Contracts are widely used in the event booking industry. Our customer understands we have them, but do you truly understand the proper steps to take with the contract you’re sending them?
We deal with business owners every day, and they all understand they need to send a contract to the customer to secure the booking for the event. What’s surprising though, is the number of these owners who are great at the event, doing what they do best, but are completely not business-savvy.
There’s a ton of legalities with contracts, and we won’t get into them with this post, but we do need to stress the basics of HOW you should be sending that contract to the customer who is booking you. It’s not rocket science, but it is important to understand, and repeat for every client you are accepting a booking for. By following the same steps in the booking process, you will easily be able to know what stage in the booking the customer is at with you and their event. Keep in mind they are dealing with numerous vendors, and they can’t always keep all of them straight with where each of them is at.
Never, I repeat, NEVER…pre-sign a contract that you send to the customer to secure a booking. We have users ask about how to add a signature to their contract constantly, and we tell them all the same thing – “WHY??”.
Think about it. You are sending a customer a contract, with your signature only on it, agreeing that you’ll be at their event. Did you think about it, and why that is a huge no-no?
You’ve just committed yourself to the event without the customer doing the same. Even if they tell you they found somebody else, you have still legally bound yourself to it. They could decide they don’t need you, then come after you later claiming you signed a contract and never showed up, because you signed it.
It’s a “sue-happy” world, and these things happen all the time. Don’t get yourself in this situation, and it starts with an un-signed contract you send to them. Either you meet to mutually sign 2 copies, or you get their signature first, then sign and return a copy to them.
So what do we suggest for the steps you take when sending out a contract to secure a booking?
- Email the contract, or meet with the customer personally, with both signature places blank.
- When you receive the customer’s signature, return a copy that is also signed by you.
- Require a deposit or retainer when they return the contract, before you’ll sign it.
- Once you have their signature and deposit/retainer, set the booking as “confirmed”, then start the planning process (planning forms, to-do items for them, etc.)
These are steps you should take, no matter what industry you are in when dealing with a contract. When you practice this rule, you’ll always know what stage the tentative booking is at.