Originally Posted by tmoney101
It may cost you more money to not work for your client's competitors. I say that because it sounds to me like this client is a bread and butter client and may have dominance of your time? If I am wrong then just understand what I am saying is only a suggestion. Working for his competitors keeps you in business. That is something that ultimately your client doesn't worry about, i.e., keeping you in business. If it ever comes a time that he is no longer able to pay for your services, you may find yourself without work. So unless he is able to pay you enough to make up for that loss then why should he stand in the way of you taking on other competitors?
I just had this happen for probably the 5th time so far this year. We have a rule of thumb not to cross certain boundaries when working with clients, for instance a Dentist based downtown Seattle should have a certain radius from their zip code that we won't market ourselves in, but not the entire city simply for the fact that they don't server the entire city.
Same goes for other industries: we have a catering company that doesn't want us to sell our services to other caterers in the entire city but the fact of the matter is they each have their own market and niche, and to be honest it really shouldn't matter if we're creating effective marketing for more than one player in each segment of a certain area: if our clients are good at what they do they will build a specific type of product or service and get their own following.
People have their favorite pizzerias, for instance -I like Pizzeria Fondi but i still occasionally grab a Round Table. They're both 'pizza' but very different...just like your competitor/clients!
Asking your client that has been with you for long time about this will be a good idea. This will, You might be allowed, so that means, you may get the work from both parties. I feel, every one has issue with this matter, but being sincere to all of our clients, by respecting client's privacy and not sharing such informations from one party to another is just fine.
i think its important to agree on what-not-to-disclose. one obvious thing is that you will always meet your client's competitors. imagine if you are so good (even if you dont have a portfolio list) that someone spreads word of your services.
does this then mean u should not follow up on leads that come from the competitors?
what happens if/when the marketing manager (say) u were working with moves to another company which is a competitor, was impressed by your service and wants to engage you? do you lose business because of your good reputation? something we all work very hard to achieve?
now imagine being into advertising and branding, someone sees just an ad in the press, is impressed, reads that tiny little referrence and follows it up to your company...would you not accept them because they are a competitor? I'm sure u can think of it in a more creative way and argue that there will always be competitors and competitors are probably the first people u make an impression on after the target client? what would an architect do if his work is world-renowned and other competing contractors or businesses want to engage him?
I would expressly stress to the competitor that we will focus on their brand and not duplicating what has already been done on the competitor's website. I doubt your client would agree 4 u to service their competitor if you told them though. there is only so much you can do on a website that does not duplicate what's already there on the net. If the competitor forgot an "About Us" page, and saw they needed it, would it be a crime to include it? lol, i know thats too simplistic an example. The key thing is not to disclose or tell them how u implemented your first client's website. I am assuming that the items you can duplicate have to do with value added services like a heavy backend for clients or something. If its a case of design / layout or anything look and feel, then you can be creative and pull off something different.
Your first loyalty should be to your existing client - speak to them prior to taking on work with their competitor - honestly is the best policy ;)
I disagree. The OP's clients should not have any concern other than getting what they paid for. The OP is not obliged to allow his clients to dictate who he does business with. How he runs his business is none of his clients' business unless his practices negatively affects the product/service that they paid for. As long as he practices strict confidentiality then this shouldn't be an issue. I don't see why he should have to basically ask for permission from one client if he can do business with another client or to even tell them who he does/intends to do business with. It's a ridiculous notion.
Lets say I specialize in realestate websites, should I be tied to the first realestate agent I work for? Not at all, I would go broke. likewise if I specialized in hotel websites.
Just look at it this way, you specialize in websites and if someone needs one it is your job to build it.
If you were to build a hotel, realestate, restaurant, and furniture store website and would not work for the competition, you would soon run out of different types of websites you could build.
:D Well said.
Originally Posted by lorenw
To the OP:
You have a living to earn. Quit worrying and do what you need to do to earn it! :)
Yes and let me add in, 'because your client's not going to do it for you.'
Originally Posted by Silver Firefly
I have worked for a number of competing businesses for many years now. It's never been raised as an issue. Rather, the clients continue to come to me because we have a specialism in their industry/field.
I say 'go for it' but only you can sure of whether it's right or wrong for your particular business.