Discouraging employees doing jobs "next door" without me knowing

How do you prevent your window cleaners from doing jobs on their own ( pocketing the money ) when approached by neighbours of your customers? I offer 10% ( of the sale ) commission to them if work comes in from them giving my card out or doing extra work if time allows that day for a new client. I know they take on this extra work as I am sure it is super tempting to take. I see them very occasionally doing it that day or on a Sunday. They usually get all their work done and probably only take on more work if they have time, on their own time. My guys own their own vehicles so I can’t put a tracker on their car. In eavestrough cleaning season we get approached by neighbours almost every day so when one of my guys doesn’t report new business in a week I know something is up/fishy. Even my best guys do it but they are so good and valuable that I just turn a blind eye to it. Ideas?

I don’t know. Perhaps have employees sign some sort of a non-compete form? A business attorney may be able to help with that.


I think you already have you’re answer.
“Even my best guys do it but they are so good and valuable that I just turn a blind eye to it.”


Maybe you could send ads to the neighbors shortly before the job. Then, if your guys are wearing uniforms, they’ll associate them with you and hopefully go through the official channel? Just an idea.

I second the non-compete clause


Are these people employees or contractors? If they truly are contractors, then they can grab whatever jobs they find. If they are truly employees, then you should take a stand.

The wording you chose in your question reveals the issue. You have tolerated this practice so your employees do it. Do you want to “discourage” the practice or do you want to “prohibit” the practice? You are entitled to prohibit your employees taking advantage of the marketing and equipment that you have paid for by stealing some of the work it generates for themselves.


i would up their workload considerably. they need to be so weary the last thing theyd want to do is extra work at days end . start a big marketing campaign tomorrow


Charge em a percentage for the use of your equipment, etc. If they are working under your name it may cause liability issues for the company of something goes wrong.



  1. Make sure that they know if they’re doing jobs outside of your work, that they are not covered by insurance in case they damage something and they are definitely not covered by workman’s comp.

  2. Offer a bonus of $25 (cash) for every new account they bring you.

  3. Offer a $100 gift card to the restaurant/store of their choice at the end of each month. The person with the most new jobs, wins the prize.

  4. As an added bonus, that person also gets choice of jobs as they come up for the next month. That $1000 house that takes 60 minutes? That’s theirs.

  5. Keep a chart of who’s getting the new jobs. So they can see who is in the lead.

  6. At the end of the year, whoever has the most new jobs, gets $500.

Not all people are motivated by cash money so come up with something competitive.


Sounds like a difficult issue. Is there anything in your employee systems forbidding the practice? If not then update that and roll it out.

Maybe have a team meeting. Tell them you know it is happening and you want it to stop. Have them sign a non compete with language stating that embezzlement will be prosecuted.

Just throwing it out there, but if it continues you can fire the worst offender and press charges. That would send a strong message.

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Let’s not forget that that extra under the table income makes it possible for them to make ends meet. Great job with “benefits”


And THIS is why a direct discussion should be had. If any want to go on their own you shouldn’t be supporting their possible takeover. Just a thought to ponder.

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Sounds like you need an employee guide that you make each sign and agree to when they are hired that specifically states that they can’t do this on your time.


You don’t know that this extra “stolen” money (that is what we are discussing here) is required to make ends meet. They are taking advantage of their employer’s investment in marketing and equipment plus selling for themselves, not the employer who is paying them, on company time, and keeping all of the money. That is theft and should not be condoned.


I hear ya. I wonder how his top guys view the arrangement?


Just wondering, what do they get paid per hour? How big is their payed vacation? Any sick days or payed holidays? Medical benefits? And how much for mileage? Please tell me it’s more than .55 a mile.

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the op still has not identified the ACTUAL relationship he has with these “employees” . full disclosure on their compensation, resposibilties etc.

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The employee gets approx. 50% of the sales using his own car and ladders. The other employees are subcontractors earning again approx. 50%. The employee gets stat holiday pay. There are no sick days or medical benefits for any of them.

Instead of taking a restrictive approach, why not take a proactive approach?

Namely, what if we were to outline from day one, that the nature of this business is that we are really training people to start their own business someday?

So, explain that fact and that, if they ever decided they wanted to start their own, we already have a system in place to help them with that. We would love to keep them forever, but is that realistic?

Instead of fighting against the current, why not flow with it?