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I tried searching but after a few pages I gave up, didn't see anything that related.

My quintet played a Valentine's gig at a hotel and the hotel is taking their sweet time to pay us. Apparently the "check is in the mail" this week. I explained to the guys (I didn't book this one) that we should probably come up with a simple contract that explains what we expect and what they can expect in return from us.

Anyone have one they're currently using that you wouldn't mind sharing? Do you agree this is a reasonable thing to do for gigs in this day and age?
 

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I tried searching but after a few pages I gave up, didn't see anything that related.

My quintet played a Valentine's gig at a hotel and the hotel is taking their sweet time to pay us. Apparently the "check is in the mail" this week. I explained to the guys (I didn't book this one) that we should probably come up with a simple contract that explains what we expect and what they can expect in return from us.

Anyone have one they're currently using that you wouldn't mind sharing? Do you agree this is a reasonable thing to do for gigs in this day and age?
I can send you a few contracts - PM me your email address and I'll send them right over! And yes it's definitely reasonable, especially if there is an agreed upon price/length of performance/equipment use/etc beforehand.
 

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Same as Dave...... PM me your email addy and I'll send you what I use. It covers all of the bases, but to be honest, there's not much you can do except contact a lawyer. Even WITH a contract, I've had some people take their sweet a** time paying up. It all boils down to how much $$ is at stake, if it's worth pursuing, etc. Unfortunately, that's the reality of it.

John
 

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Yes - You need a good contract for private (copropate) gigs, weddings, festivals, concerts etc.

Not so much for bar / restaurant gigs - On those you just don't leave until you get paid or you will probably never get paid.
 

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Contract; don't leave home without it! Seriously, gig contracts range from the really simple to the elaborate depending on the venue and amount of money involved but you really should have a signed one in hand before working the gig. Actually, the lower you are on the 'totem pole' the more likely you are going to be shafted on a gig, so the necessity for the contract is really in inverse proportion to the amount of money involved. I work in a handful of bands and some of the gigs are at places where we know everybody and have worked for years, so there's really no need for it.
 

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...some of the gigs are at places where we know everybody and have worked for years, so there's really no need for it.
This is the case for the most part with my band. And with rare exceptions (see below) we are paid on the night of the gig, sometimes prior to playing and sometimes right after. So no contract is needed on those gigs.

Ironically, some of the gigs where a contract has been issued (by the venue) are where I've had to wait up to a month to get paid (in which case I pay the band members the night of the gig out of my pocket and then get the check 'in the mail'). Not a big deal and there is a contract, but I much prefer the less formal situation where you just get paid the night of the performance.

Of course any festival gig will have a contract, but they always seem to pay on the spot. Those contracts are more to make sure the band will show up and play on time.
 

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Some companies have policies for when they pay venders regardless. Larger ones issue payment only quarterly. If you're not ok with that, they'll find someone who is.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Some companies have policies for when they pay venders regardless. Larger ones issue payment only quarterly. If you're not ok with that, they'll find someone who is.
The contract should clarify that though. If we specify payment at night of show and they don't do that, then we can take it or leave it.
 

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The contract should clarify that though. If we specify payment at night of show and they don't do that, then we can take it or leave it.
Right. If you put it in the contract, then you would at least find out what their payment policy is, and you can make a decision accordingly. If you decide you do want the gig, despite the fact that this organization only issues checks to vendors on, say, the 1st and 15th of the month, then you can draw a line through the language about payment following the performance, write in the appropriate date, and have both parties initial it. Or you can say, "no dice, you need to cut the check in advance and pay us immediately following the performance." Either way, it's goo to have clarity.
 

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Yes, where the payment is mailed out at a later date, the venues I've encountered doing that have specified payment due within 30 days. And they always want an invoice (they have a book-keeper handling their accounts payable), so I put that due date on the invoice. It usually works ok. I see it as money in the bank, but when they are even a few days late (which they sometimes are) I start freaking out. Still, I've never been stiffed on a gig, ever, 'knock on wood.'
 

