An event planning contract is a critical document in your business as it turns a prospect into a paying client. So you must understand when the best moment is to introduce your contract while maintaining a healthy relationship with prospects.
To understand when you should use your event management contract, let’s quickly breakdown a standard client intake process:
Let’s highlight step 4: send a proposal. After consulting with a prospective client about their event, it’s best practice to send them a proposal that highlights all of the ways in which you can help create the best possible event.
However, a proposal on its own is not enough to secure a new client. That’s why it’s always a good idea to include a copy of your event planning contract with your proposal.
Your potential client is already excited to hear about your proposal, so you can balance the feeling of endless possibilities of this event project, with concrete terms and conditions to show that you mean business.
You can also use the contract as a reference document to follow up on clients who are still deciding whether they should move forward with your services. All you have to do is ask, “I’m just touching base to see if you had any specific questions about my contract?”
It’s at this point the client may want to seek clarity or express some concerns. Any dialogue from the client is gold, as it allows you to get on the same page and increase your chances of securing the job.
Even though we’ve created a simple event planning contract template (Word document), we’ve identified three best practices to get the most out of your agreement.
Getting super clear about your services offerings before putting pen to paper in your contract is an absolute MUST.
One of the most painful experiences you can have as an events coordinator is where a client keeps asking for you to do more than what was initially agreed on. This can quickly build tension and resentment in the relationship.
So to mitigate this risk, map out exactly what you’ll be offering and then add that to your contract for your client to review and sign. It just means that if your client wants to venture outside the scope of the project, you can refer back to your agreement to remind your client that they’re going out of scope.
Setting expectations of an events project with a client also means you have to learn to scope out projects accurately upfront. The key here is to get to know your client and all of the nitty-gritty details before proceeding.
Ask clarifying questions and communicate barriers early and often. At least then, you give yourself a chance of reducing scope creep.
Depending on the size of an events job, you may change your approach to your payment terms. For example, you may ask for a deposit, all upfront, or a payment schedule.
Think about how you want to structure your payment terms based on the needs of your business while also remaining competitive in the events marketplace.
For instance, you may require upfront payment for jobs under $5,000 and a 20% deposit on jobs over $5,000.
You also want to tie your payment terms into your cancellation policy, which brings us to the next point.
So much of the success of your events business hinges on how you manage cancellations. Events are typically planned months in advance, and clients will change their mind for whatever reason.
The math is simple. The more cancellations you have, the more business you lose. Not only do you lose client fees, but you waste time contacting your vendors to take your event off their books.
Your goal should be to reduce your cancellation rate as much as possible. You can also use your contract as protection against cancellations.
For instance, you may state that clients can cancel the contract at any time; however, if they cancel within a specific period, they’re not entitled to a refund. Having clients sign off on this clause will make them think twice about canceling your event, thus reducing cancellations in your business.