Moral or Immoral? Employees Stealing Customers…

Okay, so this is a GOOD one today.  And one that I’ve seen happen over and OVER and over again, and I still just can’t believe it all the way!  It’s such a HUGE risk trying to hustle your own employer out of their clients, not to mention an easy way to lose your job – my word… (and I know I’m using the word “stealing” here, but I swear I’m not trying to sway your opinion – it’s just the easiest way for me to explain what I’m talking about ;))

Remember how our water heater broke last week?  And we had that plumber come out and install a brand new one and all that?  Well, after talking bitching about it w/ some friends and family afterwards, one of them told me a story on what one of THEIR plumbers offered on the table last year when they had to get a new one installed.  Are you ready for this?

They said they could come back later that night and install it *on the side*, without going through their employer! For a $500 break!

Wowww… she said she never went ahead with it, and it actually got weird when he came back the next day to install it legitly since the company just sent him right back there, but still – people are hustlers! And not in the way we blog about here every month, haha…

But it really piqued my interest… What would *I* have done if our plumber guy had served this up on a platter to us?  $400 IS a nice chunk of change!!  I’m pretty sure I would have said no, but I’d be lying if I didn’t at least *think* about it for a hot couple seconds or so… that’s a lot of money saved for the exact same thing you’d be getting, cuz it’s not like it would be a totally different product or even service for that matter – all warranties would still be intact.

The Mrs. was quick to bring up some good points though, which would have definitely swayed me at that point for sure:

  1. How much can you trust the guy?  If he’s willing to rip off his own employer’s customers, how do you know he’s at all trustworthy? Even IF he does a killer job in the end?
  2. What happens if he got *hurt* on the job?  There’s no more liability or insurance stuff since it’s all off the clock, so would we get screwed over in the end if God forbid something happened to him.
  3. It’s ripping off the employer.  AKA small business which I, out of everyone, should understand (and backing up!) since I run my own here w/ my blog stuff and what not.  And I can tell you I’d be SUPER pissed if any of my contractors were jackin’ me behind my back!

So def. all great points here for sure. And in the end I don’t think I could do it even if I wanted to. Not only for all those reasons just discussed, but also for the fact I’d feel BAD every time I walked by it in the morning knowing I helped rip someone off :(  My conscience alone would be enough to drive me crazy, and I certainly don’t what THAT anytime soon, haha…

So my answer here would be a NO.  But it also got me thinking about all those OTHER workers out there that also do similar things, and if that changes the game at all? For example:

  1. Government workers who switch to “consulting.”  AKA the clients they had while working for the Gov’t ends up loving them, and wants to hire them on the side and cut the Gov’t out completely.  Or if the Gov’t still has the contract for X number of years, then you quit completely only to get re-hired back by them now as a contractor instead of employee. Though technically you do the exact same thing.  It  Happens alllllll the time here in DC, and people don’t bat an eye…
  2. Mechanics who use their employer’s garages to do their own work.  You drive your car in to get serviced, and the guy “hooks you up” and asks you to pay him directly in cash instead of going through the business.  This isn’t as common as that first example above, but I still hear of it happening every now and then. And the same with other service workers like at food joints or electronic stores, etc. It’s pretty crazy…

Now obviously if there’s an agreement in place, and both parties know it’s happening (like the mechanic situation above, where the employer grants you free access to their stuff since you work there) then all is good in the world.  There’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of perks when everyone knows what’s going on.  But here I’m really talking about the stuff that goes on *behind* the employers’ backs, which could get any grown man or woman fired if they were ever caught red-handed. Not to mention any legal stuff that could happen to YOU too by chance, for all I know?

So if YOU were presented with any of these kinds of offers we’re talkin’ about, what would you do?  Especially if it meant you saving hundred and hundreds of dollars like that water heater example above?  I’m super curious to know. And I swear I won’t judge! Feel free to even go anonymously below so you can keep it on the real. Cool? ;)

Just because I’m too chicken and a goody-goody, doesn’t mean the rest of the world is. So put it all out there, my friends! I’m crazy fascinated by this right now, and I wanna see just how common this is in your world or not… It takes all kinds, right?


