Most small business owners I know are:
- Badass and
- Constantly running between one project and another.
There are always SO many things to be done and at times “small” tasks like making sure contracts are signed by each party can be tedious. The catch? Sometimes the seemingly smallest tasks aren’t so small when they can have BIG legal consequences.
Today I’m here to tell you...making sure both parties sign a contract every. single. time. is one of the biggest fundamentals of running a successful small business.
Do Wedding Pros Really Need Both Clients’ Signatures on the Contract?
Contracts NEED to be signed by both you and EACH client in order to make the terms of a contract final and to ensure you have a clear written record of the terms of your agreement and accord between the parties.
While there are some situations in which a contract doesn’t need to be signed, you never want to have to go to court in order to fight for the validity of your contract. It comes down to this, if you have more than one client as a party to a contract, you need to make sure BOTH clients sign.
When a contract isn’t signed by all parties (you plus each client), it severely limits your ability to pursue remedies or recourse if one client doesn’t fulfill their obligations.
When a contract is signed by both clients, it serves as proof that your clients were fully aware of their obligations and responsibilities under the agreement and ensures that each client is liableindividually for any issues that may arise.
Say, for example, that you’re a wedding photographer. Wedding industry professionals should always try to get BOTH spouses to sign their service contract. Thus, Client 1, Client 2, and you as the business owner should each have a signature line at the bottom of the contact. Then, once all parties sign, the contract is finalized and fully valid.
Should you ever need to collect fees or take action against your clients, if both Client 1 and Client 2 did not sign the contract, you may not be able to collect anything from the party who did not sign--which is oftentimes a HUGE financial risk you’re taking as a business owner. However, when you have multiple parties involved in one contract, by having every party sign, you ensure that you have the same protections for each party as you would if a single party was involved. This includes:
- The ability to collect fees,
- Establish liability,
- Communicate efficiently and effectively, and
- Ensure that each party performs what they have agreed to perform.
Having a written record of an agreement between all parties will also protect you later on if any of your clients attempt to change the terms of the contract (for example, if Client 1 disputes the hours of coverage or your rate for additional hours, you can go back to the contract all three of you signed and point out that specific portion of the agreement between you three).
By having both spouses sign the contract, the best thing you’ll have is EVIDENCE & PROOF as a business owner! You’ll have evidence of the original obligations and responsibilities agreed to and can enforce those rights against both clients.
Make sure everyone involved in the transaction signs your contract!
The best way to make sure that you are operating your business legally is to make sure that everyone involved in a transaction signs the agreement.
This ensures that everyone involved with the transaction knows what they are responsible for, agrees to perform as agreed to, and will allow you to better enforce the contract against both clients should that situation arise. You don’t want to limit your options for recovery of fees or ability for performance, so make sure two clients sign your wedding contracts on the dotted line!
THIS BLOG POST IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL ADVICE. EVERY SITUATION IS DIFFERENT & IS FACT-SPECIFIC. A proper legal analysis is necessary based on your location and contract. Consult an attorney in your home state for advice regarding your contract or specific legal situation.