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By Mindy Dutka


Contract Guidelines
When negotiating a contract, there are a few important details that are often overlooked. Review these suggestions to help get the most out of your contracts.

12. Try to negotiate a "no deposit" clause in the contract. If that isn't possible, try to reduce the deposit amount and try to make it as close to the event date as possible. Then put the money into an interest-bearing account until it is needed.
13. Remember to always look at all the options. Never limit your supplier or vendor options to just one company. Once a vendor believes he or she is your only choice, the price goes up.
14. Discuss your event history with the companies you are working with and develop long term relationships that may result in volume discounts.
15. Always communicate the value of your business and prepare a detailed request for proposal for all aspects of your event. This will demonstrate your awareness of competitive pricing to your vendors.
16. Remember to ask for everything you want at the very beginning. The later you delay in requesting an item, the more it will affect your bottom line. Don't be afraid to ask for complimentary items at this time. Whether it be complimentary coffee and tea after the main course, extended use of the room, additional tables for check in, additional staffing for check in or any other needs you may have for your event.
17. Include a clause in the contract that states that final payment will not be made until you have reviewed the event with the vendor or manager after the completion of the event.
18. When reviewing your cancellation clause, make sure it is reciprocal. If there are significant changes in your location such as renovations or change in management, you may want to choose another facility.
19. Include all pricing in the contract. By locking in the menu prices, you will not have to worry about any unforeseeable problems that can be reflected in your bottom line. Even if you can't lock in the specific menu, make sure that you agree to the pricing schedule.
20. Review every item in your contract with your staff as well as that of the vendor or venue manager to ensure that there are no surprises. If you have any changes or deletions, mark the contract and make sure both parties initial the changes. Once all points have been reviewed and understood by all parties, then sign. You never sign a contract unless you agree to everything in it.
21. Stay in constant contact with your vendors and venue. Make sure that everything is going according to schedule and that you don't miss any cutoff dates. In addition, pay attention to the business climate in the area so that you are aware of any possible problems that may occur.
22. Understand the regulations and fees incurred for overtime.

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