ERPNext Consulting issue

This may be a strange question but I wanted to get a feeling how others deal with this problem I have.

A customer I just started implementing ERPNext has asked me to be “Exclusive” with his company in his industry.
Of course I would never share trade secrets of a customer OR give anyone any of his data.
We will do some customization to ERPNext for him.
He asked that I should refuse to work with his competition.

Have any of you had such a request and how did you deal with it?


First, make a calculation of your potential market size for the period of the exclusivity and how certain you to get them.
Then compare that with your benefit (revenue) from being exclusive with this one client.
If you decide to go exclusive, calculate your opportunity cost (the opportunity you will lose when going exclusive) and try to get compensation on that.

Of course, this is only the monetary point of view. You might also want to balance the non-monetary benefit as well.

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I have been asked this question by a client in the past.

I refused to sign on for being exclusive to one client in the industry. The client passed on our proposal and we subsequently setup a system for one of his competitors without such restrictions. The first business owner eventually signed with SAP Small Business division and has not performed well in his own industry. He is being out paced by almost all of his competitors.

Does this mean that it would work the same for similar situation? Probably not.

However, for my own business, I refuse to be exclusive to any other client within an industry. It is just not good business practice (in my opinion).

I once took a course in specifically selling “services” many years ago. I remember one lesson from that old course very well. It went something like this:

If a client asks you to be an exclusive provider of services in an any industry, then you should be on alert! It usually indicates the client is not very sure of his own business skills and is trying to cover his own fear by projecting a superior self image that he thinks he can use to squash others. It is rare that the person is actually as good as they try to project.

So, unless they are Amazon, Goodyear, the Government, or some other top 50 businesses in the world, I would steer clear of such agreements.

Old school business training from 35 years ago still servers me well.

As always,

Your mileage may vary! :sunglasses:



As others noted above, a lot depends on the industry. If a very specific, clearly defined market? You may be okay.

I have done this before. One key to success is being honest and transparent about what everyone truly wants/expects out of this arrangement.

  • I had many discussions/emails with my client. What did they really want? Specifically, what were there concerns? What situations/events were they trying to prevent?
  • Likewise, I shared my concerns. I explained that sometimes, the things I invent, I want to become open-source. Other times, keep proprietary, but jointly own rights with the client.

With honesty and good discussions, we understood each others intents. For every project, we made sure to discuss and identify:

  1. Work that is the solely owned, private property of the Client. This Work is protected, and should never, ever be shared with competitors.

  2. Work that we feel can become open source, and free to use for Planet Earth.

  3. Work we share the rights to. Maybe we’ll resell it later. Maybe we won’t. But it’s neither open-source or protected Work.

Also, think about setting some expiration dates. So if you do agree to a non-compete in, let’s say the Hotel industry, set an expiration for N years.


I have a friend doing consulting for a single customer since 6 years ago and still going
It’s a Fortune 500 retail company using other ERP application
So yes, it’s possible

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Thank you all for sharing your knowledge and experience!


Sounds like your friend is a very well paid staff.

Nothing wrong with that. Just a good idea to know what you really are.