Contracts for Balloon Professionals



We send out a confirmation letter. It’s extremely simple, showing the party information (place, date, time, etc.), the number of kids, the things we will be doing there, and stating our cancellation policy, as I posted to the list. The customer returns the letter with a 50% deposit and their signature, which in effect gives us a contractual obligation without the fuss and muss of a formal performance agreement.

Deposits and Cancellations:

  • Most of the people, in my experience, don’t mind paying a deposit if they’re going to get good service.
  • Require a deposit. After all, these people are asking you to make a commitment to them — shouldn’t they make one to you?
  • One approach to handling cancellations is as follows. If the event or performance is canceled, the customer may be issued a “Raincheck if at least 24 hours notice is given. If less than 24 hours notice is given any deposit is forfeit. The Raincheck is good for the same performance or equivalent event within one year that can be worked into the performers schedule. The Raincheck cannot be used unless the performer is available. If the event is canceled and the performer notified within ****Hours**** the deposit will be good for one year from the date of the original scheduled date. This deposit will then be good for any similar event within the year that the performer is available to attend at the request of the customer. If the performer is not scheduled within that year, the deposit is forfeit.
  • “You cannot live as an artist if you do not get paid because of rain.” Benny Schuman.”Business is business.” Not getting a non-refundable deposit and not getting paid because of the weather is not business.
  • Conditions are always a problem, and I don’t allow them. If you’re going to hire me, I’m going to be there.
    “If it rains, we don’t need you to come.”
    “Well, if it doesn’t rain, I’m going to the beach instead of your party. We’d better work something out.”
  • We just do not accept conditional scheduling since we have no control over the weather and too many other factors that could effect a booking. Use a contract, even for personal events. The contract should state that the sponsor of event is responsible if event is canceled and that they should make provisions for bad weather, etc. They contract for us and we come rain shine snow or whatever. If we commit to your event it means we agree to turn down others.
  • Some state laws will allow you to charge for cancellations at the last minute, but normally you have to have a contract in advance saying this is a policy. Again, law in some states will allow this contract to be as simple as a sign at your place of business stating your policy. Check up with your local business bureau. Ever been to a really good hairdresser? How about a tanning parlor? Most of them require 24-hour notice on cancellations, or you’ll get billed. You can do the same. Of course, you’ll want to take the particular customer into account, as well. If this is a good customer who hires you every year and pays well, you may not want to make an issue of it. At least you know you’ll be assured a job next year. If you make a big fuss, you may not.
  • On all company contracts we ask for 1/2 down and the rest at the conclusion of the event. The deposit is non refundable. If they cancel 24 hours before the event, we require half of the balance. If they cancel because of rain, we just take the deposit and run. If they reschedule the event, we stay status quo and get a day off. It is good to stay in good graces with all your clients. Don’t burn bridges.
  • This particular event did pay some deposits to other attractions but they included a clause that the deposit was good for one year. so Thus, the deposit would cover the following year’s event in case of cancellation.
  • In decorating, my partner & I ALWAYS require a deposit. It secures the spot for the client and it protects you in the event of “elopements” or breakups…… We do not refer to it as a deposit, we call it a retainer.
  • You’re absolutely right, this is a booking fee and not a deposit, therefore it is non-refundable.
  • I have that clause in all my contracts and it works well for me. I don’t think people take you seriously if they can cancel and get their money back if and when they change their mind.I also think that because it’s in the contract, clients won’t even ask to cancel unless it’s an absolute emergency. Then it’s up to my discretion, if I want to return the deposit or not. Generally it’s no, but I will allow them to hold the deposit towards another event or date. It has happened so seldomly to me, maybe 3 times in the last 10 years, that the 50% deposit works great.

    I also don’t allow clients to change what’s on the contract (with the exception of the # of TC). Sometime’s they run out of money at the end of planning an event and want to start canceling pieces. I won’t let them. They always come up with the money somewhere.

    Hope I don’t sound hard. I choose my words in these conversations very carefully. I am always professional. Sometimes it’s a tough call.

