Event planning contracts are what some consider to be “the necessary evil” required when finalizing details between the client and the services provider. However, all too often, the contract is something that is left until the very end and, even then, it’s dealt with such haste that many things get overlooked. I’ve worked with many companies that use a border plate template for their event planning contract. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. However, there are crucial areas that should be addressed first and foremost when entering into a contract for services.
A Good Event Planning Template Will Also Include Key Contract Items
Contracts are like marriages. You usually don’t look at all of the particulars until something goes wrong. Like a divorce for a married couple. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be sure that you’re crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s when completing the terms of your contract. Then, hopefully, it’ll be like a good marriage and you’ll never have to look at the contract again. However, in the unfortunate event that things don’t go as planned, a good negotiated contract upfront could be the make or break difference for you.
Three Tips, or Key Items, to Consider for Your Event Planning Contract
Like your event planning template, your contract is a border plate where you can add particulars for each client. However, regardless of your boilerplate, there are key areas that you should always ensure are being properly addressed.
We turned to a couple of law firms to find out what they considered to be the more important elements of an event planning contract. For this post were going to cover three key items.
Expectations. Make sure that the goods and/or services for which you are contracting are outlined properly on your contract. For example, what are your minimum expectations from the event. You would be surprised how many contracts that I have reviewed over my career and an event could simply be stated as “an off-site dinner at XYZ venue”. While it is correct that you are contracting for an off-site dinner, you better make it pretty clear what your minimum expectations are for that event. And then make sure that that is included in your contract.
Financial. You might think that this one is a no-brainer but quite often the amount of money and when it’s due is quite vague on a contract. It is imperative that the event planner knows from its suppliers how much is due, and when, for the contracted event. Once, as a supplier, I had to rely on this clause in our contract. You see, the meeting planner that I was working with didn’t have enough funds to give me to secure an off-site event. Even though I had clearly marked the due dates for deposits in my contract, she didn’t feel that she needed to provide the funds by those dates. Well, to make a long story short, she ended up providing me with her personal credit card to secure the deposit. It wasn’t that I was trying to play hardball, rather, the venue in question had another interested party.
Integration Clause. This tip is more of a legal term. Basically an integration clause states the intentions of both the client and the service provider. While on the onset it sounds pretty simple, an integration clause can have a dramatic impact on a contract. If an integration clause exists in your event planning contract then you had better make sure that the contract covers everything about the event(s) that was discussed between the client and the supplier. If you end up using a court to settle a dispute you’ll not be able to enter as evidence anything that was not covered in the integration clause.
Like an event planning template, and event planning contract is an important part of the planning process. All too often the contract is one of the most overlooked tasks. I tend to think of contracts like marriages – if everything is going well then there is no need to go back and review the details of your agreement. But, it’s when things go sour that contracts come into light. And for that reason you had better make sure that you took the time at the beginning of your relationship to make sure all of the what-ifs were addressed.
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