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  1. Bonnie INC May 4, 2012 at 7:14 AM

    definitely immoral imho

  2. Call Me What You Want Even Cheap May 4, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    As tempting as it is to get something cheaper, it’s always good to ask yourself, what if you were the business owner how would you want your employee to treat you. Once you put yourself in the other persons shoes it’s often easier to decide what to do.

  3. Shawanda @ You Have More Than You Think May 4, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    Well, I know what I should do, but it’s tough. I definitely wouldn’t trust the guy who’d offer to come back and do the work under the table. Like your wife suggested, there’s too much risk involved. On the other hand, we met our family mechanic at an auto repair shop he worked for. It’s so hard to find a good mechanic and car repairs are so expensive, we just couldn’t pass up the offer. Our cars were older so we’d make relatively frequent trips to our mechanic. It’s not like a water heater that’ll last for decades (or however long their lifespan is). Over the years, car repairs really add up.

  4. David Hunter May 4, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    At first, I thought I be stupid not to take the plumber up on his offer, but you and the Mrs. bring up great points. The risk isn’t worth the reward.

    I guess it’s like someone cheating on their spouse with another person, but why would that person trust someone who’s cheating on their spouse?! It’s the same thing!

  5. C The Writer May 4, 2012 at 9:39 AM

    I think employers screw their employees constantly…and people do what they have to do to get by. A lot of people have kids and they have to feed them. I don’t have children myself but I know that people who do would lie, cheat, steal, and kill before they would let their kids suffer.

    It’s all too simple to look at something that someone does and say it’s wrong. Especially when you don’t know the situation.

  6. Melissa May 4, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    Whoa – such an interesting question! I would not take the plumber up on their offer, or any other type of service for that matter – I called the company, they are reputable, and I’d rather pay more for that kind of reliability than not. And as I’m cowering over here to admit, I’d also be that person who called the business owner and told them what their plumber offered me (please don’t throw stones).

    However… when it comes to more consulting-esque services, I have seen this work out nicely in the past for all parties. I would only do that with the blessing of the company, if I wanted to keep any type of relationship with them. I know that in most of the government examples you’ve indicated, they were aware and sometimes even suggests those types of changes. The line is absolutely drawn when it comes to “stealing” customers away from another business – I wouldn’t do that to save a buck, or want to do business with someone who takes that short-cut either.

  7. Kurt @ Money Counselor May 4, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    I think your friend did the right thing, J. I have to admit, I’m not averse to ‘sticking it to the man’ on occasion, but this plumber’s employer is likely a small business person who’s put his or her own money at risk, putting in tons of hours, taking on lots of stress, and gainfully employing several people. I don’t think it’s right to participate in what amounts to undercutting this employer’s hard work. Sure would discourage the heck out of me if I were his employer and learned about it.

  8. GB @ In Budgets We Trust May 4, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    I actually thought that mechanics and hair dressers were allowed to hustle on the side after they worked their normal business hours. Is that a misconception?

    I wouldn’t feel comfortable taking a plumber up on this offer. It’s awkward and just not moral. However, if he wanted to leave me a business card afterward for a legit and insured plumbing business he keeps on the side, I’d be all about it. :)

    I think the lines get blurred sometimes between moral and immoral. My mom is a CPA and claims that a small handful of former employers’ clients followed her as she changed jobs because they felt they had a better rapport with her than with the company… and it’s true because some of them invite her over for lunch or send gifts on the holidays. I’d do the same thing with my favorite esthetician… granted that she owns her own company, but if she were to go and work somewhere else, I’d totally follow her no matter where she ended up.

    1. Brad March 21, 2018 at 7:30 PM

      As an employer, I would have to fire the poor s.o.b. it bring me to the point of an electrical contractor recommends me to a client of his because I’m a handy man and they needed drywall work, I go and meet his customer discuss options and the customer finds out my I’m am an electrician also. So they proceed to ask be if I wanted to do the lighting as well. I refused on morals alone.

