Managing a special event such as a client function can be stressful for many business owners. As an event organiser, you can help business owners book venues, confirm guest lists, create marketing for the event and arrange catering. Business owners can then focus on entertaining their clients. However, you may want to enter into an event organiser agreement to protect your interests in case of a dispute. This article explains what you should include in an event organiser agreement.

Who needs an Event Organiser Agreement?

An event organiser agreement protects the interests of the business and the event organiser. From your perspective, you want to:

  • clarify your payment process;
  • handle any intellectual property (IP) appropriately; and
  • limit the extent of your responsibility if there is damage or injury at the event.

Business owners, on the other hand, will want you to:

  • carry out the services properly as outlined in the agreed scope of work under the contract;
  • know that you are legally responsible for any damage or injury caused by your actions; and
  • understand that all intellectual property (IP) created under the agreement belongs to them, not you.

For example, if the business owner allows you to create banners using their logo (which has a trade mark), they are granting you a licence you the right to use the logo for making the banners. You do not have permission to use the logo for other reasons.

What are the Key Clauses in an Event Organiser Agreement?

A properly drafted event organiser agreement sets out clear terms and conditions on what to expect when you provide your services. Important clauses include:

  1. the term of engagement: when do you start or end your obligations under the agreement? Do you have to meet any milestones?;
  2. the scope of serviceswhat is the scope of your client’s services. Are you willing to provide any type of services or are you only responsible for a defined set of responsibilities?; 
  3. deliverables: are there any specific artwork, plans or advertising material to create? Do you have certain targets to meet?; 
  4. IP: will you have a licence to use the client’s trade mark to market your event to potential customers?;
  5. payment process: how much are the services and when do you have to pay the event organiser? 
  6. liabilitywho is responsible if there is damage or injury? What situations is someone within their control? Are there external factors that may affect the event’s success?; and 
  7. disputes: if there is a dispute over the contract, do you go to mediation or go straight to court? 

Payment Structures

Event organisers have different payment structures depending on the event type. If the event has no tickets, you can base the payment on the agreed process in the contract. 

For example, the client must pay 25% of the total fee at least six months before the event. They pay an extra 50% of the fee at least one week before the event. The client pays the final 25% after the event.

If the event has tickets, you will need to decide the appropriate fee for service based on the size and profitability of the event.

For example, you want to manage your expenses, boost profit and analyse your revenue in all the events that you host. You can have a process where you review total revenue from the event and calculate profit after deducting expenses.

Unfortunately, event organisers struggle to recover outstanding fees if there is a dispute over the terms of the agreement. Sometimes, you may want to include contractual clauses to limit any risk that you will not get paid on time. 

For example, you may want to:

  • maintain control and transparency over event funds stored in your bank account;
  • require evidence (by collecting receipts) for event expenses, where you are paid based on the net profits; and
  • audit any accounts to ensure you are receiving the appropriate fee. A third party auditor may also be allowed to review the information.

Key Takeaways

An event organiser agreement will ensure you get paid for your services. More importantly, both you and the client will know your rights and obligations to ensure the event is a success. Although you may be tempted to run with a ‘handshake agreement’, a proper contract ensures you can take action against the client if your event does not go to plan. If you need assistance drafting an event organiser agreement, get in touch with LegalVision’s contract lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

James Adler
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