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Client wants to add something to contract - Need a little...
  
 
Micky Bill
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p.2 #1 · Client wants to add something to contract - Need a little suggesion here


Ian Ivey wrote:
, a simple change of terms in the contract is not changing who you are. This is what businesspeople call "negotiation." Most of us are one- or two-person studios who can reasonably be expected to negotiate terms directly, not major corporations that have to involve a team of lawyers to modify a boilerplate agreement.

A client who reads and responds to the terms of your agreement is not a "red flag" client, folks.


Great points Ian.
My work is "who I am" not a legal document..last summer I had the time and inclination to read the 14 page PO from my biggest bestest client, a Fortune 100 company. I had a few questions and got a email back from one of the lawyers saying thanks for reading it and for pointing out a couple contradictions (what clause 12.3 allowed clause 14.7 prohibited). Both my direct client and the legal dept were impressed and little amused that i read the entire document and made changes before signing it.
A lot of people around here are very quick to run away "Red flag!!!" whenever a client suggests a change or has a question, business must be very very good if you can dump a potential paying customer and just book the next one in line...



Nov 18, 2013 at 06:36 PM
MBMK
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p.2 #2 · Client wants to add something to contract - Need a little suggesion here


So basically, the client just wants to make sure we don't cause any physical harm to any of their guests. Whether its us throwing something at them, or hit them with a chair or if we place something in the middle of the room, like a cord laying in the middle of the floor causing their guests to trip over and break a leg (or something). I think I'm going to go with Ale's version as "gross negligence" describes what she's asking for better than just "negligence"


Nov 18, 2013 at 09:48 PM
Ian Ivey
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p.2 #3 · Client wants to add something to contract - Need a little suggesion here


MBMK wrote:
So basically, the client just wants to make sure we don't cause any physical harm to any of their guests. Whether its us throwing something at them, or hit them with a chair or if we place something in the middle of the room, like a cord laying in the middle of the floor causing their guests to trip over and break a leg (or something). I think I'm going to go with Ale's version as "gross negligence" describes what she's asking for better than just "negligence"


Gross negligence requires that you behave in a reckless manner -- essentially demonstrating that you don't care if someone gets hurt. If the client "just wants to make sure we don't cause any physical harm to any of their guests," then limiting the clause to gross negligence does not accomplish the client's goal.

By contrast, mere negligence is failure to do what a reasonably prudent person would do, with that failure leading to an injury that is accidental but which you should reasonably have avoided.

The amendment your client proposed (assuming you correct the spelling error) is a reasonable amendment. The client likely does not want to have to reimburse you the amount you have to pay some third party who you injure by imprudent behavior. If you behave imprudently and injure someone, this client believes (quite reasonably) that you -- and not the client -- should be on the hook for that injury.



Nov 19, 2013 at 03:18 AM
cineski
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p.2 #4 · Client wants to add something to contract - Need a little suggesion here


Sticking to your contract when it comes to something as grounding as what the OP brings up isn't a bad thing to do by any means. My contractual fine print changes with some client experiences *after the fact* to enhance both my future clients and myself. These types of changes are good things and I consider that part of the contract (the fine print) to be a living breathing entity. Changing the fine print of your contract to book a client by what the OP is asking is simply not a good idea, of course changing your contract deliverables is a normal negotiation but on my contract, the fine print and deliverables are two completely different parts of the contract so when I say fine print doesn't change, that means the legal mumbo jumbo like blanket copyright, liability, etc. Changing basic legal terms like the OP brings up (or as stated the fine print, or page 2 of my contract) is something I'd personally never change nor would I recommend it.

Here's an example of something I have changed. I started having a client or two who would absolutely refuse to contact me via email. They would only text and they would do it at very odd hours to the point that it became disruptive to my family life. I had to change a line item in my contract to state what my operating hours were and which forms of communication I would accept (Facebook and texting are specifically stated in my contract as unacceptable forms of communication).

Here's another example of something I added to the fine print after the fact and will not remove it if requested: A wedding client had a guest show up who "wanted to take a few photos" but in actuality they are an aspiring photographer who, by evident of their actions, are desperate to create an entire website and sample album with this one wedding (and it's probably their first ever). As an experienced wedding photographer, these people stick out like a sore thumb and are a huge distraction. At this particular wedding which was a highly religious wedding in a location where you had to wear a suit, this person caused a major distraction and in response I had guest after guest come up to me and blame me for this other photographer's (the guy who just showed up) actions. So I added a line item that I am the only official photographer and all others will only do so at my discretion. If someone causes a disturbance, (and this is stated in my fine print) I will put my cameras away until the person causing the disturbance leaves. Have I ever used this against anyone? No. Have I been asked by clients why that's in there? Heck yes. I have seen an increase in a bride telling an uncle bob to put their camera away and enjoy themselves without me having to say a word since I put that in there. Will I take it out to book a client? Nope. It's my contract, my terms, my services. And the respect I get for standing my ground is a wonderful thing.

