It is important to understand contracts and/or agreements. I have witnessed clients NOT carrying through and asking the “right” questions. My advice is not to be afraid to ask and don’t get uncomfortable when you admit that you don’t understand their responses. And to address the fear of signing on the dotted line… Yes, contracts can be fearful and overwhelming – that is if you don’t know how to read them or understand them.
Always ask for a formal agreement whenever money is involved. It protects both parties and can clearly spell out the details of the financial transaction. If a vendor ever wants to work with you strictly on a verbal arrangement, handshake or a hand-written informal arrangement (this often lacks the details that are important to include), insist on a more formal contract or find a new vendor. It’s just too easy for things to go awry unless it is clearly spelled out.
Contracts do not have to be complicated. Just be specific and catch the details. Then have a trusted friend, relative, and/or business associate look it over. You would be surprised at what others may catch that you missed. (You can also go on-line and find sample contracts for all kinds of services.)
If it is a contract that is supplied by a vendor, take your time to review it. If they insist that you sign then and there or the deal is off, find a new vendor. You should feel absolutely no pressure. It’s your hard-earned dollars that you are giving them.
If after reading all of this you are still hesitant, secure the services of an event planner. They are trained to look for items not addressed, challenge inconsistencies, and ensure that your welfare is top priority.