  9. AV May 4, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    I’m afraid I would have said “I’ll see you this evening”….That guy was probably getting paid 16 bucks an hour by his employer so he would get paid 30-40 bucks to do it on their time or make his entire week’s check in one evening doing it on his own. I don’t have a problem with this guy doing this as long as he doesn’t do it on the employer’s time. I think the bad karma comes back on him, not you for saving some pesos.
    Somebody will call the owner on this one of these days and this guy will get to run his own business after they fire him. I own a small business and I don’t like when I somehow get cut out of the loop but that is some monster savings! If one of my customers can get the same service for 400 buck less he needs to go with it. At the end of the day it’s about doing what’s best for you and your family (and your pocketbook). I have had to pay both plumbers and electricians for emergency work at my home and business and they get paid very nicely when it’s crunch time. I wish I had buddies in both professions that would come over and work for beverages. ;-)

  10. Stephanie May 4, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    The mechanic situation is actually what I do with my car! Except it’s technically all on the up and up. My mechanic’s father owns the garage and gave his son his blessing to use it for his side hustle. So he does regular work through his father’s garage during the day, and then takes on extra business during the evenings and weekends. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper than going to some random garage, plus I know the guy who’s working on my car (as opposed to him just being some random dude, and probably a different person each time), so I know he knows what he’s doing and I don’t have to worry about getting ripped off.

    But to do something like that behind your employer’s back? I wouldn’t trust someone who did that, because if your employer can’t trust you, why should I?

  11. duddes02 May 4, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    My old router fell off the back of the cable guys truck for 50% less :)

    I would defintely take up the offer if there wasn’t a huge risk involved!

  12. Good Cents Savings May 4, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Two different people I know made arrangements like you’re talking about and the people hired to do the jobs split long before they were completed never to be heard from again. And what can you do? No manager to call or BBB to complain to.

    But, I also know of a couple of contractors who do small jobs on the side on the weekends with the blessing of their employers. One guy even lets the employee use left over materials from the big jobs for his small on the side projects. I think it’s a great move because the big company probably doesn’t have much interest in the tiny jobs and now has a very loyal employee.

  13. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager May 4, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    Interesting idea. I think it’s a little sketchy that he suggested it while on the job. It would be different if you were talking about it with some friends and he suggested a guy who works for a plumber but does side gigs on his own for cheaper.

  14. Lance @ Money Life and More May 4, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    I personally wouldn’t take it but there are situations where I might take the deal in similary circumstances. For instance, if I was using a regular service and one specific employee of theirs provided my service and later that employee decided to leave the company and start their own business in the same field and gave me a better deal to switch to them I would probably switch if I was happy with their work.

  15. Deena Dollars May 4, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    My car broke down on a dirt road in Burlington, VT. It was making the worst noises I ever heard, so I limped it to the nearest place I could, and it was a Sears. In my experience, Sears rips people off on car stuff, and I am especially sensitive to this as a young woman who actually knows a few things about cars. (Imagine!)

    The awful sound was being caused by a rock on the dirt rode punching a hole through my rusty muffler. It was a Sunday, and they were going to have to sell me a brand new one for way more than I know a muffler for an old Dodge Neon should cost. I was going to have to do it, because what were my other options? I went outside to call my father to double check that I wasn’t overlooking an obvious solution, and the mechanic came outside and told me that he could fix it, since his shift was over, by fabricating a piece out of sheet metal to cover the hole.

    He said this would actually be okay for several thousand miles if needed, but there would obviously be no warrantee or anything because it wouldn’t be a factory part. Okay, fine, whatever. It saved me a lot of money, because I was able to drive it home to New Jersey. I turned it into an experiment – how long would his patch job hold & the car still pass emissions inspections and everything? So far, it has been years — my brother now drives the car, and the local mechanic even said there was no reason to replace the muffler because the job he did was so good.

    Somehow, ripping off Sears when they tried to rip me off first does not leave the same taste in my mouth as ripping off a small business, like you pointed out J$…. :)

  16. Mike May 4, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    We actually had an interesting situaion come up this week along the same lines. My wife hired a cleaning company a few months ago & they called to tell us they let our cleaning lady go for stealing clients. They were going to send a new one out for the next cleaning & we said that was fine.

    Well guess what, the new one did a horrible job & the company hasn’t followed up at all with good customer service to fix the problem. So my wife dug up the contact info for the fired lady & we’re giving her a chance. Its not even cheaper, but she did a good job for us & the cleaning company didnt.