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Dear Friends,

I play at wedding receptions and parties alone, but I am only now starting to play for people outside my circle of friends and acquaintances, so only now am I starting to develop a contract and charge money. Consequently, the contract issue is all new to me. I have downloaded lots of sample contracts online (the generic ones which I will be happy to share with you all shortly, although some real contracts were posted online as well) and now I am using them as a model to develop my own, but I still have a few questions about what to include, and what not to include.

My next customer is just a young 28-year-old woman trying to plan a party for 180 guests at a Holiday Inn ballroom, and is getting me to play for the first two hours, but has a D.J. coming in to take over after that, presumably for dancing and so forth, at which point I leave.

1. I found in one contract that is routinely used by a group that provides sound equipment, lighting effects and music for parties. It includes a floating guarantee, in which the quality of the service is refundable to the point that the customer was not satisfied (e.g. if the music was good but the lighting was bad, they refund only the lighting portion; or if the first hour was good, but the DJ went to sleep during the second hour, they might refund only the DJ portion only for the second hour.)

Anyway, do you think that, in my case, I should omit all guarantees of any nature, or do you think I should include something like that in my generic contract, for wedding receptions and parties alone?

2. Do you think I should really include a clause obliging the customer to provide food and drink for my one-man show, or just leave it up to his discretion and take along my own granola bars? (Usually my wife goes with me and helps me set up, etc., so that would be two mouths to feed) Is it not tacky to include such a clause in the contract, in our case?

3. Do you think I should include the common clause that makes my customer responsible for any damage that he or any of his guests or other service providers at the party, might cause to my equipment? I mean, after all, in the case of this woman mentioned above, how can she be my bodyguard for two hours, while attending to her 180 guests, to keep her little nephew from chewing on my speaker cables or trying to grab one of my saxophones? Would it help my relationship with her or hurt it, to include that clause?

4. I have been asking for a 40% deposit weeks in advance, payable at the contract signing. Should I include in the contract that the balance be paid AFTER I perform or rather AT THE BEGINNING of my performance? Waht are the pros and cons of either form? Can I expect lots of rejection from future customers under those circumstances, or do you think that they will be happy to pay AT THE BEGINNING, provided that I show up and set up, do my sound checks and give the full impression that I am ready to perform?

5. If the party is PARTIALLY cancelled, like if I was hired for four hours, but the party fizzles out at three hours and the customer tells me I don't need to continue playing, should I insist (and include in the contract) that I be paid the full FOUR hours, or should I just be thankful for three and not insist on being paid for the fourth hour that I never played (assuming the case in which the balance due was not paid beforehand; otherwise, I guess the question would be whether to refund the fourth hour if the customer seems disappointed, etc.)?
 

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I can't speak for all, but I've never had a contract with a guarantee of performance quality. I certainly wouldn't sign one because the quality of the show is purely subjective. You could have your best night ever and still be told you suck.

My bands current contract includes food and drink, and specifies that it's the same or of equal quality as what the guests receive.

You should get paid for the full time contracted even if they stop early, and you should include your price to play additional hours in your contract as well.

I have always been paid after playing, both by venues and bandleaders.

Damage waivers are a sticky subject. My next gig was almost cancelled because the venue wanted us to pay for liability insurance for injury to the band members. While the insurance is only about $100, it caused some hassle. The promoter ended up covering the cost, but it's still a hassle you don't want. As for your gear - I'm not aware of any venues that will cover it, and even if you find one - you'll not likely find another. Insure your stuff - and be advised that your homeowners policy will not cover it if you gig with it.
 

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I found in one contract that is routinely used by a group that provides sound equipment, lighting effects and music for parties. It includes a floating guarantee, in which the quality of the service is refundable to the point that the customer was not satisfied (e.g. if the music was good but the lighting was bad, they refund only the lighting portion; or if the first hour was good, but the DJ went to sleep during the second hour, they might refund only the DJ portion only for the second hour.)

Anyway, do you think that, in my case, I should omit all guarantees of any nature, or do you think I should include something like that in my generic contract, for wedding receptions and parties alone?
Rules of thumb for contract drafting:

1. Include all provisions generally accepted as standard in the industry. Weight them as much as possible in favor of your position without making them so unbalanced that the other side will surely object.

