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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have been pretty perturbed the las week over an issue with one of my employees. Here's the basic story and you can tell me if I'm right to be pissed.

So me and my dad are both contractors. My dad is a licensed plumber with his own business and I am a general contractor specializing in kitchen and bath remodels and custom tile work. Between the two of us we have a few as need helpers and one guy we keep busy full time. This guy has also been a friend of mine for quite a few years. Well last week he had someone at church (who we both know) ask him where he was working and he told them he worked for a plumber and a remodeler and she mentioned she wanted her bathroom remodeled. So instead of referring her to my business he decides to bid the job himself. He then spends the next week asking me a thousand questions about the job. He clearly isn't ready to take on a project like that with only one year of experience. I have held my tongue up to now. Then yesterday he told me he was going to see if my other part time employee wanted to help him with the job.

So I'm pissed that 1) he solicited his own work instead of mine to my client base essentially 2) that after sharing my trade secrets with him he is essentially competing with me in my field and 3) he threatens to take my other employees off into his own work.

Am I overreacting? I don't want to ruin a friendship but I'm pretty pissed he doesn't even realize that he is now a threat to the business I have worked hard to start.
 

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man up and tell him what you just wrote here. He's testing you to see how much he can get away with. Next, he will be asking to borrow your truck/tools/etc
 

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You could give him an ultimatum. Work for me or work for yourself. If he stays due to your threat he will resent you and sabotage your projects with small slights inefficiency and missed hours. If he leaves then your problem is over on to the next one. Also if you allow him to stay you will never trust him around your customers and you will spend a faor amount of energy and thought trying to control his access to your clients and your trade knowledge. Ultimately your relationship is already over.

One other thought. If you are secure in yourself you wont worry about losing customers to the other guy because you have the skills that other people need. Knowledge and reputation are all you need to stay in business.
 

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um....done....good luck bro, hope you stay busy as my competitor. you, my old friend, are outta here!

may sound harsh, but sounds like a slap in the face lack of respect kinda thing to me. I too would be pissed!!!

had to let a 20yr friendship go just last year when I caught him skimming and doing side work without me. Our arrangement was that we combined any/all work, and do them together, pay for fuel and materials, then split whats left. was a slow week, dropped in to go over some up coming work, when his wife tells me hes on the job that we bid the week before, that he said fell through to another contractor....YEA HIM!!!!

I know times are slow, but we were doing enough work to both make a living. fugger just got greedy. When I confronted him, he started back peddling...um, i , um....


**EDIT***
after reading the next two posts below me...great points. if the arrangement was just part time work from your part, hes gotta do what hes gotta do. but i think Id at least make sure his work alone is in no way associated with my business as you did mention him being pretty green...think I read your first post as he was an employee....had to go back and re-read
 

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Capra Aegagrus
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If you're keeping him busy full time, how is it that he has the time to go do that job?

Nothing you described in that post says that he stole your customer. As for enlisting the help of a part-timer, do you expect that guy to just sit at home doing nothing until you call him?

The free advice you gave him is on you. Nobody twisted your arm, and by giving him the advice you actually condoned what he's doing. Whose fault is that?
 

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it was his perogative to bid a job. You were in error for feeding him so much info. You should speak up about the use of your employee-assuming he's working for you guys.

I wouldn't be where I am now if I didn't strike out on my own-I never liked teaching guys and then find them go out, but that's the nature of go-getters.
 

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So I'm pissed that 1) he solicited his own work instead of mine to my client base essentially 2) that after sharing my trade secrets with him he is essentially competing with me in my field and 3) he threatens to take my other (part-time) employees off into his own work.
What are these trade secrets you refer to? What do you expect your part-time employees to do in their off hours?
 

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I have a younger guy that works for me. Nor only do I teach him carpentry and such I also tell him about business tips too. I want my employees to do better for themselves. If he leaves and goes off in his own I will be happy for him and happy that he is prepared to do so.
 

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Have Trowel, Do travel
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is there something wrong with an employee trying to branch out on his own?

do you own him?

didn't you branch out on your own, or you born with a contractors license.

or, do you feel threatened that one of your best employees will actually make it, and then you'll lose customers.

if this guy is truly a friend, then you should help him all you can. I'm ALWAYS looking for partners in this sea of ka-ka called construction.

IMO, Helping him you have only to gain in the end. It's the jesus thing to do
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just to clarify a little this guy is full-time like I said before between me and dad we keep him in steady full-time work. He is planning on taking time off to do this job.
Also I'm not upset if he wants to start his own gig I have taught him 90% of what he knows. I understand wanting to do your own thing but there needs to be a way doing that without crossing over my interests.
Also in not saying he stole a customer. I'm saying if he is going to solicite his own business when he is out how can I keep him working for me when he clearly isn't looking out for the best interest of my business. How do I know he won't try to underbid me.
And my other part timer can do what he wants I'm just frustrated that this guy acts like he has a right to use my tricks and advice and my employees for himself without thought to my interest
 

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I think there are a few factors to consider.

