Do you really read a contract when you sign it? I mean really read it? Many people do and some people don't...oops! We all know we should, of course! And then, there are the instances where we read it, I mean really read it, but maybe we don't know what everything means. Or, we read it, but in that moment, we can't really process how these little things might impact us, so we pay them little mind, right? Until one day they do actually impact your life and you are pulling that contract back out thinking "wait a minute, was that in the contract?"
Some items to take note of when signing vendor contracts...
Vendor meals, travel and parking
It is fairly standard that if a vendor is spending 6-10 hours at your event, they would expect to be fed (and it is proper etiquette to do so), however, some vendors have specific meal requests written into their contracts. Some will only eat hot meals, not "vendor" meals, for example. Paying for vendors to park while working your event or to travel to your event are also pretty standard. But sometimes it is written into a contract and sometimes it isn't. Just make sure you are aware of what extra costs you might accrue.
When you have to tell a caterer, a calligrapher or a florist how many people might be in attendance at your event, you want to make sure that number isn't set in stone. You obviously won't know your exact numbers until close to the date of your event. However some contracts will allow you to increase your number, but not to decrease it from the original quote you gave them. Make sure you have flexibility in your contract to make changes to your numbers.
Service Fees and Gratuity
We talked about this on the blog last week, so we won't go into too much detail here. But some contracts have a service fee, some don't. If your contract does not include a service fee or your service fee does not 100% go to the service staff, you might want to add gratuity. Some transportation companies will also add gratuity and some will not. You also want to make sure what is included in your bottom line.
Taxes, Shipping and Labor
These seem like small things that can really add up at the end of the day. Do you have to pay additional costs to have your escort cards shipped to you from the calligrapher on top of the quote you were given to have them made? If you want to have someone from the florist stay after set up so that they can move your ceremony flowers into the reception, is that an additional labor cost? What exactly on your contract is taxable?