Contracts…to Have or Not to Have?

Written by Tracy Park

Back in the day when I was starting out and designing was a hobby – there were no Internet savvy brides. I could just meet the bride to talk about her flower needs, get paid, deliver flowers to the church, and that was it. Boy, I and the times sure have changed! With the Internet, different types of flowers available, and more educated brides, I really needed to step back and take a look at the way I do business. I had to not only protect myself, but educate my customers about what could and will happen. I think I have made up 15 different contracts over the years – adding and deleting the things I learned along the way. Here are a few things I have learned – I hope you can take something away from it or even add to it too.

When I have talked to a bride at length about her designs, she tends to forget some of the major factors. That’s why I take good notes and make sure that when I send a quote off to her, she sees it in RED print. My contract talks about many things and I am sure I am still missing some important issues in it, BUT for me it covers all bases:

  • First ~ on the front page are spaces for her to fill in (i.e. date, times, address of both church and hall).
  • Baker’s name
  • Photographer’s name
  • Cell numbers, land line numbers and all the important info you should know ahead of time. I always think “what if?” What if something happened to me and someone else had to delivery the product? All that info is there for them to see.
  • I talk about flowers being a temporary product, and if, for some reason they are miss handled, left in the sun etc. what will happen to them.
  • Also, as an experienced designer, I have the right to change the product if by some chance the flowers come in damaged. We all know that acts of God are unforeseeable and things can occasionally happen.
  • Service Charge: The service charge includes delivery and set up of two (2) locations. This fee is subject to change due to additions or deletions of your order.
  • Retainer fees and Payments: This area is what I expect from my customer.
  • Changes: This applies to this contracted wedding if they make a lot of changes in dates, times, etc. then it is subject to my availability.
  • Cancellations: What happens when she cancels her event with me. Refunds, no refunds?
• Responsible Party: The person who signs the contact is the responsible party
  • Final Payment Due Date: For me it’s 15 days before the wedding or at the final meeting – which ever comes first.
  • Rentals: I have separate checks made out to me for all glass, candles, etc. the bride rents. If all glass and rentals are brought back in the same condition, then that check is returned. This makes it easy if something is broken, then I have money to replace it. The amount is up to you.

Another thing I have also learned is to type up something for the bride or her appointed person to sign (after you have delivered and set up the flowers) stating that the flowers were delivered and were in good condition before you leave! I always snap photos of my work before I leave a venue. Just in case there is a question.

These are just a few of my suggestions – but you can always add more. I know some larger event companies have wonderful contracts for those HUGE events. But, if you’re smaller like me and need to cover your bases, you really need something in writing to give to your bride, then there is no question on what is expected at both ends. I have really saved myself a lot of hassle at the point of delivery by having my contract on hand. If you have any questions please ask.