  • Although we always have the “non-refundable” clause in our contracts, and also in our proposals, upon the advice of our lawyer, we changed the word “deposit” to the word “retainer”. I believe it was Pam Steiner who first suggested this word be used because of the legal implications of the word “deposit”. The average consumer assumes they can get their “deposit” back if they change their minds. However, the word “retainer” indicates a fee for a service. The exact wording we use on the bottom of our proposals is as follows:”REFUND POLICY: The first 200 C-shells of your initial payment is a non-refundable retainer fee which reserves your event’s date and time on our calendar and guarantees our company will be available to decorate for your event. The remainder of your initial payment and any other payments you make between now and your event date, is refundable on a percentage scale based upon the date of written notification of cancellation. The percentage scale is as follows: 6 months or more before your event…….100%, 3-6 months before your event….50%, 1-3 months before your event…25%, and Less than 1 month before your event…0%.”
  • I’m not a lawyer, but here are my suggestions. Several things that should be in your contracts. Anything outside should contain something about weather, which you should have previously discussed with your client. It should say something about “rain or shine” (which may mean you will be blowing up balloons in the pouring rain) and a cancellation or postponement agreement. I suggest something like a 50% non refundable retainer, deposit, whatever you want to call it (there were some earlier posts about this) You keep the 50% whether or not they cancel. If they cancel they need to do it by a certain time,(Before you’ve gone to bed early the night before to get up early to do the job) or else they pay in full. “Not responsible for inclement weather, acts of God, vandalism, etc.” works pretty well too. If there is a projected rain date that should be included and provided for. (eg. In the event of postponement, rain date is next day same time, customer will pay an additional 50% if postponed by 9:00 a.m., 75% if postponed after 9:00a.m.) The most important clause in your contract, however, is the one that says “PAID IN FULL”
  • here are two phrases from my contract:”Balloons are, by nature, temporary items: Although B’LOONS BROS. uses only the finest quality balloons, some balloons will occasionally deflate sooner than expected and will also be adversely affected by wind, rain, rough handling, sunlight and other uncontrollable factors.”

    “Due to the unexpected circumstances that can occur with any event, we reserve the right to make changes only in the best interest of our clients. If the facility is not available or set up at the promised time, decor may be left in the nearest acceptable location. Additional time required (if available) to complete the job will be billed at 25 C-shells/hour.”

  • During the first couple of years of decorating, we ran into several jobs with the same consequences you experienced. As a result of the “bad press” we received from clients (even if we DID refund, we found we still got the “bad” reviews), we made a business decision to inform our clients that “we NEVER guarantee perfect results with balloon decor outdoors.” However, we further state that we will do everything in our power to make sure the decor will hold up……from using the BEST quality of balloons, (Qualatex of course!!!), helping them choose colors and balloon types (i.e. fashion tone as opposed to jewel tone), and the type of decor that holds up best in all kinds of weather.Because of this warning, we DO lose an outdoor job once in awhile, but we have always gained the respect of our client(s),they ALWAYS thank us for our honesty, and have all come back to us at later dates for even bigger and better INDOOR jobs.

    Personally, we would rather avoid, at almost any cost, doing outdoor decorating jobs because we know it is very difficult to show our product at its best. However, if our client is well aware of the risks he is taking, and still wants us to do the job……far be it from us to turn down his $$$$ . We always include the weather clause as well as the “no guarantee out-of-doors” clause on all our contracts.

  • It might be wise to have had a contingency plan that is discussed with the person booking the job. You would need a time, telephone number and contact person who can ok a prearranged design. If you suggest air-filled designs for outdoor work, you can be more flexible and the design can withstand the elements better.
  • Just to be on the safe side, it is always best in the long run, to spend a few dollars and have an attorney review your contracts before you use them.
  • In your proposal be sure to state what materials are yours and what are the clients. Be sure to include bad weather pricing, cancellation pricing and terms for payment. Also, since you are adding pictures, be sure to have your pictures copyrighted and type copyright at the bottom of your proposal. Add a line for signature of the client and the date to prove he has read and agreed to the proposal. Make sure you bullet each item of decor to be done and the price for each. Also have a second and possibly third decor plan at lower prices to give the client a choice.

No contract?