  17. Shawna May 4, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    My boyfriend is actually a plumber who works for a bigger heating and cooling company. He actually loves the company but about twice a week he gets phone calls from people that we know, that told their friends that he works on plumbing or HVAC and they want him to install the water heater, fix their furnace or install an AC unit all on the cheap. He tries to refer them to the actually company but people don’t want to pay the big bucks or they don’t like the owners of the other small companies. While he doesn’t always participate in side work, many of the other guys do. It’s just part of the job industry. Almost everybody does it.

  18. Melissa@LittleHouseInTheValley May 4, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    I would have avoided the water heater scenario for the reasons you stated, and also because I am a bit paranoid. If I have some man I don’t know in my house, I want someone (i.e. the company) to know he is there so he can’t potentially harm me, or will be less likely to.

  19. Natalie May 4, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    I would let him install it on the side in a heartbeat! I think everyone participates in this kind of thing to an extent. Whether its taking your car over to your mechanic friend on his days off for an oil change you would have normally bought from the shop or hiring a free-lance graphic designer when you would have normally paid a large company to do the same thing. People are just rationalizing the incidents that are helpful to them and condemning the rest.
    I don’t view it as stealing from companies, rather that person has skills but lacks the trust factor legit businesses provide to their clients, thus they must make their services appealing in a different way i.e. lower cost.
    For example, my husband is a carpenter, he works for a company framing houses all day. I want a small shed put up in the backyard, probably an afternoon of work for him and its FREE, should I instead call his company and request they send a crew out?
    What it comes down to is what does the particular customer value more- saving some money or the trust factor (your values can shift depending on the circumstance). Many people have no choice but to go with the lower cost option and hope for the best, some just like to live their life like this.
    My opinion.

  20. Georgie May 4, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    When I was an undergrad, I worked at a writing center. We were allowed to help our friends or other students outside of the center, but only if we charged the recommended rate (which I think was $15/hour). This was because the writing center was free, so we’d be stealing customers if we also did it for free. But if we charged, we were just awesome.

  21. Brian May 4, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    I have had a couple of plumbers and HVAC folks offer to do this for me, but I have always turned them down. The cable man even offered to “hook me up” if I slipped him a $20. Didn’t see the point since I could “hook myself up” by breaking into the cable box at the apartment complex like so many other tenants did. I just don’t really need the bad karma.

    I have worked a couple jobs where I have actually had to sign agreements that I wouldn’t do this (most doing my seasonal gig doing taxes, because it would be “stealing”). Nothing really shocks me at this point.

  22. J. Money May 4, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    Thanks for all the comments/opinions guys – this makes it all so much more fun! :)

