We’ve created a venue contract checklist to make sure you’re hiring the right way.
A venue contract sets out the rules, regulations, protocols, and agreements between a client and venue when hiring event space. If you’re a professional event planner, you’ll be all too familiar with the ins and outs this. You can’t get away from the tedious fine print. However, if you’ve never hired space before, you might not be familiar with the nitty-gritty. We know how hard it is to read an entire contract before signing it, but this really is unavoidable. When you’re responsible for the success of an event, skim reading is just not an option! We’ve come up with a checklist of things for you to consider with our venue contract checklist.
1. Read and re-read everything
It sounds obvious, but as we mentioned earlier we all have a tendency to not read every word on a page. And it’s not our fault, our brains naturally skip certain words to save time. However, in this scenario, you need to read every word. The worst thing you can do is get into complications because you missed a word or two.
2. Ask for contract clarification
You’re not silly for not understanding complicated contract jargon, but you would be silly to not ask for clarification on anything you don’t understand. If you’re not sure what something means, just ask!
3. Check access hours
Be sure to check over the access hours that have been set on the venue contract. Does the time give your team enough time to set up? You also need to know what happens if you end up staying longer than the contracted times. It’s also important to not make any assumptions. Just because you have the venue for the day, doesn’t mean you’ll get access whenever you require it. Clear this all up beforehand to avoid confusion.
4. Look out for a cancellation clause
You could book a venue a year in advance and the day after you book you decide that you need to cancel the booking. That’s 364 days in advance, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get charged. Most venues have their own cancellation policy unique to their venue, so make sure to check how long you have to cancel, and any charges that may incur.
5. Seek out construction and renovation clauses
If your event is occurring in a hotel you’ll want to make sure that any rooms you’ve booked are already renovated. You don’t want it to be an unpleasant experience for you or your guests. Make sure this is clear beforehand. If there is any construction due to take place around the date of your event make sure it won’t affect you. Dust, debris, loud noise, or space restrictions are big no-gos. Ensure that you’re clear on this before booking so you have a chance to find an alternative venue.
6. Clarify whether VAT is included
Of course VAT is included in the rates, right? Wrong! This is an incredibly common mistake in the events industry. Ensure the venue contract fully breaks down the hire rate. Any additional non-taxable and taxable facilities you require, and anything that might cost you extra. Remember, a venue may seem affordable, but an additional 20% can make a huge difference.
7. Find out deposits and payments dates
You may be asked to pay a deposit before you sign the contract as a holding fee, but all venues have their own policies. Make sure the contract not only states what fees you have already paid, but what’s left to pay and when. Are you paying the venue in instalments? If so, find out when these should be paid by. Do you get charged extra if you pay at a later date? Or, do you pay the venue outright? Make sure you’re confident about the answers to these questions before you sign.
8. Check minimum numbers
A venue contract will often have contracted minimum numbers, especially if you require catering or delegate rates. 9 times out of 10 this minimum will be based on your expected number of attendees. This is a trap! You want this number to be as low as possible, otherwise, you’ll end up paying for people that don’t show up.
9. Make sure you have insurance
Who is responsible for paying for damages, losses, or anything else that goes wrong? What does the venue cover this and what is your responsibility? This is exactly what the insurance clause is for. Ensure you take time to read over this so you know what to expect.
10. Keep a signed, final print out of the contract
There’ll be a lot of changes and amendments to the contract before signing, which is to be expected. Always ensure that you have a final signed copy for your records. This will avoid any ‘your word against theirs’ conflict. If it’s signed and finalised by both parties, there’s nothing to dispute.
You’ve mastered the nitty-gritty, now for the fun part. Take a look at our inspiring venue hire options here.