2. Include any other provision that you desire that is favorable to your side, but be prepared for negotiation and/or rejection.

3. Do not include a provision that is favorable to the other side just because the idea has occurred to you. Let the other side propose the special provisions it wants.

I can think of no good reason for any performing artist to include a "quality guarantee" in a contract drafted by the artist. And if the other side suggested such a provision, the most that I think could be tolerable would be a "best efforts" or "best professional effort" clause. I.e., you won't get paid if you get drunk and pass out, but they can't hold back your money just because they don't like the music. If quality or taste is a potential issue, have the other side approve an audition tape in advance.
 

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Thank you, guys. I did not know whether these things were standard or not.

I appreciate the tips.

All additional suggestions from others on the forum will be very warmly received.

I am particularly concerned about the issue of having the customer pay the balance due before I even play, but after I arrive and finish setting up.

Some say that it is a safe way to avoid getting burned, since caterers and photographers apparently require full payment up front anyway, and since it is relatively little money compared to what they ask. Others say it is not the more respectful approach, as it requires the customer to pay before he even hears what he's paying for, and that it might be taken as a slight insult. What do you think?

Any other opinions from other people on that issue will be greatly appreciated.
 

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Another question:

What is a fair policy for the contract (in the context of my one-man band playing at wedding receptions) if the event is canceled a few weeks early, after the deposit is paid?

Just keep the deposit and let the rest go?
Require payment of 50% of what I would have received, had the event gone as planned?
 

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Same as Dave...... PM me your email addy and I'll send you what I use. It covers all of the bases, but to be honest, there's not much you can do except contact a lawyer. Even WITH a contract, I've had some people take their sweet a** time paying up. It all boils down to how much $$ is at stake, if it's worth pursuing, etc. Unfortunately, that's the reality of it.

John
Correct. This is where it pays to work on your "scary chops". Put one bad club owner on blast within your local musical community, and the rest learn pretty fast. It pays to talk to other musicians in your area to help learn the honest people from the schmucks. Cover your bases every way you can, but don't be afraid to get mean when doing everything right still doesn't work. Once you get tired of this, use an agent who does all of this for you.
 

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So, you are saying that I should require additional payment beyond the deposit?
 

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Another question:

What is a fair policy for the contract (in the context of my one-man band playing at wedding receptions) if the event is canceled a few weeks early, after the deposit is paid?

Just keep the deposit and let the rest go?
Require payment of 50% of what I would have received, had the event gone as planned?
Technically a contract is a contract. If the oyther party is in breech trhey owe you for remainder (after the deposit) unless you have aclause saying either thyey don't need to pay or they pay a percentage.

Collecting on that money will often mean going to small claim court but if the contract is tight and concise that should not be a problem.

However what is "fair" is totally up to you.

I would consider it fair to calim the entire fee in the event of a cancelleation, unless I maged to secure an alternative. That to me is fairer than claiming the entire fee for a gig I didn't do when i was perfectlay able to have time to get another gig on that night. I beleievt his is actially something i have seen in a union contract or in their policy in regard to helping in cases of cointarct breeches.

e.g.

  • Client agrees to pay a 50% deposit at time of taking the booking
  • Remaining 50% to be paid on the day of engagement, in advance of the performance.
  • In the event of a cancellation prior to the engageament, the 50% remainder must be paid on or before the date of the cancelled engagemnet. If the artist is able to secure an alternative engagement the 50% remaider is not payable.

Of course the complication here is if that alternative engagemnt falls through so better to word it something like this:

  • If the artist is able to secure an alternative engagement the remainder (50%) will be refunded.

I would be inclined to keep the deposit in return for all the hassle but that could also be included in a refund if you do get an alternative on the same night if you feel that is fine. The point of this to me is not to hammer somebody who breached a contract but to be fair and not find yourself out of pocket if you book a certain date and time, hence turn other work down, and then find you've lost that income from the booking.

One more thing, I would make it absolutely a part of the contract that you get adequate refreshments.

On the road we always had a rider that would include a hot meal and drinks.
 

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Thank you, Pete. Very kind of you to take the time to explain those things to me.
 
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