But basic things like what the OP is specifically talking about is not a good idea to change for numerous reasons.

I also find that when a client has an issue or question with my fine print, and I simply say "that's the way I structure my contract," those people tend to respect what you do more than if you cave and change a very basic function of what a contract does which is to protect both entities fairly. And yes, personal experience of mine states that when a prospective client wants me to change the very foundation of what my contract is, they end up being a problem later on. But again, this is all just my opinion.

Ian Ivey wrote:
, a simple change of terms in the contract is not changing who you are. This is what businesspeople call "negotiation." Most of us are one- or two-person studios who can reasonably be expected to negotiate terms directly, not major corporations that have to involve a team of lawyers to modify a boilerplate agreement.

A client who reads and responds to the terms of your agreement is not a "red flag" client, folks.


Edited on Nov 19, 2013 at 04:26 AM · View previous versions



Nov 19, 2013 at 03:41 AM
Inku Yo
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p.2 #5 · Client wants to add something to contract - Need a little suggesion here


I wonder who wrote the original contract.


Nov 19, 2013 at 03:41 AM
cineski
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p.2 #6 · Client wants to add something to contract - Need a little suggesion here


If this were true you shouldn't need a contract at all.

Micky Bill wrote:
My work is "who I am" not a legal document..



Nov 19, 2013 at 03:44 AM
 

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cineski
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p.2 #7 · Client wants to add something to contract - Need a little suggesion here


Since we're in the wedding forum and the OP is asking the question, I'm going to assume it's the OP's contract. In all the hundreds of weddings I've worked on, I only had one wedding where the client created the contract and it was a multi million dollar event with a prominent family that wanted to control the media themselves. Also, commercial contracts are quite different from wedding contracts.

Inku Yo wrote:
I wonder who wrote the original contract.



Nov 19, 2013 at 03:54 AM
Micky Bill
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p.2 #8 · Client wants to add something to contract - Need a little suggesion here


cineski wrote:
If this were true you shouldn't need a contract at all.



cineski wrote:
Make your contract, and stick to it. In the real world, it's often the people who want you to change who you are for them, who end up being the bad apples in the end.


My statement was in reference to ^ which implied if you change your contract (aka negotiate an agreement) you would be changing who you are. My work and me are who I am and that doesn;t change much even of I try! To me a contract is just a contract, and if changes are needed to make a deal work (it has to work for both of us, everyone knows a contract favors whomever creates it we only say it protects both parties equally) then I can live with that, for that gig. To be honest I have had to change more POs than clients requesting changes to mine.

Heck even the Constitution has 27 amendments (changes)



Nov 19, 2013 at 05:58 AM
cineski
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p.2 #9 · Client wants to add something to contract - Need a little suggesion here


I was going to ad, try dealing with people in LA, but you do . But again, the commercial world is much different from weddings. Consumers and art buyers have different mentalities. With my commercial work, more often than not I get a contract from the entity who's hiring me. But again and again, with consumers, when you stand by your way of doing things at this level, you get clients who are easier to deal with later on. When you start changing legalities when a client requests it, some clients can take on a different tone later on.


Nov 19, 2013 at 01:05 PM
cordellwillis
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p.2 #10 · Client wants to add something to contract - Need a little suggesion here


Very well expressed cineski. Thank you for the details above.


Nov 19, 2013 at 05:04 PM
sboerup
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p.2 #11 · Client wants to add something to contract - Need a little suggesion here


Why not just tell them that any contractual changes need to be reviewed by your legal counsel and any charges will be billed to them directly. It's not a mean thing, just the cost of doing business with this customer. If you're not sure of how a change in your contract can effect the viability of your contract (or your entire business if sued), then I would certainly seek legal counsel.


Nov 19, 2013 at 05:20 PM
MBMK
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p.2 #12 · Client wants to add something to contract - Need a little suggesion here


Thanks for all your help guys. The contract is signed. Wedding is booked.


Nov 20, 2013 at 04:17 AM
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