Monday, January 4, 2016

Why Should You Have A Wedding Contract and What Are the Requirements

I learned that I should produce a wedding contract not from a supplier but from a bride. Since I was a newbie, then, I consulted my peers who had the same experience and they helped me come about with a good draft. Over the course of time, I have drafted and made revisions of my past contracts from my own experience as well as the advice of the veterans that I have worked with.

A contract isn't just a piece of paper with your signatures. Much like your contract when you sign up for employment, it states the agreement between the vendor and the client in black and white, in an organized way, so we don't have to dig up old texts or emails or recall phone conversations for added details. It states everything there who are the parties involved, what the event is, and every detail needed. It also serves as protection for both parties when something goes wrong.

I'm not a lawyer or did I graduate from a business degree but I wrote this post with all artists in mind and based on my own experience in dealing with clients, most especially weddings or big projects like TVCs, movies, production shoots, etc.  With the format, like I said earlier, there are formats and templates that can be found online or if you can ask your makeup artist or photographer friends to send you a draft and base it from there.

What projects are exempted from contracts?

For personal hair and makeup (hair and makeup for one head attending an event like a party or dinner), I usually don't request for a contract. However, for big events like bridal makeup, TV shoot, commercials, movies, or corporate accounts, that's when I bring out a contract. If you're dealing with corporate, chances are, the client would be the one drafting the contract apart from the non-disclosure agreements and clauses you would have to sign.

Also, even if the bride is your best friend, high school kabarkada, neighbor, daughter of your mom's friend, cousin, or even your sister, you still need a contract. Bridal makeup is still a business. You also need that contract to keep in file later on. Trust me, you will need it. I have had gigs that were contract-less because I went by with "she's a friend anyway, so no need" only for me to be cancelled too easily. Also, doing makeup for someone close to you often involves a discount and that discount should be stipulate as well.

Don't worry, there are ways for a contract to be less scary. You can fix the words (but of course still keep it formal), or in my case, I use colored paper and I have a fun logo. For fun, I sometimes make my contract scented or use purple ink.

So, what are included in the contract? These cover the basics. Of course, other suppliers may have other parts, but this is in the point of a makeup artist, and also from my own personal experience

The name of both parties

This includes you (identified as makeup artist. If you must have a team, you can indicate you and team), and the clients (bride and groom and/or client representative, if the couple is abroad and the person you are dealing with happens to be their close friend or relative). The email address and the contact information of both parties can be included as well. What I do is that I make them fill up a client information sheet which contains their full names and contact information as well as the contact information of their other suppliers like coordinator, photographer, videographer, etc.

Details of the event

What would the event be (i.e.) wedding. The exact place, date, and call time, If the couple would employ your services other than the wedding but related to that event (for example, a prenup shoot or boudoir shoot), it should also be included. Just in case, include the clause that should there be changes on the details of the event, the client should notify the makeup artist immediately. We don't want anyone knocking on the wrong hotel room in the wrong hotel that's on the other end of Metro Manila, right?

The total cost of the service.

This is what's important. Aside from noting the cost of your service, itemize what the package includes. If the package is airbrush for all or just for the bride, how many heads, etc. Note if it includes a second look before the reception or just until the hotel preps. Also, if they decide to include a few more people aside from the package, indicate the additional costs and when they should be paid. This also goes for additional costs for added hours of work, added service, out-of-town, etc.

Downpayments and Payment schedule

Wedding makeup artists are one of the cheapest (if not the cheapest) wedding suppliers in a wedding. Still, their fees are big money and sometimes, plunking the entire thing hurts. So we give payment schedules. For most makeup artists and vendors, we require a 30-50% downpayment to seal the date. It's like telling us, "Okay, we're gonna get you. Here's a lot of money.  Block that date." Also, there are vendors that need the downpayment to be able to purchase materials, pay their staff, account for miscellaneous expenses, etc. In my case, I require a 50% downpayment to seal and block off the date completely, like a "I would totally show up in your wedding and make you so gorgeous" a month or two before the wedding, depends on when I was booked. For clients that book me a month before their wedding, two weeks. Also, include terms of payment, if you accept cash, credit, or check.

I'm very OC with payment schedules. and I really follow up on my downpayment. I know that the couple is serious in booking me so I should also do my part and show up and not take any more jobs that day. I definitely know that the couple will not flake on me because they just gave me big money, and a portion of it is still unused.  If I have not received the amount of the  downpayment required to block my date, that means you are not serious about getting my services and if there's another sure job for me that day, I will get that job. No downpayment, no MUA. Gets?

As a protection, suppliers make their downpayments nonrefundable. I have this policy as well. If you share the nonrefundable downpayment policy, indicate it in your contract.

In this part, include the payment schedule and the amount required. If the client has paid a portion of the package, note it in the contract and as to what date the payment has been made. Include a copy of the receipt as well. You will never know if you need to produce documentation so it pays to be OC.

Publication/Model Release

A bridal work is also part of our portfolio. The model release gives us permission to be able to use the bridal photos in our portfolio, blogs, and social media accounts, whether from the official photographer or from our own camera phones.  We're also proud of what we have done and we want to showcase that as well.

Cancellation Clause

I super duper hate clients that just disappear into mid-air. Those clients who say they will book you after trial makeup and then reserve you and then weeks before the wedding just disappear and not give you any updates.Although some say the client "disappearing" implies a cancellation, we are not mind readers and we still need something written, okay? Unless they were abducted by aliens,  fell into a coma, or got hit by a lightsaber, a written cancellation via email or print hand-delivered to the studio or SMS message is needed to formalize cancellation because we will not knock on all doors of the hotel to look for you only to find out that we were cancelled on. Some suppliers take your word up to the very date of your event.

I had a discussion on cancellation on how some brides prefer the line of least resistance to just pretend to be abducted by aliens or to pull the alibi of a generous relative with a surprise gift being a very popular. Uhm guys, just as brides have a network, we also do, and we're not stupid. Cancellation is not good news to us, but we would rather hear that you got someone else to do your makeup rather than not hearing from you at all and making us do the guesswork if we're pushing through or not.

At the same time, if it's the MUA's  turn to cancel because of an unforseen event, the cancellation clause would protect the bride as well from not having a MuA that day of her wedding as she stares blankly in shock wearing her robe as to where her MUA has gone. Should a good MUA cancel, they would even go to the extent of offering a very good referral at par with your standards so no need to search for directories or do random searches online. If no referral is available, we may refund the unused portion of your downpayment.

Basically, a cancellation clause implies one thing: No flaking. This is actually one of the basic principles of business right? I would actually write a post on cancellation and all that shnizz.  Saving that bitchiness for a later date.

Depending on the suppliers, they may also have an additional clauses, these pretty much sums up what most MUAs have. Some contracts may include an indemnity clause, which exampts the client for any injuries, damage, or whatever. Meaning, if I broke my wrist from blowdrying,  I can't put the blame on the client.

A contract isn't two pieces of paper stapled together with a string of words and signatures in it. It stats the agreement in black and white between two parties, which is a serious agreement. It protects both parties to make sure the business runs smoothly.

Oh, and keep two copies of your contract. One to be given to the client, one for you. And during the date of the event, bring all documents necessary.

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