- how good of friends are you really? If you're good friends then you should be happy for him and be willing to help him out. I worked for a friend of mine.. Granted the plan from the start was that I would be going out on my own eventually. But I guess technically we are considered competitors but we don't really consider ourselves to be. We still call eachother if we are slow or need advice on a project whether it's bidding or procedure.

- I don't understand that if you're in the remodeling/bathroom Reno business and you have this guy as an employee, what area of business would you expect him to go into? You've trained him in these things of course he's not going to go out there and build a deck

- when I hire an employee I fully expect them to someday go out to do their own thing.

- he didn't steal your customer. This lady didn't come to him during work hours.

Don't get me wrong I can understand your frustration, timing probably isn't the greatest. But one thing I've been learning is I can't control what people do, just what I do.

I hope that if I were in you shoes and I had a friend working for me who was wanting to branch off on their own that I would support them. We have all been there at one point where we were the grunt and wanted to become the head honcho. So I think you should be able to appreciate his enthusiasm. I hope that I would say good luck and that if I had an opening still if things didn't pan out for him that he was welcomed back.
 

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Have Trowel, Do travel
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I'm saying if he is going to solicite his own business when he is out how can I keep him working for me when he clearly isn't looking out for the best interest of my business.
It's on you, to look out for your interests, not your employee.

As its on him to look out for his best interests.

If he is that good, work with him,
Give him a percentage of each job,(money is the best motivation to move your asz)

Make him want to make you money

Help him with his side jobs.

you have only to gain, if your really a friend.

That is the jesus talking

The opposite....

How dare him after all I did for him try to slide out from under me with a potential high paying client.

I taught him and nurtured him from a clumsy idiot to a quality craftsman, and this is how he repays me,
sticking it straight up my asz, with out not even the common courteously of a reach around.
I'll drive him back into that sheit hole i found him in,


their are many ways to handle it.
but only one right way

KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE, AND YOUR ENEMIES...ah you know the rest
 

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Just to clarify a little this guy is full-time like I said before between me and dad we keep him in steady full-time work. He is planning on taking time off to do this job.
Also I'm not upset if he wants to start his own gig I have taught him 90% of what he knows. I understand wanting to do your own thing but there needs to be a way doing that without crossing over my interests.
Also in not saying he stole a customer. I'm saying if he is going to solicite his own business when he is out how can I keep him working for me when he clearly isn't looking out for the best interest of my business. How do I know he won't try to underbid me.
And my other part timer can do what he wants I'm just frustrated that this guy acts like he has a right to use my tricks and advice and my employees for himself without thought to my interest
Waaaaait....is he an employee or a sub?

Is he taking vacation time to do this job? Did he approve the vacation time with you?

If he's a sub you should shut your mouth...if he's an employee he won't have a job to come back to after.

Nuff said.
 

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What you do on the side is your business. During regular work hours or time you have committed to as an hourly sub, you do side work-other jobs, you are no longer a benefit to the business. Do with that what you want, but that is what the OP is dancing around. Needs to decide how much of a benefit this 'employee' or 'sub' is going to be moving forward.


This whole deal smells of poorly communicated expectations or lack of policies as to what is and is not exceptable.

Some wet behind the ears brass balls to take a side job and then take off time from work to do it, ask questions how to do it...and it sounds like the OP knows about it or the employee told him. Then let it fester without addressing it directly with him. Sounds like two fools on that stool. Been there done that, ends badly, so I can say it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
He is an employee and not a sub. Maybe I'm getting too bent out of shape about it. The only reason I haven't said anything to him about it is because 1) I didn't want to react to fast and just be a jerk and 2) he is a friend and I hate to mess up a friendship and 3) there is a high probability the job will blow up in his face since he lacks the skills an experience to handle a project like this on his own.

It further complicated things because this job is for other people I know and I hate for them to screwed by a newbie who wants to charge pro prices without the qualifications to do the job right.
 

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He is an employee and not a sub. Maybe I'm getting too bent out of shape about it. The only reason I haven't said anything to him about it is because 1) I didn't want to react to fast and just be a jerk and 2) he is a friend and I hate to mess up a friendship and 3) there is a high probability the job will blow up in his face since he lacks the skills an experience to handle a project like this on his own.

It further complicated things because this job is for other people I know and I hate for them to screwed by a newbie who wants to charge pro prices without the qualifications to do the job right.
If an employee asked me for time off to do side work I'd take that as their resignation.
 
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