8 Clauses Every Event Planning Contract Needs
As an event planner, you’ll be working with a lot of different personalities in various stressful situations. Therefore, the most important thing you can do for your business (and career) is to protect yourself.
The industry knows this well – events don’t always go according to plan. The last thing you need is a lawsuit and an unsatisfied customer bad-mouthing you all over town. Your business won’t survive financially through a lawsuit, and your reputation will be shattered by a scathing online review!
So for your next event, be sure to include these 8 clauses – whether it’s for a client, venue, or vendor. And please have a lawyer look them over!
1. Payment Agreements
First and foremost, you need to outline the terms of your payments or pricing. A strict schedule and payment terms will save you a lot of heartache going forward. We don’t like to think about it, but there are people out there who will try to take advantage of your services when given the chance.
So be sure this is the first thing you agree upon – and write down – otherwise, you’re just wasting your time. Know your pricing structure, and work together with your clients to decide on dates and amounts for each payment. With your vendors or event venues, be sure you’re being treated fairly in terms of not paying too soon, and not being over-charged.
While you’re at it, outline the terms of your deposit policy. This will ensure you have enough funds to start planning the thing!
2. Cancellation Terms
If things don’t go according to plan and you or your client needs to cancel the event, you’ll be lost without this clause! Of course, this is one of the most common things found in an event planning contract.
Sometimes, circumstances warrant a cancellation and there’s nothing you can do. Rather than dealing with an inane client who doesn’t get that the show can’t go on, invoke this clause and leave it at that until further notice. You can only control so much!
3. Termination Policy
Similarly, you’ll also want to include a termination policy in your contract. It’s a bit different from a cancellation policy in terms of why you would invoke it. Say your client turns out to be a daredevil or is frivolous with money – you don’t want to be caught up in a mess if they are irresponsible. Termination policies allow you to pull out of an event when there’s evidence of negligent or reckless behavior.
Terminating an event with an unpredictable client can save your business in the long run!
4. Indemnification Clause
Plain and simple – you need to be protected from actions that are out of your control. Your job is to plan a successful event and arrange all the details on a timeline. However, you are NOT responsible for a guest that is acting silly or for a client that isn’t following safety regulations.
If a guest trips on wires from the DJ booth, your client will be the one liable for any injuries. On top of that, if you have a few rowdy guests who decide to mess up the washroom, you won’t be charged for the cost of repairs.
Saving yourself from injury lawsuits and reparations is a must when you’re planning events for other people!
5. Force Majeure
Ah, so you’ve arrived at the venue and find the whole banquet hall has flooded due to city construction. You’re not always covered by your cancellation policy – this is like the weather, it’s something that no one would even think of!
And that’s what this clause will help you with. It releases you from having to cancel an event when something out-of-the-blue happens. If there’s construction or wiring problems, or even a health hazard, you do not need to host the event – never put yourself or guests in a dangerous position.
6. Service Boundaries
Along with payments, this is one of the top things to concern yourself within your event contracts. You need to outline your services clearly and in detail. This is one area where things cannot be left open to interpretation by your client.
Outline your services and agree on what they will be paying for. Then, describe your responsibilities and duties for each service so both parties know exactly what you will be doing. And most importantly: stick to it!
7. Uninterrupted Use
Properties and buildings sell all the time, and they will sell fast if there’s potential for profit! Outdoor wedding venues might plan landscape work that ends up behind schedule, and a church might be renovating its basement – both where you were planning your client’s dream day!
How do you avoid these disasters? An uninterrupted use of facilities clause. This means you are getting the venue that you first set foot in – no ifs, ands, or buts.
8. Photo Release
A simple way to release yourself from liability of using photos in your portfolio or for your business. You won’t always need this – most photographers are happy to help out event planners – but keep it in the back of your mind. If you feel like you’re planning a fantastic event and want to take your own photos, it might be worth having a release with either the venue or your clients. It just gives you that extra sigh of relief once the event is over!
Once your event contract is airtight, go through it by yourself and then with your client to make sure everything is agreed upon. Be ready to spend some time editing and adding clauses – your reputation as an event planner depends on it!