What are reasonable terms for a non-compete contract?

July 19, 2016

Q: I live in a small town with two other nails-only salons that are not reputable and a lot of full-service salons that don’t do much with nails. I’ve been working for over six months now and just got asked to sign a non-compete contract. I’m curious about the terms of a normal non-compete agreement. The one they are asking me to sign is for three years with a 50 mile radius, which seems excessive.


<p>Erin Mindoro</p>

A: Legal parameters for non-compete agreements vary from state to state. For example, some states — such as California — will not enforce most non-compete agreements, even if the terms are reasonable. Other states — such as New York — will enforce most reasonable non-compete agreements. Generally, the interests of the employee and the employer are balanced in order to avoid enforcing an undue hardship on the employee’s right to earn a living, while still protecting the employer’s legitimate business interests. Courts typically consider balancing factors such as duration, location, and scope or extent of the non-compete.

Without knowing your state’s particular legal requirements or the full terms of your contract, at first glance it would seem that a three-year, 50-mile radius restriction could be too restrictive to be enforced, especially since there are only two other nail salons in town. You should contact a local attorney who can analyze your contract and assess its enforceability.   

— Erin Mindoro is an attorney with Berger Kahn ( in Irvine, Calif.

Read more about

How can I cut costs and finally make a profit?

I’ve been doing nails for almost two years and have built a decent clientele. The only problem is, I did the math and over 50% of my income is going back into nail products. I’m using top-of-the-line brands and disposable files. How can I cut costs and finally make a profit? I know our prices are too low as well, but we are trying to stay competitive. Any advice?

As a mobile tech, how do I ensure I get paid?

I have a question about working as a mobile tech. When clients book group events or nail parties, how do you go about getting deposits and payments? Have you ever traveled to a client’s house and they were unable to pay? What did you do?

What should I do differently with male clients?

I’m starting to get more and more male clients. I am wondering how long a manicure for a man should last and how to price it? Also do you have any recommendations on what else I can do to give them an extra masculine sense of comfort?

Should I Use Punch Cards?

I recently started working at a high-end salon and I’m looking for marketing ideas. Should I do punch cards? I can’t do “refer-a-friend” because I don’t have consistent clients yet. We are already doing social media.

Should I start requiring a nonrefundable deposit for special-time appointments?

I want to start requiring a nonrefundable deposit for special-time appointments. My posted hours are 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. by appointment only. I am ridiculously flexible with my schedule, and let people book earlier and later if they can’t get in during normal hours. Recently, I had a 7:30 a.m. no-show! She was supposed to get services totaling over $100, and I forfeited holiday plans to accommodate her. She comes every two weeks, so I can’t lose her, but this is the second time she’s no-showed. What should I do? And how would I go about informing current clients of the new policy on off-hour deposits? 

Load More