    @Call Me What You Want Even Cheap – Yeah, as a small biz owner myself I’d be pretty upset about it :(
    @Shawanda @ You Have More Than You Think – Def. a tough one… I agree great mechanics are hard to find!
    @David Hunter – Haha yeah, exactly ;)
    @C The Writer – True that. Though we’re all allowed to have our opinions :)
    @Kurt @ Money Counselor – Agreed! Still baffles me that people are so risky too!
    @Melissa – I think my wife would report him too, but I wouldn’t :) I’d feel too bad probably, if the guy trusted me enough to try and work out the deal (as odd as that sounds). Interesting to hear your thougts on it all though!
    @GB @ In Budgets We Trust – I def. think there ARE good perks in place like that for hair dressers/mechanics/etc, but the difference is *both sides* are aware of it there. In some of these examples only one side is ;)
    @AV – Haha… very interesting to hear from someone who owns their own business indeed! I liked reading this :) Would it change your mind if the guy was making a decent salary though, and just wanted *more* cash? I don’t know the situation all the way in this one, but wonder if it came off more greedy if it would change anything.
    @Stephanie – Oh yeah, THAT is hot!! When both sides are cool with it – you can’t beat that deal :) I’m jealous!!
    @duddes02 – Haha… you know yourself well :)
    @Good Cents Savings – Oh def, that’s GREAT of the employer to do! Very nice indeed. Who’d want to leave that job? :)
    @Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager – Exactly, totally different situations.
    @Lance @ Money Life and More – Agreed. I would too :)
    @Deena Dollars – You know, I’d say you were totally in the “okay” there too. Cuz you’re getting it fixed the way you would want anyways, over Sears way of the new muffler, and it was all outside company time. I think the guy could still get fired for it for taking away potential business, but I think I’d have done the exact same thing in your shoes. Cuz Sears couldn’t give you want you wanted to begin with. Well played!
    @Mike – Hah! There you go. And it’s better now that she’s on her own or working for whoever she does. Crazy how the lines get un-grayer as the situations change. I liked this one, thanks for telling us about it :)
    @Shawna – You know what though? I think that’s perfectly fine. They’re calling him directly person to person before reaching out to the company so it would all be on the side anyways (aka him working as himself who nows how to do things). I think that’s fair, cuz that company wouldn’t have gotten their business anyways – so he’s not being shady. Cuz if he was, that would mean none of us could do any side hustles just cuz we have a regular job. That wouldn’t be fair :) I do think your boyfriend has a good head on his shoulders for sure though.
    @Melissa@LittleHouseInTheValley – That’s true too! A great thing to keep in mind :) Though I guess he could still do whatever cuz it’s the same person who works from the company or who would do it on the side, haha… but yeah – great pt either way.
    @Natalie – A great opinion indeed :) And honestly, I have absolutely NO problem at all doing all that on the side. It’s only when you reach out to a company *first* to do a job, and then they try and snag you as customer righ from under them. I think it’s a completely different story than doing it on the side first. Or even having that person help you with future projects after that one is over. But we’re all allowed to have different views on it! :)
    @Georgie – Haha… well that’s a way to do it, I guess :)
    @Brian – People are always gonna do what they can to make a few extra bucks, that’s for sure.

  23. May 4, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    This reminds me of once when I worked in a liquor store and some delivery driver told me that he had an “extra” 10 cases of Heinekin on the truck that he’d let me have for half price–off the record–for cash. Tempting, but in a highly regulated business like alcohol, where everything was accounted for by monthly gallonage reports, I told him “no thanks” but made a mental note to count what he was bringing into our store very carefully in the future–because I suspected that his “extra” 10 cases might have been from shorting his previous 10 retail stops (like me) a case each. Glad to hear that your friend chose to do the plumbing job legitimately. Obviously it was unethical for the employee to circumvent his employeer, without whom contact with this customer would never have been made. Bottom line, if you’re desperate for money you can find many ways to rationalize stealing. And yes, stealing the customer is what the guy attempted to do so no apologies necessary for your choice of words.

  24. Sue May 4, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    I would be concerned about any warranties associated with the water heater, if it fell off a truck, who would back the work up?

  25. Marianne May 4, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    I’m all for the side hustle and we generally have handymen do work around our house if we are not doing something ourselves but I would not take this guy up on his offer (though I probably wouldn’t have called an actual plumbing company to begin with- again, we’re all about the less expensive handymen around here!). The big problem I have with this scenario is that he is using his employer to gain leads- leads that his employer paid for- and then he is going and checking out the job on his company’s tab- he is getting paid by his company to go and assess what is needed- then he is trying to steal the job from them?! I am sure this won’t go on for long. It is wrong on so many levels. I see nothing wrong with a plumber doing extra side jobs when he is outside of work but he needs to find a way to generate those leads for himself- what this guy’s doing is downright nasty. Then again, maybe his boss is a total jerk too in which case I might feel better about taking the guy up on the offer… :)

  26. LB May 5, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    It isn’t whether or not you should take the guy up on his offer, it is whether or not that employee should still work for that company. Seriously. If he is doing side business WHILE on the job with his employer, he is not earning his paycheck. I would fire him instantly.

    Now, on the other hand if a hair dresser, plumber, whatever was doing side business while not on the job, and getting paid for it, then he/she can do so for whatever reason unless they signed some sort of contract. Right. We all need extra side hustles.

