5 Important Things to Clarify Before Signing a Contract

Signing ContractYou've done your due diligence, scoped out what the client requires and identified a resort, event venue, or supplier that you feel fits the bill. Now, before signing on the dotted line, here are 5 important things to double check.

  1. Double check that your client's expectations of the hotel packages and meal plans, and what the venue offers, are in sync.
    Some hotel packages are truly all-inclusive and others cover meals but no snacks. Still others include soft drinks, wine with dinner, but no other alcohol. (With respect to alcohol, clarify if all brands are included or just call brands.) It is really important to ensure that what the resort or hotel offers dovetails with what a client expects and that there are no surprises.
  2. Clarify all taxes and incidentals (e.g. private event fees, set-up fees, and resort fees).
    These can really add up and put you well over budget.
  3. Double check all deadlines dates for release of rooms, cancellation of services, and due dates for guarantees.
  4. Ensure that you are clear about the venue's attrition policy or a supplier's cancellation policy, including last-minute cancellations and no-shows.
    These need to be clearly documented in writing and communicated to the client before entering into any agreements. Be sure that how much notice is required for cancellation is clearly specified in all contracts.
  5. Be sure that you are clear about exactly what is required in order to receive a commission.
    There is nothing worse than working hard on an event and then discovering that it will be difficult or impossible to collect your commission. Perhaps regulations have changed. Maybe you need an IATA or TIDS number to qualify for commissions.

    Some destinations now have reciprocal tax agreements and you may have to provide documentation like a Certification of U.S. Tax Residency or Certificate of Residency (Canada). This can take up to 10 weeks and lots of red tape.

By taking the time to review these 5 items, misunderstandings can be avoided and all parties to a contract can be clear about expectations.

Be sure to also check out 10 Tips for Preparing an Event Budget with No SurprisesEvent Budgeting: 9 Tips for Avoiding Sticker Shock and 10 Reminders for Hassle Free Foreign Meetings.

Photo Credit: Jason Saul

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