Contracts keep everyone honest and make sure both parties know what is expected of them. The best form of contracts are written and signed by both parties with agreed upon terms. This helps to eliminate misunderstandings by either party and helps temper their expectations based upon the agreement. Examples of inclusion would be things like compensation, amount of time expected to work, place(s) you will work, expectations of both parties, who’s responsible for what, any other compensation ie: hotel, food, drinks. Make sure that as much as possible is included in the contract. This way you can avoid a major surprise, furthermore you’ve got recourse if the other party doesn’t hold up their end of the agreement. Be certain that anything discussed prior to making the booking, is in writing and included in the contract.
What to look out for
1. The party NOT signing the contract, or saying something like “We don’t do contracts, we’ve been in business……”.
2. All the “extra things” discussed on the phone or in person, are not in writing once discussed, or one or both parties unwilling to put them in writing.
3. Door only agreements, many club owners will play games with how much money the door takes in. Door agreements in general are something to be wary about. It is better to have an agreed upon fee, and let the club take the door income. Even with national acts, they have an accounting firm audit the ticket sales to ensure they are being paid fairly.
4. If traveling any distance, get a percentage of the money upfront. If you make the trip and they cancel the show that night, you won’t be left with nothing.
Hire an attorney
There are plenty of Artist Contracts available online, however for roughly $100.00 you can have your own contract. This does several things for you. First, it make you look more professional and reliable as the owner can tell you are taking your business seriously. Second, you are less likely to be taken advantage of when they see that you have an attorney. Third, the attorney that draws up your contract in most cases charge you very little to enforce said contract.