March 2020 was a big wake up call for a lot of us as Covid reared its ugly head. How effective were your Ts&Cs when it came to the million postponements and inevitable cancellations that came your way?
It was an absolute minefield, and if you’re like us, legal agreements are tricky. So we thought we would get in an expert to explain these things in layman’s terms…….because this stuff is hard!
Today we are lucky enough to speak to Kathryn Adams, Australia’s first lawyer to specialise in ‘wedding and event’ law, with her focus laying squarely on advising wedding and event suppliers.
Kathryn is a commercial lawyer of twenty years having worked all over the world specialising in the vast areas of commercial, corporate and employment law. What makes her extra, EXTRA special is that she previously ran her own wedding and events company (amazing), was a lifestyle and product photographer and lover of all things interior design. Since Covid, Kathryn have advised over three hundred wedding vendors, many of which were florists, in relation to the various legal issues within the Australian wedding and event industry.
So, who better to break down the importance of Ts&Cs? And even better, she lets us know exactly what to include!
Let’s hear from Kathryn now…
“You have probably just experienced the hardest two years of trade since starting your business. You may have likely been disrupted constantly by COVID-19 rules and regulations, the numerous postponements and cancellations, and disputes about the returning of non-refundable booking fees or deposits.
It’s unlikely to have stopped there. You will have dealt with rapidly increased wholesale prices for flowers, and you’ve also battled shortage of certain flowers because of limited importation.
It’s been a really, really, rough two years.
During these tough years, businesses in the wedding and event industry learned a lot about doing business in uncertain times. One of those lessons was the importance of good, solid terms and conditions.
So, what are terms and conditions and why are they so important to your business?
Terms and conditions are basically your terms of trade – meaning, they serve as the contractual agreement between your business and your customers. They should be drafted in a way that ensures they are legally binding, clear, concise, and not daunting to either you, or your customers. Well-written terms and conditions are designed to minimise problems and disputes with your clients in a vast array of circumstances.
A good set of terms and conditions will want to cover (but certainly won’t be limited to) the following:
How an order may be taken;
What kinds of goods and services you provide;
Terms relating to the payment of a deposit or non-refundable booking fee;
How you accept payment for your work;
In what circumstances will you allow a postponement or cancellation;
Changes to their goods and services at any point;
The delivery of the flowers to ensure safe arrival;
The provision of any hire items such as vases and if damage occurs;
Floral installations and details of location;
Warranty, liability and indemnities;
Copyright and use of photographs of your work; and
COVID-19 and safety of your employees and contractors.
Although some of these terms may seem minor, having them in your terms and conditions may save you from disputes during or after the provision of the goods and services.
Creating your terms and conditions should not be a daunting process. Given the floral industry is unique, it is always recommended that you seek the assistance of a lawyer who is not only across the issues of law, but also knows your industry well. Whilst the cost of creating your terms and conditions may feel like a big financial investment, we guarantee it will pay off in the long run.”
There is a lot to unpack when it comes to legal agreements, so we very much appreciate Kathryn taking the time to explain Ts&Cs in a bite sized chunk. If you would like to chat to Kathryn more, we will pop her details below. She also runs a great community group on Facebook where you can asks questions and get feedback from people within the wedding and events industry – win!
We highly recommend having a look over your current contracts. Is there anything you have forgotten?
Let us know if there is another aspect of the legal world you would like covered and we can try and wrangle some more expertise from the talented Kathryn Adams!
The FQ xx
You can contact Kathryn here and also see her full details below:
Event Legal Services Pty Limited
Sydney, New South Wales
Instagram – @eventlawau
Facebook – /eventlawau