5 Event Contract Must-Haves to Protect Your Business

Written by | Event Marketing

Ensure That Terms and Services are Clear from the Start

As is often the case for jack-of-all trades integrated marketers, you probably find yourself at least occasionally tasked with event management including planning your event signage, determining whether to invite influencers, or developing a show floor promotional product strategy. But before you can begin to tackle these mammoth event management tasks, you will need to protect your planning with event contracts.

Regardless of the types of events you manage, contracts are the foundation upon which everything else is built. Clearly outlining expectations and responsibilities, contracts protect all parties from miscommunications or misunderstandings. The Balance recently put together a top five list of “Must Have” event contract inclusions to protect your business and those you contract with for the event.

Scope of Services
Spelling out what will and will not be included on either side of a contract in writing eliminates later confusion. Spelling out services to be performed by each party in “black and white”—from venue management and booking, to catering, on-site staffing, etc.—will help minimize mix-ups.

Payment Requirements
The event contract should include all terms for payment of service, from any required deposits to payment in case of cancellation (see below). The payment schedule may be structured by specific dates or milestones, but must plainly demonstrate when each payment is due, and the amount of each payment. In general, work is not performed until initial deposits are paid.

Event Cancellation
Don’t allow for any uncertainty if you or the other party has to cancel the event. The contract should include terms for cancellation including defining what constitutes a valid cancellation (anticipated low attendance, lack of funds, etc.) and protect the parties by establishing whether payments to-date are non-refundable, and whether all work performed up to the cancellation date will be paid in full.

Termination (Force Majeure) Clause
This clause (sometimes called the “Act of God” clause) allows for cancellation without liability in specific instances—oftentimes defined as extreme weather, labor stoppage, war, and acts of government. This passage is intended to protect integrated marketers, event managers, and/or other vendors from risks that arise from uncontrollable circumstances.

Indemnification Clause
An indemnification clause is standard in most contracts because it protects one party from the actions of the other. If the other party on your contract acts negligently in a way that significantly impacts your business or that of a third party, you will be protected from responsibility for losses, damages, liabilities or expenses.

An event contract is critical to the smooth running of an event. If you are tasked with managing events, be sure to stand firm on the terms of the agreement. Make sure that the areas above are all included and that you call out anything that is missing, or that makes you uncomfortable. Ensuring that the terms are fair and that your organization is receiving adequate protection from the start will prevent headaches down the road.

Last modified: September 21, 2017