Event contracts are entered into between several parties, including business owners, vendors, suppliers, etc. Doing business can take time. You might have an agreement drafted now, but overtime, people often forget about the terms mentioned in that particular deal, or simply back out of the deal.

Therefore, it is important that a contract specify all of the applicable terms and conditions of your agreement to prevent future legal disputes. This includes details regarding timeframes, deadlines, payments, materials, and other important items.

What to Put in an Event Contract

There are several things to put in an event contract, including:

  • Scope of services
  • Cancellation terms and provisions
  • Payment schedule
  • Indemnification Clause
  • Termination clause

Scope of Services

The scope of services is simple – this is the service that is being offered from one party to another. While this section might seem very easy and straightforward, you want to ensure that you are specific as to what exact services are being offered. Therefore, you should not be general in this section, and should be very specific in what is expected. For example, when identifying the scope of service, you will need to identify the venue of where the service takes place, what exact services are expected, the deadline in which the services should be completed, and the goal or expected outcome of the services.

Cancellation Terms

At times, the contract might be cancelled. This is why it is important to have such terms included in the event contract. The cancellation clause provides that your business gets paid for all services and work that is already done, particularly if the contract is cancelled after you’ve already begun providing such services.

These terms also provide for certain events that result in a valid (or otherwise legal) cancellation, i.e. low to no attendance, damaged venue, medical reasons, etc.

Payment Schedule

It is important to set up payment details in your event contract. In the contract, the payment schedule should also identify the anticipated budget for the entire event. The budget could always be renegotiated throughout the duration of the event, which should be included in the contract and amended as appropriate.

You should also find out if your client wants to pay up front, or pay in installment plans over a specified period of time.

Indemnification Clause

This clause protects you from any legal suits that are brought against you due to negligence on the part of your client. Therefore, your client can’t hold you personally liable for injuries, damages, or any other type of loss sustained due to the actions taken by them. These clauses are pretty standard, and often have identical language.

Termination Clause

The termination clause is also referred to as the force majeure clause. It indicates that your event firm will be covered in the event that the contract is to be terminated due to an event beyond your control. Such events can include circumstances like weather – tornado, flood, hurricane, etc. This clause is put in place to give you the power to cancel services under these circumstances, particularly if you plan on overseeing an event outside. The following items must be identified in your termination clause:

  • A definition of a covered circumstance
  • Who has the power to cancel such services
  • What happens if the event does in fact occur, i.e. rescheduling the event, returning payments, etc.

If you forget to include a termination clause in your event contract, it is hard to know what could in fact happen if one of these events does occur. However, if this clause is not included, the parties are subject to the common law contract rules, specifically the doctrines of impracticability and frustration of purpose, which generally don’t result in an excuse of performance.

Strategies for Large Contracts

Strategies for entering into an event contract include the following:

  • Agreements that span a period of multiple years
  • Seek several bids
  • Read all of the details identified in the contract, as this is important, particularly if you are a client.
  • Try to negotiate the prior year’s rates. Remember that prices increase every year, so you want to see if the event firm will charge the same price that they charged the previous year
  • Don’t rush entering into a contract
  • Negotiate

If you need help drafting an event contract, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.