5 Things You Need to Know BEFORE You Sign That Contract

Many times in our society, everyone is more than willing to sue another person or business for things that may not have went as they had planned. Has this happened to you or are you worried it may in the future? Before planning that next big event, make sure you fully understand everything that is laid out in that contract so you are educated and aware of what may lie ahead! 

1. Know Who You're Contracting With

When planning events, there are things that may be subcontracted out to other people at a resort or conference center and you may not even know. So what happens if something goes wrong? Make sure you are well aware of who all of the parties involved are, and everyone’s responsibilities once the contract is signed. 

Also, make sure you are contracting with the correct names. For example, if you’re contracting with a vendor to help with your next event or are getting ready to sign with a resort that is going to be all-inclusive and take care of everything for you, make sure you do not list yourself by name individually as the party to the contract, but instead use the name of your business or who you are contracting the event on behalf of. If you use your individual name, you could be held liable to a vendor or business for any occurrences that did not go as agreed upon under that contract. 

Another smart move when knowing who you are contracting with is to make sure they are licensed to do business in the state you are looking to hold your next event. If there is an issue later on that needs to be resolved, there could be legal issues that you wouldn’t be able to act upon because they weren’t properly registered in the first place. 

Don’t find yourself in the middle of a legal battle and make sure you are 100% sure you know who your contract is dealing with!

2. Details, Details, Details

Always make sure that the contract clearly states what the agreement is going to be. What is each party going to do and when will they do it? When is payment expected to be made; before or after the event? When are services considered rendered and the event provisions are no longer provided by a vendor? Make sure there is a well-drafted contract to provide clear details, instructions, and expectations on both sides. There should be no wiggle room for outside interpretation and nothing should be ambiguous! This means even going so far as to put specific dates, times, and locations into the contract. 

Also consider any pricing issues that you’ll need to figure out. Who is getting paid and when are they getting paid? Make sure it is clear when money is due and how it is expected to be paid. Make it as easy as possible for everyone to fully understand what is expected!

If ever in doubt, have your lawyer review a contract before you sign it. You always want to make sure things are as they appear and you won’t be taken advantage of!

3. Define What Happens If There Is A Default

Always make sure that anything you sign clearly outlines what will happen when one party of the contract doesn’t hold their end of the deal. More times than not, people always intend to provide the goods and services that they agree upon when the contract is first signed, but sometimes things get in the way of having that actually happen. When this occurs during a major conference or event that you’ve set up, it can have disastrous consequences. So what will happen?

Make sure the contract specifically states how an unfulfilled term in the contract will be remedied and how the dispute would be resolved. If something appears like it will be difficult to determine how to resolve, you may want to look into having a contract that specifies an amount, agreed upon by both parties in advance, that will be paid if something were to default.

On the other hand, including something such as an “out clause" may help you avoid dealing with default if there has been continued poor performance or lack of proper handling of items happening on a regular basis before your event. It’s best to nip something in the bud early on in the relationship rather than find out while the event is in full swing!

4. Include Clauses To Help Agree On Items

Including some contractual clauses before the contract is signed will help you deal with some key issues up front. Who will be responsible for attorney fees if something were to happen? Should you include a Binding Clause that prevents any oral agreements outside of the contract to hold up in court, unless it is in writing and signed by both parties?

5. Feel Free To Negotiate

You may not even think about negotiating the terms in a contract you may be presented with, but there is always some negotiating power when you are looking to book your next event or conference. The venue wants your group to be there as much as you’d like to have your group there. So if there are things in the contract that you don’t like, just ask for it to be changed. You may be surprised how often the other party will agree to a change, or at the very least, meet you in the middle. 

You never know unless you try!

Overall, contracts can be exhausting and stressful. You never know what you may wind up with and sometimes it can be more than you bargained for! Protect yourself and use these five tips to help you know exactly what to do before you sign on the dotted line!