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Topic: Contract question - when is it needed?
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jun 14, 2016 12:10AM)
I use a one-page agreement, signed and counter signed, that spells out who, what, where and when. I use this with corporate clients, weddings and other higher-end shows.

For birthday parties, that come through Gig Masters, I just rely on the bid and acceptance on the GM platform.

In my view, asking a parent to sign a contract for a $300 birthday party seems excessive. Am I missing something here? Should I require a signed and countersigned agreement for all shows, regardless of the value of the show or the client?


Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Jun 14, 2016 07:44AM)
For children's birthday parties, I send a show confirmation letter. I don't require the customer to sign and return it.

For most of my other customers, I send a show contract and invoice. And I require the customer to sign and return the contract.

- Donald
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jun 14, 2016 09:51AM)
Thanks Donald. That is similar to what I do.

Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jun 15, 2016 01:55PM)
It is true, in years past that contracts for small events were not really needed. When I started in magic, $25 was the going birthday party fee. If they did not pay, as payment was told that the fee is paid immediately after the show, it was no big loss.

I think a agreement or contact for every show is the best policy. I got tired of the birthday party mother calling every few days to make sure I was still going to show up. A contact puts their minds at ease, and give them something concrete to know they can depend on you showing up for there special event.

There comes a point when a person has to become business minded. I understand, if you only do 2 shows a year, no big deal, but if it any kind of secondary income or your profession, then it is all business.

Don't like the word contract, then title is an agreement at the top of the page. Secondly, you have all the information needed to be at the show on time, and both parties each know their responsibilities.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jun 15, 2016 02:12PM)
I agree. Too many performers run their business form only their own point of view. Yes, in the example Bill gave above, you know you may only perform two times a year, but the client has an entirely different perception. They are trusting their needs and their event to you in exchange for payment. Regardless of the amount, it creates expectations and some level of proficiency or professionalsism. This is often created by several elements including a contract.

A contract (whether you call it a contact, agreement or confirmation) is for the benefit and protection of both parties. At it's most basic it states you will show up and perform (giving them peace of mind) and that you will get paid (your peace of mind). It also allows to detail any terms, conditions, times and requirements, again so you are both on the same page. It is a formal confirmation of agreement. In this day and age it is expected and rarely seen as a put off or detriment. If it is you haven't done your job establishing it properly.

This is also one of the steps to creating and executing a proper booking. It is a great way to establish you as legit or a professional, even if you only do one or two shows a year. If you feel otherwise, you are either likely missing the point or not understanding the full perspective and conducting business (which it is) as an entertainer in my book.
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jun 15, 2016 10:57PM)
Thanks guys.
I do have a standard written agreement that is countersigned for most of my work. Pretty sure a lawyer would call it a contract and also pretty sure they would want me to add more caveats.

I also require a deposit for every gig and call or email one week prior to every gig to reassure that I'll be there.

The exception are birthdays parities that come through gig masters or gig salad. Then there is a detailed proposal by me that is accepted by the client and a des posit is paid. It's on these gigs that I don't send out my one-page agreement and ask that the client countersign that document.

I do about 50 gigs a year, about 1/3 fall into this category.

All that said, it sounds like your recommendation is that I send out my one page for every gig, regardless of the source or the email trail. Correct?