Assuming you became an event planner to make money, getting paid is most likely high on your objectives list. By signing contracts and taking deposits you are taking steps to ensure you get paid. But what happens if you are having problems securing your fee? It is your client's obligation to pay you after you have completed your service. Steps can be taken to ensure your client's obligation is met.
Enforcing a Contract
If after the event your client has not fulfilled his financial obligation to you, send him an invoice. Let a week pass and attempt to contact your client by phone. If after a few days your client has not responded, contact him by e-mail. In the e-mail, reference your previous attempts to contact him with specific dates. If there is still no response, send a second invoice with a letter registering your concerns. Send the letter certified mail and document your efforts along the way.
Once all efforts have been exhausted, it is time to consider legal action. You may consider taking your client to small claims court or hiring an attorney if the sum exceeds $500. If your vendors have not received payment for services from the client, you may consider taking legal action together against the client.
Credit Card Deposits
In addition to contracts, many event planners also take receipt of a credit card number. A second contract or authorization form may be given to a client to sign. The authorization enables you to charge any cancellation fees as well as unpaid charges to the card. The authorization form details the specifics of the event as well as the cancellation policy.
A charge back from a credit card company results when the customer disputes a charge. During your career, a client may dispute a charge to his credit card. The credit card company will charge back the amount to the client's credit card while an investigation is processed. During the investigation, a merchant representative will contact you for details regarding the charge. Usually when the credit card company receives a copy of the contract and authorization form, the charges will be reversed back in your favor.
Occasionally you may find a client's check was returned for insufficient funds. Contact your client, again first by phone. It was likely a calculation error. Follow the same manner as you would in enforcing a contract. Before taking legal action however, contact your client's bank manager. Bring a copy of the contract and the returned check. In some cases, a bank can authorize the payment of the check.
If a client has stopped payment on your check, follow the guidelines previously mentioned: Contact the client first with phone contact, then e-mail, and finally a certified letter. Again, bringing a copy of the check and a copy of the contract to the bank manager sometimes ends in good results.