying

    "XYZ plowing is doing it for $xxxx.xx".

    No matter how well written, you could never stop them from telling the lowballer

    "If you can do it for $xxxx.xx it's yours."
  10. OC&D

    OC&D PlowSite Veteran
    from Earth
    Messages: 3,064

    That's a great story! It's good to know that some of these jokers get what's coming to them. Hopefully they don't hurt the rest of us too badly before they tank though.
  11. pongow26

    pongow26 Senior Member
    Messages: 153

    That is a good idea although I dont believe that it would hold up In a court of law if you chose to take it to small claims. In the case of a peson telling another your prices the is no factual way to prove what one said without you or a recording device present at the time of said violation of contract You are very right though, many less informed people would think twice. My question is, if your worried about lowballs stealing your business, why not go with a seasonally priced contract? Break it up into two payments so it's affordable,3 if nessecary and then you have no worries Cause you have already been paid
  12. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,707

    You guys are just guessing at this, right?

    Ever test a well written non-compete in court before?
  13. kitzy

    kitzy Junior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 17

    No I have not. Just an opinion based on how our legal system works....or rather how it doesn't work all too often. There are more guilty people on the street than in jail.
  14. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,707

    Actually we have the best legal system in the world. Not sure about more guilty people out of jail than in.

    The whole idea is kind of based on not having innocent land people in jail.

    And yes this has happened before....
  15. 09Busa

    09Busa Senior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 138

    NPMinc.........I am amazed that you speak of "testing" your customers. Do you realize that this is as underhanded as them possibly telling someone else what they are paying for your service. Not to mention your "friends" that would do this. Do you like people to approach you under the guise of one thing, yet they actually have another motive?
    I ask my customers to not reveal the terms of our contract, however you can only hope for the best. I WOULD never "test" one of my customers by sending someone to their door under false pretenses.
  16. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,707

    Wow! I guess I totally misread his post. I took this as being his concern and contract change with his subs so they don't steal his work from underneath him. My bad....

    NPMinc ~ You can't expect or request your customers what information they can or cannot share with others! :laughing:
  17. pongow26

    pongow26 Senior Member
    Messages: 153

    No not guessing there is no way a person can testify to what a person said. There is no factual way to take a persons word in court unless you are dealing with expert witnesses. In the case of a person telling another what a persons prices are, there is no reasonable way to prove that one specific person made a statement to another regarding prices without a recording device that can prove the statement of offense termed within said contract. Then, if the person being recorded is not aware of a recording device, it is not allowed as evidence.The only place I can see a non-compete clause working is within a corporate contract with someone such as Wal-mart or target
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2010
  18. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,276

    I like the theory, but the bottom line is this..... People will shop for the best deal, those that don't are either happy with the service you're giving them or the price. SIMPLE AS THAT.

    To go a bit off topic here, I do wonder about TCLA 's comments regarding non-competes and the extent to whioch they are enforcable. I could totally see a court upholding an agreement that protects a providers contracted work, but would they uphold one with geographic limits(which I've seen and signed) this hypothetical, I'm just curious. If contractor A never had a contract on lot 1(but it's located within the protected 10 mile radius) would a court hold contractor B liable for signing a deal on even if he signed an agreement stating he wouldn't for say a year and he did at 10 months......

    Rereading this I've concluded I'm thinking toooooo much......LOL