What happens when you request a contract?
A Contract request is an act of good faith. Your word. Our word.
We can’t speak for everyone, but when you request a contract from To Go Events, Game Shows To Go, Fun Fotos To Go, CJ Johnson or any of our related brands, the date you’ve requested and the act that you’ve requested is YOURS for that date. We’ve given our word that we will be available for your event. We’ll be there. Plus… unlike many companies – we’ll be there unless it’s physically impossible for us to make it because of weather or other unforeseen circumstances. If we’ve made an error in figuring out how long or how much travel will cost – we’ll bite the bullet and absorb those extra costs. If it means we have to drive all night to be there – we’ll drive all night. In short – a contract request means we are committed to your event – even if a better offer comes along. We take that very seriously.
Once a contract is requested – especially if there is a short time between a contract request and an event – we will begin to plan travel, book flights (if needed) and schedule around that event. We do this even if the contract hasn’t been returned yet. If we don’t then often times the cost of travel can double or even triple if airlines are involved. If we waited until a signed contract was returned we’d end up having to charge more for travel than is necessary.
We expect from you the same thing. If you’re requesting a contract, please make sure that you’ve got the budget, the venue confirmed and the authority from your group to enter into the contract.
The contract itself is just a piece of paper that outlines what’s expected and that protects each of us in the extremely rare case of a legal dispute over an event. From our end a simple handshake is enough. I (C.J. Johnson who is authoring this piece) literally have, tattooed on my arm, the words my Mom told me daily growing up… “A man is only as good as his word”. A contract or a handshake or simply saying “I’ll do it” is my word. And I’ll follow through to the best of my ability – no matter the cost.
Occasionally we will have a client who requests a contract but doesn’t return it and assumes that we won’t be there. That’s not the case. If you’ve asked us to be there – we’re going to be there unless YOU or WE have specifically said that the event is canceled. Unfortunately, once a year or so, we’ll find out during our “week before the event check-in” that the client is no longer planning on us being there. Usually, it’s an excuse like “We never returned the contract” or “We forgot about it”. By that time we’ve already made plans, booked travel and scheduled around their event. In many cases, we’ve turned away other events for the same date and hence lost the income, not only from the event that had been scheduled but also from the opportunities that were lost while we acted in good faith.
So… here’s what we ask for from our clients: Don’t request a contract unless you’re prepared to follow through on it. If there’s a change – let us know as far in advance as possible so we can potentially sell the date (After all, dates are our only commodity and once they’ve passed they’re gone forever). If you don’t have 100% authority to request a contract – make sure that the person who does have full authority has signed off on the event.
Canceling a requested contract is breaking one’s word. More to the point, when it’s done at the last minute it steals the opportunity from us to make a living and could also cause us to raise prices for everyone so compensate for what seems to be an increasing number of people “changing their minds”. Give your word. Keep your word.
Changes happen. We get it. But a little common courtesy and communication go a long way. If someone breaks their word to you once – you’ll forever be wondering if they’ll break it the next time.
We’re going to be there no matter what it takes. Over the 30+ years of my career, we’ve rented U-Hauls when trucks broke down, paid a tow truck driver to haul our trailer 150 miles when a truck broke down, rented a car and drove for 5 hours from a different airport when a flight was canceled, driven all night long when we realized that we’d misjudged where an event was the day before and found out the overnight drive was necessary. All of these at a considerable personal expense – because we said we’d be there. We even flipped a trailer on the way to an event and figured out how to still make it to the event with smiles on our faces! But those stories will make a different blog post someday.
We just to stress that we’ll go the extra mile to deliver what we promise – and that’s our promise to you.