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Discussion Starter #1
Dear friends,


I'm just getting started as a solo performer playing with recorded accompaniment at wedding receptions and fancy birthday parties. I don't understand much about contracts and deposits, but I think I need to begin, to avoid getting stiffed. I would be grateful if you could share your opinions on the questions below.


Assuming the example of a four-hour wedding reception in Atlanta, charging about $125 per hour, these are my questions:


1. How far in advance is the minimum that you typically require for your customer to pay a deposit?


2. How much of a deposit is the minimum and the maximum that you would require?


3. Do you both sign duplicate contracts and each get a copy?


4. When does the customer typically pay the balance? a) days prior to the party? b) at the beginning of the party? c) at the end of the party?


5. Do you give the customer a receipt for the deposit and also a receipt for the balance paid?


As for the contract itself, I have another unrelated question:


What if you agree to play for four hours, but the party has lots of announcements on the agenda, such as speeches, a video, special numbers from a kid on a violin, a time where the newlyweds dance to a song for which they have their own recorded accompaniment, joke-telling time, games for the adults, and other similar events where it would be preferable for the saxophonist not to play. Are there typically any special arrangements that I should make about these things beforehand in the contract, or does my being present and on stand-by alone count just the same as play-time for which I am “hired” and paid?


Thank you so much for your answers to these questions.
 

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I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice. this info is a result of 20 yrs of doing weddings. 1. for a wedding, paid in full when they sign the contract. 2. see 1. 3. yes. 4. see 1. 5. when they pay, you write paid in full on their copy of the contract. on the contract, list what you charge for overtime, and that they will need to pay at that time... the times you agree to are the times you are there to play. If they take your time doing other things, that’s on them. always a good idea to go over this when you meet with them. if they want you to go past your time, they have to pay then. You can say all this very nicely, just be sure they understand that it is not negotiable. I know this might seem hard core, weddings can be a very emotional time. their expectations may be unrealistic. if everything is discussed, and in writing, it tends to minimize the issues that can occur.
 

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you have posted already questions about contracts , wouldn’t it be a better idea, instead of posting new questions which are going to get little attention, to keep it all together?



You can ask the moderators or administrators to merge your threads . Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
TO STAN:

Thank you so much, Stan. Excellent advice on those issues that you addressed.

In fact, they were not the answers that I had expected. I had had a hunch that the rich-and-famous musicians were able to collect full payment beforehand, and that the rest of us were not, but I see that you do, so either you are rich and famous, or you just have a different policy.

So, then, apparently you do not work with deposits at all, to reserve the date, and then meet the customer personally to sign the contract and pay the balance at a LATER date. Maybe I misunderstood you, but it seems that you are suggesting not to take deposits, but only to take full payment when the contract is signed.

This would suggest the following scenario: 1. the customer calls in February to ask if the musician is available for July 20th. 2. The musician says that he is, and tells the customer all of his contract guidelines and prices by phone, but does not require any deposit to reserve July 20th. 3. The musician says, "Meet me on April 21st to sign the contract, and bring the money with you." 4. April 21st they meet, sign duplicate contracts, musician gets full payment, customer just gets a receipt and a copy of the contract. 5. July 20th the musician shows up early, sets up, and plays.

Somehow this sounds a little shaky, since the musician is unable to schedule anything for July 20th, between February and April, since he still has no money and no signed contract yet, and yet is unsure whether the customer will show up on April 21st to sign the contract and pay in advance. In that case, it seems that Stan simply meets WELL in advance to sign the contract and receive payment, precluding the need for a deposit.


TO MILANDRO:

Yes, I would be happy to combine topics someday.

Looking back, my other thread was a bit verbose and goofy, so I would just as soon delete the whole thread (with due respect to the one man that responded to it).

But that thread was mainly to get a SAMPLE CONTRACT to analyze and modify for my own purposes, if that were possible. Although I did get off the subject, also.

The purpose of THIS thread is mainly to address the issue of the deposit, when to sign the contract, and when to pay the balance. I did not want to post new and unrelated questions below, on my other thread, because I my initial post was too long and verbose, and I did not want to put anyone through that just to read my new questions below. I thought it would be good to start a new thread (wish I could delete the other one).

Also, I thought that the forum was supposed to keep each thread limited to only one topic, as much as possible, and, while this is very hard to do, I continue to try, so I start a new thread when I realize that I am about to digress even further.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
In fact, some contract questions out there relate to band engagements, studio musicians, and other things, so I think that it would be preferable to keep one thread related only to "solo performance" contracts at private parties, community events, etc.
 

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Here's some very good guidance on musician contracts, albeit specific to Canadian members of AFM: https://prezi.com/view/w5bSvAxJEujh44U4jCZm/. I used to use contracts based on AFM materials a lot like these.

You may wish to consider payment in advance, or perhaps 50% in advance, for clients that have not engaged you before. Otherwise, if trust has been gained, you may wish to forgo that. In my opinion.
 

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TO STAN:

Thank you so much, Stan. Excellent advice on those issues that you addressed.

In fact, they were not the answers that I had expected. I had had a hunch that the rich-and-famous musicians were able to collect full payment beforehand, and that the rest of us were not, but I see that you do, so either you are rich and famous, or you just have a different policy.

So, then, apparently you do not work with deposits at all, to reserve the date, and then meet the customer personally to sign the contract and pay the balance at a LATER date. Maybe I misunderstood you, but it seems that you are suggesting not to take deposits, but only to take full payment when the contract is signed.

This would suggest the following scenario: 1. the customer calls in February to ask if the musician is available for July 20th. 2. The musician says that he is, and tells the customer all of his contract guidelines and prices by phone, but does not require any deposit to reserve July 20th. 3. The musician says, "Meet me on April 21st to sign the contract, and bring the money with you." 4. April 21st they meet, sign duplicate contracts, musician gets full payment, customer just gets a receipt and a copy of the contract. 5. July 20th the musician shows up early, sets up, and plays.

Somehow this sounds a little shaky, since the musician is unable to schedule anything for July 20th, between February and April, since he still has no money and no signed contract yet, and yet is unsure whether the customer will show up on April 21st to sign the contract and pay in advance. In that case, it seems that Stan simply meets WELL in advance to sign the contract and receive payment, precluding the need for a deposit.”

not sure how you got from feb to april....if they call in feb, meet them, sign the contract, get paid. if you really feel the need to take a deposit, make sure you get the balance BEFORE the wedding....all the other folks providing services, photographer, florist, caterer etc all get paid in full before the wedding. folks spend anywhere from 5k to over 100k for a wedding, your 500 is pocket change....
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The other guys get paid in full before the event? Wow. That, in itself, is enough reason to require payment in advance. Wonderful information, Stan. That explains a lot.

Thanks a million.
 
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