  27. Darlene May 5, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    I heard something recently and it went kind of like this “If you have to ask yourself if something is wrong, then it probably is”

    I want to hire honest workers, because I have to trust that they are telling me the truth about the work they are doing. If they’ve already proven that they are not trustworthy, by attempting to steal the work from their employer, then I can’t trust them to be honest with me either. I would not hire them, and would be leery about having them come back ‘on the clock’ too.

  28. AV May 6, 2012 at 12:51 AM

    @J…..It wouldn’t bother me no matter what he was making now that I think about it. He has what you call a “Side Hustle” ;-) so I think it’s cool. I wouldn’t take a stolen hot water heater from the employer, but I would definitely go with the sweet price on installation. It’s not something you would brag to your preacher about but you would totally brag about it to your online money blog friends.

  29. Laura Brown May 7, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    Interestingly enough, this doesn’t happen to just small businesses and government agencies. The company I currently work for had this same problem – sales people stealing clients. Now look at the state of our company: lay-offs en masse over the past year or two, the company is still losing money at an incredible rate ($9M one year, $14M last year, and already a loss this year), and a company culture of back-stabbing and internal strife.

    I’m not saying it’s not okay to do a side hustle; I do one myself. It’s a matter of ethics. Don’t steal from your employer. Not only is it bad for them, it’s bad for you too.

  30. m1nts May 7, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    I work as a software engineer consultant at a *big* company. One time a customer asked me if I’d do my same job but as a hustle for them over a weekend, they’d fly me to their facilities and pay for my travel expenses. He even tried to convince me using the argument that I didn’t received even the half of what I bill them per hour (couple of hundreds) .. which is true.
    I didn’t go for it. I wasn’t and I’m still not willing to risk my job nor my reputation…

  31. J. Money May 8, 2012 at 9:31 AM

    @richard @ – Woahhh yeah he was DEF up to something! That’s hardcore, I wouldn’t have accepted it either – well done, sir.
    @Sue – Exactly! No one. Just like if he had slipped and fell and tried suing or something…. bleh.
    @Marianne – Haha, yeah you never know eh? But good point narrowing down the “lead” aspect here – much better way to explain it than I was trying to do above :)
    @Darlene – “If you have to ask yourself if something is wrong, then it probably is” – I like that!! And probably very true too! :)
    @AV – Haha… it does make for some pretty juicy blogging :)
    @Laura Brown – Amen sista!
    @m1nts – Wowww that takes some strength! Well done my friend, your employer would be so proud if they knew! Does it make you wonder about starting your own thing on the side though? Knowing you could get some contracts pretty easily, or not cuz you like the stability and all that? Def. interesting either way, appreciate you sharing your story.

  32. Thadeous May 17, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    I had to admit I have gone for this before. Only 4 months after I bought my first house Seattle had some of the worst rain storms in its recorded history. My basement flooded, we are talking ankle deep here. It wouldn’t have been so bad but my basement was fully finished with hard wood floors and I was renting the two bedrooms out. So I had to act quickly to get everything cleared up and restored.
    I needed to install new drains around the foundation of the house and that would require a back ho to dig out the old ones. The lowest estimate for the work came in at around $22k. This was on top of 4 rooms of new dry wall, paint, new hardwood and concrete flooring and fire place repair that had to be done. The total reconstruction cost was going to be close to $30k not the first year I was hoping to have in my new place.
    So I hired a company to put in new acid stained concrete floors in the downstairs kitchen and while they were working they informed me that they had a friend who would dig out my drains and install new ones for about $14k cheaper than the company I was going to use. It turns out that he did side jobs on the weekend to pay for a boat he had just bought. There was no way I was going to pass up a $14k savings so I jumped on it.
    When the guy showed up it turned out to be the guy who gave me the original estimate. I thought it was kinda odd at first, but he did awesome work, he even resealed the concrete foundations for free.
    I don’t think I would go with the “on the side jobs” for something like $500 but when it starts getting into the thousands I’m not gonna lose any sleep.

  33. J. Money May 18, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    woahhhhh what are the odds of that??? haha… wow. and I actually think I’d do the same thing there too, cuz it wasn’t like you were screwing over the same company that was out there doing the work – they just said they could hook you up cheaper w/ a friend. I’d have probably said yes too, in that case. The fact that it happened to be the same estimate guy from the other company is just freaky. And I guess then you have to make a final decision if you think it’s still okay, which of course you did.

