I just started my business as a florist and event designer. I am about to create my first contract between my client and myself. Could you please tell me as what should I include in my contract based upon your experience?
Congratulations upon securing your first job. Each state has different laws and varies on the nature of the business. I am willing to share quite a few important points that I learnt over the years by making mistakes and working on challenges that comes with every business growth but do not interpret my suggestions as a legal advice. I would strongly suggest that you hire a business attorney who could assist you based upon your needs.
1. Make sure to include all parties name and address, yours and your client. This sounds very obvious, but if you omit either, the contract is worth zero.
2. You must use the language which is simple and easy to interpret by all parties involved. I would highly suggest segmenting the contract into individual units so that it is easily understood by all parties.
3. Try to use specific number such as delivery by 15th of August instead of writing mid-month.
4. Your contract should specify A NONREFUNDABLE retainer. Remember, you do not have a job, until you receive the money.
5. Whenever possible, list dates and mode of payment whether it be through cash, check or credit. Contract disputes often center on money, so you’ll want to be as specific as possible.
A very clear payment schedule that I thought is useful.
a. Deposit due upon verbal agreement (followed by contract)
b. 50% of the total due once both parties agreed upon pricing listing services or deliverables in the contract.
c. 50% of the remaining balance due 2 weeks prior to the event.
Keep in mind that this last one should be non negotiable.
6. The contract must include a clause, stating that the client is responsible for any unforeseen and additional add ons.
7. You must include a clause that give you and your business the exclusive right to photograph the job, and use it for your future promotion, either in print or on your social media platforms including your website. Again, this should be non negotiable.
8. Do not forget to add confidentiality clause as that binds the other party from disclosing your business information or information included in the contract to other parties.
9. Last but not the least_Yet the obvious. Both parties listed on contract should sign the document. Else contract is worthless without both parties signature.
In my experience some clients might question non refundable retainer, or paying the balance in full 2 weeks prior to the event. But writing a business contract that protects your interests’ while balancing your business objectives is very critical to your business’ success no matter how many days or years you have been in business. My advice to any new business owner; make sure to deliver even better than what the contract or verbal agreement states to keep on going.
Is your contract similar, if Yes then mostly what your clients object to?