Q&A How can we stop freelancer from stealing our clients?

Q:      My wife and I run a physiotherapy clinic. Since the covid lockdown ended and we re-opened the clinic, our workload has increased considerably compared with what it was pre-covid. As this could possibly just be due to current pressures on the NHS and patients not wanting to wait for appointments, we don’t know want to take on a permanent member of staff yet, so we are thinking of taking on a freelance physio. How can we do this and protect our client list?

A:       The most successful way for any business owner to prevent a freelance worker from poaching their clients is to add one or more restrictive clauses into their contract.

There are a number of different types of restrictive clauses that can be written into an employee contract to protect your business interests. They include non-solicitation of clients; non-dealing with clients; non-compete and non-poaching of staff. Whilst these will not all be relevant to your business currently it is worth familiarising yourselves with all of them now, in case your business grows further and you go on to engage any more staff. You should however be mindful that it would be unwise to adopt the stance that ‘one contract fits all’. Every contract should ideally be specifically drafted to suit each particular employee role. Such clauses should also be limited to a certain amount of time and geographical area.

Whilst you cannot in reality stop an employee, freelance or permanent, from becoming a competitor, there is no doubt that carefully drafted restrictive covenants in your contracts are your best protection. The key is to ensure that they are both drafted and used properly. Getting legal advice and help to draw up an employment contract is the best way to make it enforceable.

This question has been answered by James Denton, a Solicitor with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.  Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194 

James Denton

James Denton

Solicitor

Solicitor in our Civil Litigation team in the Oswestry and Wrexham offices.