    Def. an interesting one! Really sucks about all that damage to begin with though, that is horrible… sorry you had to deal with all that, bro :(

  34. Alecia October 1, 2012 at 11:43 PM

    Yes,I’m theownesof small cleaning team
    I had one like that in my team
    She stole our clients,she worked for them on the site until we found out(client asked for the discount which we offered at this time) she didn’t knew about it-client called us,turned out-client was paying cash,he didn’t knew that she is working there without our knowledge
    What’s if she broke something? What’s if she had an accident ?
    Who will be responsible for that? We!
    After she was fired she stated her own business under almost same name as ours,she had the addresses etc of our clients(where she was sended for previous appointments)
    We trained her from the bottom,she learn everything here!
    I had non compete contract signed by her- the hassle of going to the court is so no worth it
    It’s just how some people run they life….. I hope her Karma will find her one day :)

  35. J. Money October 3, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Yikes – sorry to hear :( Hope all your next employees are much better for you! :)

  36. Carmen November 7, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    The point is that the business owner in order to find that client, to make that phone ring;
    had to invest money, time and effort. I’m sorry but that is stealing! There’s an overhead that everybody
    is missing to talk about. Looking for the clients is the harder stuff.

  37. Carlitos December 13, 2016 at 9:57 PM

    Today Ed, Call me
    Ed, is a guy I’m doing work for some concrete work
    And he call me asking me for my carpenter foreman phone number
    So I ask what do you need ?
    he said well Tony is going to do some drywall for me so I was like ohh ok
    So I call Tony and I ask why he didn’t tell me
    And he said well you don’t do drywall
    so I said ok but that guy is my client
    And I felt you and him are running over me
    and he was no really happy because I confronted him

    At the end of the day I don’t care about the extra work is just about trust
    if that was me I would asked first even if he didn’t do that type of work.
    I didn’t like the fact that he didn’t mentioned.
    Sorry for my spelling!

    1. J. Money December 14, 2016 at 9:35 AM

      I think if it made you feel bad, then you did the right thing to bring it up :) And usually when the other person gets really defensive, it means they know it wasn’t the right way either. (though it also depends on *how* it was brought up too, so that part plays a huge role).

      Either way, hope things get better with you two – never fun to deal w/ situations like this :(

  38. Steve Samson May 6, 2017 at 10:58 AM

    while I was away from the job site for a little while my long term customer asked one of the employees if we did demolition also, he stated yes he did and proceeded to steal a lead from me. while I mainly do tree and crane service I also do these type of things and if not I pass it to someone that can represent my good name with standards I would expect and this employee could not do that since he only owns a Hurst and a Pickup but since he was new he said “it doesn’t say demo on the vehicles so I dint know” so he still claims he was right and felt no guilt or need to apologize and he proceeded to try and steal the 3500.00 dollar job from me anyway. what has happen to personal responsibility and owning up to being wrong?

  39. Tiara M Plummer December 8, 2017 at 3:48 PM

    Hey my name is tiara. I own a automotive shop Ive recebtly been through this whole ringer with an employee except he distroyed my whole business and reputation by purpsofully damaging 11 cars stealing thousands of dollars and my entire customer base on facebook.he also got me evicted from my shop by trash talking me to the leaser its called tortious interference.Im currebtly working with my insurence to prove he did this on purpose because the police say its hearsay. He literally worked for me for 31 days. Anyways point of this whole shabang is do all backround and even a credit check befor you hire someone.

    1. J. Money December 8, 2017 at 6:24 PM

      Ugh, all of that just sounds horrible, I’m sorry… what a nasty thing for someone to do :(

  40. JKN March 26, 2018 at 10:22 PM

    I am an employer and it happened to me and let me tell you, it stinks. People who don’t own the business don’t understand a hard-won client; it takes a long time and a lot of money and a lot of risk and anxiety to set up shop; it may seem like nothing to accept an “under the table” deal but it definitely kills small business. And it really makes it hard for employers to trust again. The employer would love to hear from the customer if this is ever happening.

    1. J. Money March 27, 2018 at 6:41 AM

      I believe it :(