Something in the world of floating have you stumped?
Float centers require a lot of upfront capital to get started up, and because of that it can feel like float centers should operate like big business, or perhaps bigger businesses than they actually are. Some centers may consider, at some point, having their employees sign non-compete clauses to prevent them from sharing trade secrets with competitors. Graham and Ashkahn have been at this for a while and express their opinions as to why this probably isn’t the most practical approach for your float center.
Listen to Just the Audio
Transcription of this episode… (in case you prefer reading)
Graham: Today’s question, “What’s your opinion on non-competes being mandatory for your employees?”
Ashkahn: Is that a thing? People at float centers or …
Graham: Well it’s a business thing. I don’t know if it’s necessarily a float center thing.
It’s the idea of non-competes is if you stop working at this float center, you can’t just go share all of their float secrets with the float center across town-
Graham: … when you get hired on, you know.
Ashkahn: Yeah, I guess I feel like maybe people have a bigger concern over right now, because float centers are so new in some areas.
Graham: Right, if you’re a barista at a coffee shop-
Ashkahn: Right, right.
Graham: … You don’t sign a non-compete saying you’re not gonna work at any coffee shops for a year if you get fired from this one, you know?
Ashkahn: And I guess that’s kinda how I’m thinking about it. To me it feels a little bit silly, because it feels more like the barista in the coffee shop example. Like, if you sign non-competes when you’re a high level consultant or working for some sort of real technical something or another, you know, when you could actually … You have some sort of proprietary information, that will allow you to go start … or you have a group of … a relationship with a bunch of customers or your clients or something, that you can take with you to theoretically start your own firm, whatever sort of business, right? Those are the areas are I feel like that non-competes have some significance, but non-competes just for like your employee or staff, like working in a shop feels …
Graham: A little extreme?
Ashkahn: It feels a little extreme to me, I guess.
Graham: So here’s … I’ve noticed that there’s a tendency, this is getting a little beyond the scope of this question specifically. But getting into running a business, especially something that costs as much money as a float tank center and you spend as much time setting up beforehand. I think there’s this instinct to try to act like a big business or try to do things like you’ve seen bigger businesses do and I’m not sure that’s the right way to kinda approach a lot of the decisions that have to be made at a float tank center level. So you hear about things, like non-competes or even when you’re talking to other people about your idea of setting up a float tank center, having them sign a non disclosure or something like that in order for them to kinda hear your float tank center in so-and-so city pitch. I don’t know, I don’t think that those are as necessary. Like Ashkahn was saying, these things are important for bigger businesses, because they’re trying to go public or they have investors, they actually have to take-
Ashkahn: Like bigger positions in a much more significant …
Graham: So yeah, maybe if you’re talking about a manager of your franchise. Like you have a float franchise and you’re hiring on-
Ashkahn: Kinda like your business partner you’re trying to bring on or something. That’s the scale I would start considering this is … I just feel like if you were to hire someone on off Craigslist for, you know, 12 bucks an hour and have them sign a non-compete thing, it’d be a little silly.
Graham: Also, our industry is so open in sharing anyway. It’s not like the float center across town is relying on the information from someone who worked at your float center. They can just kinda go on Float Collective and get information about a bunch of float centers open and a bunch of proprietary information. And it’s never really kinda been in the spirit of float tanks, I think to have a really tight control on that.
Ashkahn: I mean if you even consider the proprietary information that we’re talking about here. Because they’re not gonna randomly take all your customers with them to go open another float center.
Graham: Nor are they probably gonna open another float center themselves, I mean that’s a really long humongous process-
Ashkahn: That’s unlikely to begin with. So, what we’re talking about is you protecting yourself from someone opening up another float center where they already have construction knowledge and sanitation knowledge, I guess those are the most kinda technical things that they’d be taking with them. And if they were to open another float center, wouldn’t you want them to have construction knowledge and sanitation knowledge? It’s gonna be worse if another float center is next to you doing a horrible job running floats, and nothing is soundproof, and the sanitation’s all gross. So I gotta know, I don’t know, I guess I don’t know exactly what you’re protecting, other than just trying to stop someone who might be interested in opening a float center from opening one near you. But I don’t know, it just feels like such a slim situation.
Graham: Yeah, so there’s our opinion, don’t protect yourself at all, just kinda pull people on willy nilly.
Ashkahn: Yeah, that’s fine.
Graham: And honestly, I just think putting it in the context of, if someone’s working another retail job, they’re working at Macy’s and are you gonna have them sign a non-compete for not working at other retail places? Or anything like that. I don’t think that at that level, when you’re the one behind the counter checking people in that a non-compete is really appropriate.
Graham: And this comes from … We’ve had lots of employees leave our center and eventually find jobs at other float centers, sometimes nearby, either because they’re moving for school or whatever the reason. I mean, some we’ve fired and they’ve gotten jobs at other float tank centers and that’s still been fine, we’ve never seen any problems arise from it. So this is something we’ve actively been through and coming out the other side totally unscathed. I can say I’ve never felt the need for a non-compete.
Ashkahn: Yeah, I would agree with that.
Graham: So for further questions, go to floattanksolutions.com/podcast and send them our way.
Recent Podcast Episodes
This Tank Topic covers everything you need to know to get your e-mail on. You wanna know how long your e-mail newsletter should be and what topics you should cover? You wanna know how frequently to e-mail for special deals? You even wanna know how long your e-mails should have to be? You wanna know all these answers all at once? We freaking got you! I’m so glad you asked, cuz we literally just put this episode together. I’m really glad you’re gonna find it useful. Rock on, dude. Synchronicity!
This is a bit of breaking news for the float world. There was a clearly defined case of someone getting sick in a float tank and Graham and Ashkahn are here to tell you what you as a float center owner (or future owner) should know about it and the steps you can take to keep yourself informed on this issue and make sure you don’t repeat any of the same mistakes.
Graham and Ashkahn are here to fill you in on all the exciting updates to the Float Conference, now that it’s a non-profit, along with what to expect this year.
They’re hopping in quick to let everyone know what’s going on before early bird tickets close, so definitely check the link in the description if you haven’t got tickets yet!
So by now it’s old news that Chris and Donna Petrovics have closed up shop at ProFloat Inc. At Rise earlier this year, they gave an emotional, heartfelt farewell talk to the industry. There were tears, hugs, and words of love and encouragement all around.
This interview takes place immediately after their speech, and the effect of it still hangs in the air during our conversation. Be warned, this interview may make you misty eyed while listening. Although it’s possible that it’s just the chopped onions that exist in the background.
This Tank Topic is all about how to get startup funds for float centers and understanding the different avenues for funding as a whole. The guys talk about everything from bank loans to securing investors to funding everything yourself and what that looks like.
Latest Blog Posts
Summer may be coming to a close but we’ve still got Tank Topics to help you beat the heat.
This collection focuses on managing employees, so we share everything from what to look for when hiring, what orientation looks like, and how we at Float On have structured our management hierarchy. Also… Ashkahn likes socks, so send him some.
With the first industry run Float Conference right around the corner, we wanted to take a minute to talk about what we're excited about at Float Tank Solutions and Float Helm, since we're all gonna be there. This year is especially exciting for us, since...
The Float Conference has been the birthplace of many amazing things in the industry. It’s where Justin Feinstein met Colin Stanwell-Smith and together they designed the Float Lab at the Laureate Institute of Brain Research; it’s where Jeremy Warner got the inspiration...
Looking for something specific? Search our nearly 100 blog posts. Float On has been around for nearly 9 years, and in those 9 years, we’ve gone through lots of floors. Some have held up better than others. Some didn't hold up at all. At one point we tried putting...