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Am I obliged to tell clients which other clients I'm working for?

Discussion in 'Business and Contracts' started by Kat37, Jul 29, 2016.

  1. Kat37

    Kat37 New Member

    Hello, I need some advice when it comes to new clients. A bigger company has been in touch with me, asking if I would be interested in freelance work. I am currently freelancing for another company that is a direct
    competitor to the other company. I'm happy working for my existing client but obviously need to take on new clients too as I can't rely on just one source of income. Can a company demand that I tell them which other clients I am working for, if it is a direct competitor? Would appreciate your help on this matter! Thanks.
  2. Dynamoaccounts

    Dynamoaccounts New Member

    They'd be justifiably concerned about a potential conflict of interest and may ask for you to sign a contract to that effect, not work for a competitor, etc. However unless you sign such an agreement, you're not obliged to supply a list of clients, e.g. I wouldn't be allowed to provide you with a list of clients, even if some may well be in competition (possible, never know), I know there are other considerations but I'm sure you get the gist.
  3. Woodpig

    Woodpig New Member


    I would say that, unless you have a contract with either client which contains a competition clause, then you are not legally obliged. Lots of designers and illustrators will work for firms that are in competition - e.g. magazines, publishers - so I would think that a client would need to specifically request that you don't work for other firms in competition with them. This would be quite unusual, because it represents a restriction of your trade, and there are laws against that. It's different where you're working for a company as an employee (not freelance), where contracts often stipulate that you should not work for other companies in competition against the employer. But this would be quite unusual in freelancing, I think.

    If you think either company might be upset, then that's a different issue. You might want to keep on friendly terms for further work, so you might consider broaching it. But really, a client should take it as understood that a freelancer will take whatever work they want.

    Those are just my opinions, based on experience and common sense, so please take with a pinch of salt! Check any signed agreements that you have.

    All the best,

  4. Mark Lyons

    Mark Lyons Member

    It's really complicated. But I think if you work for both it will create problem for you. From my point of view you should work only for one client or it depends on your ability. If you can manage both projects you can take the new one.
  5. Lupita

    Lupita Member

  6. FrenchPress

    FrenchPress New Member

    You have no obligation. They cannot demand to know your other clients. They can ask you to sign a contract stating that you won't be working for competitors, but you never have to tell them about your client base. I personally have worked for competing clients before. I have never found it to be an issue. I do excellent work for both clients and deliver exactly what I said I would. I don't pit them against each other and have no investment in one over the other. But then again I guess this depends on the type of service that you are offering. If it is PR and Marketing, that can be a bit of a problem because it is promotion based and invested in brand development. I merely write content for them. Nothing that directly competes.

    I think most companies understand that as a freelancer you are working with multiple clients, just like most of them are. If they expect you to work for only them, or to have a say in who you can work for while you are working for them, then they need to offer you some pretty good financial incentive to have that say in your business.

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