Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Botanical Brouhaha Expert Discussion Panel: Session 8

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The Question:

“What should be included in a contract? Do contracts differ from state to state? Where can I get a sample? (submitted by a reader in Florida)

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The Answers:

“My contract is very basic.  It states all of the basic information about the wedding [date, time, location(s), name of the bride and groom, etc.].  I also get very detailed in my descriptions of the floral pieces I will be providing, so that there is no confusion on the day that I deliver. 

I also include a "Day Of Timeline" on my contracts.  Some are more complicated than others... but it's just as helpful for the bride as it is for me to know what the delivery and set up schedule will look like on the day of. I usually arrive first to present the bridal party flowers, and help pin on boutonnieres if the guys are ready. This is something I always ask the bride about: when will the photographer start taking pictures? I want to be there BEFORE that. Then I go on to set up the ceremony and reception flowers [I always have start times noted in the contract] and last but not least, the time in the night when I need to come back to clean up and retrieve my rental items/vases [if any]... and what time the venue needs all vendors out by! 

I also include a "fine print" section that outlines my policies as far as what I expect from clients when it comes to payment schedule, retainer policy and percentage, etc.  I know some florists have specific policies about changes being made to contracts, etc.  I do have a few things in there about when is "too late" to be adding centerpieces or other arrangements, etc.  And a really good one is that if a bride needs to take off a few centerpieces last minute [like the WEEK OF], I cannot refund her money for those arrangements.  Ummmm, the flowers are already on their way to me! ;)  So in my contract it states that I will simply use the flowers set aside for those arrangements, to fluff up other arrangements that we're making.

I learned all of this as I went - and you will too, as you will learn from your mistakes at times.  Bottom line is, you can't have too many details in there.  The more you cover, the better off you are in the end in case something goes wrong.  You can always refer back to the terms in "the contract" that the client agreed to and signed.”

-Liz Rusnac (Fleur:ology)

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We do not have a typical contract. We have an invoice and our invoice states a list of terms, such as when deposit and final payment will be made and that we don't allow reductions under ten percent. The terms also lists our cancellation policies, our delivery policies (it got really tiring this year when all of a sudden we were asked to go to several extra places dropping off one bouquet at a time), that we will not order or delivery flowers without a payment in full prior to the delivery and that we have a right to make substitutions. We also have a force majeure clause that protects us from acts of terrorism, natural disasters, and so on. Our list of terms goes on and on and quite frankly we have never had to use it. Basically I believe if you provide amazing product and customer service none of this will be necessary. The one clause we do have and I love is that we have the right to bring a photographer to the event and use the images for our social media purposes. This ensures that if I truly want images from an event I have a right to get them.”

-Holly Chapple (Holly Heider Chapple Flowers)

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I find that my contract is constantly evolving after new situations occur, but overall it is simple and to the point. Some important points I include in my contract are:

-What monetary deposit is required to book the date (Be sure to include whether or not it is refundable)

-How far in advance of the wedding/event date the Final Payment is due and what forms of payment you accept

-Insuring the day/time/location of the event are correct

-The right for me to use my best judgment in making flower substitutions should the requested flower not be available or of best quality

-Elisabeth Zemetis (Blush Floral Design)

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“I think it differs a lot when it comes to contracts. Here in Sweden, most florists work without contracts (which I think is absolutely crazy). Important things to include in the contract: design, payment, deposit, delivery, who's responsible for clearing up the venue, last day to make changes, cancel conditions, refund etc.. A good idea is to have a solicitor to check out your contract!”

-Emelie Ekborg (Svenska Blomsterbloggar)

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“In France, we don't really have contracts. The quote, if signed by the customer, acts as contract. Here the quote must of course describe what you are going to sell or rent, but as well detail the VAT (value added tax), your company reference number, and payment terms. I think the latter are the most important as getting paid is the real trick...”

-Laetitia Mayor (Floresie)

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Thanks so much Laetitia, Emelie, Elisabeth, Holly & Liz! 

If any of you are interested in a sample contract, you can see mine here.

And now, because we can’t go a day without flowers, please enjoy a few designs by Amy Merrick

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Hope your Wednesday is wonderful!

2 comments:

megan said...

Never underestimate the value of making flower friends! I'd been a florist for 13 years at a place that didn't use contracts before going out on my own. I had no idea what it should even look like, and Morgan from Valley Flower Co. generously sent me a copy of hers that I adapted and rewrote into my first one.

marissa said...

I like Liz's inclusion of a 'Day of' timeline in the contract. One of the things that is valued in New Orleans (and in florists in general) is punctuality, and we are always early/on time anyway, so why not make that something we guarantee?!
Thanks for this!
-Marissa