Concerning the Contract
I gave a few personal ideas about handling phone calls and inquires’ in my most recent blog, and want to finish up with a few related thoughts in this weeks column. I want to also take this opportunity to wish all our readers a very happy holiday season and a great 2013.
The contract is a very important item to any performer. Because it ensures that the gig will happen and you will get your check? No. However, it should make sure that you have all your booking details correct and that the business side is taken correctly taken care of. The contract is seldom going to ensure that the client lives up to his word and it is almost never going to be worth your while pursuing legal action if they don’t. You still need to handle it shrewdly.
The most important details to cover on your contract are
1 The date and approximate timing of the gig.
2 The exact contact details of your client.
3 The exact location and address of your gig.
4 Relevant details about expenses i.e. travel and hotel.
5 The duration of your performance.
6 Details of who to contact when you arrive on site.
7 Any special requests or requirements i.e. what is suitable wardrobe.
8 Details about your technical requirements. This will often include the email and phone contact for the AV team who will be in charge of the event.
9 Your technical requirements.
10 Exact details about your fee, including how, when and by whom it will be paid.
Most of the above is really self-explanatory, but let’s cover
the all-important tenth detail—your fee and how it is paid.
My personal rule of thumb is to ALWAYS require a 50% deposit to be returned with the contract to hold the date, and the remaining 50% to be paid prior to show time on the date of the booking. This is the way to cover your time and energy and insure that there are no last minute cancellations that leave you with no salary and a hole in your schedule.
The key phrasing is ‘50% to hold the date,’ that way if the date is cancelled or changed then you have half your fee to cover your efforts. I have only had a tiny percentage of clients express a problem with this, and if they have a problem then it tells me that I may have a problem down the line. If the date is changed then you can offer to apply the deposit to another booking if you are able to adjust your schedule.
The reason for the full payment prior to show time is so that you get your payment while you still have some leverage. Once you have performed the show then it is all too easy to find that you are placed on a ‘biling cycle’ and are waiting 30 or 60 days for a check. Entertainment is a cash upon delivery service—end of story.
You shouldn’t think of this kind of payment plan as being fussy, demanding or ‘out of line’ but simply correct business etiquette. Just state, in a friendly and matter of fact manner that this is the way you handle your bookings. The way you structure your payments is a much greater protection than anything else on your contract. If you are a professional than expect to be treated like one,
Accompanying your contract should be a technical rider that states exactly what you need supplied to fulfill your side of the contract. If you need a microphone, lighting or a place to set your props—then let the booker know about it in advance. Don’t arrive on site expecting to get anything you haven’t specified in advance, you might or then again you might not, why take a chance.
One contractual clause that has paid great benefits to me, relates to video assist during your show. A corporate client sometimes asks if they can use ‘I-mag’ to enhance your show or film the show for their corporate records. I never have a problem with this but always insist that am supplied with a copy of the tape. Here is your next potential promo tape, and if you don’t ask for it you won’t get it!
You can check out my product line, order items and check out cool videos on my website. I have been receiving rave reviews for my ‘Ultimate Linking Finger Ring Routine’ and ‘Cruise Magic 101.’ You can find my website at www.nicklewin.com