  • Instead of contracts, some people prefer to send out a confirmation letter. It’s extremely simple, showing the party information (place, date, time, etc.), the number of kids, the things we will be doing there, and stating our cancellation policy. The customer returns the letter with a 50% deposit and their signature, which in effect gives us a contractual obligation without the fuss and muss of a formal performance agreement.
  • I just heard from a job I have on Saturday. If it rains they are canceling and will not be paying me. This is a repeat from last year and it requires two balloonists. I booked a friend for the other times and now they are saying that we will be out of luck if it rains. I did not require a deposit.

Sample Contracts for Balloon Artists

Note: Balloon HQ and the Guide to Balloons and Ballooning have included the following section to provide examples. We can not verify the legalities of any of the documents shown. These are ideas that have been used by various balloon artists. You will most likely want to customize them for your own purposes, with the aid of an attorney.

Additional Material

  • Rain or Cancellations: If the event or performance is canceled, the customer may be issued a “Raincheck” if at least 24 hours notice is given. If less than 24 hours notice is given any deposit is forfeit. The Raincheck is good for the same performance or equivalent event within one year, that can be worked into the performers schedule. The Raincheck cannot be used unless the performer is available.
  • All outdoor performances must be conducted in a safe manner and there must be an indoor rain contingency plan. In the event of cancellation without such a contingency, the Purchaser must pay the contract in full.
  • Cancellations: If the event is canceled and the performer notified within XXXX Hours, the deposit will be good for one year from the date of the original scheduled date. This deposit will then be good for any similar event within the year that the performer is available to attend at the request of the customer. If the performer is not scheduled within that year, the deposit is forfeit.

Agent Contract

_______________ company [Agent]

_______________ Address

_______________ City

_______________ Telephone

Type of Entertainment: ________________

Date of Performance: __________________

Time: _______________

Length of Performance : _______________

Location: _____________________________

Telephone: ___________________________

Contact: ______________________________

Fee due to performer: $_____________ (X hours at $X per hour)

Other information:





This contract is non-cancelable by any of the parties hereto.
performer agrees to entertain at function as detailed above, and
agrees to exercise reasonable, professional, judgment in the
conduct and content of his/her performance.  Performer assumes all
responsibility for their actions.

_________ company [agent] assumes no responsibility for the
actions of the client or their gusts.  Performer agrees to this engagement
as an independent entity and may not hold _________ company
[agent] liable for any acts, losses or damages.  Additionally,
_________ company [agent] cannot be held liable for injury
sustained in relation to this engagement.

It is understood by all parties involved that _________ company
[agent] is the sole booking organization for the performer for all
of its engagements with this specific purchaser and shall be
entitled to a commission for any future engagements resultant from
this function.

Performer must distribute promotional material provided by
_________ company [agent].  Failure to do so will result in the
forfeiture of any future engagements.

Should _________ company [agent] learn that the entertainer has
distributed his/her own materials, said performer will not be
entitled to the total fee due.

Failure to comply with the terms, conditions, and specifics of this
agreement shall result in the forfeiture of all moneys owed to the
performer and may entitle _________ company [agent] to damages.

Signature below constitutes agreement to the above.



agent                             performer

Client Contract

Business Contract [underlined]

_______________ Your company [agent]

_______________ Address

_______________ City

_______________ Phone

Date of Performance: ____________________

Time: _________________

Length of performance: __________________

Location: _______________________________

Type of function: ________________________

Fee: ___________________

Service requested by (or contact point): ___________________

Entertainer: ___________________ [by name..."Go-Go the


Type of entertainment: ______________ [be specific, balloons,

magic, face painting, etc.]

Other considerations:





This contract is non-cancelable by any of the parties hereto.
performer agrees to provide entertainer at functions, as detailed

Entertainer is retained as an independent contractor, therefore,
_________ company [agent] cannot be held liable for damages
sustained in relation to this engagement.

*A non-refundable deposit is required prior to performance date.
This deposit shall be forfeited should the event be canceled or
postponed due to weather conditions or other circumstances.  The
fee indicated herein shall not be decreased, under any
circumstances whatsoever, including decreasing the length of the

Total payment for services must be received on date of performance.



Agent                         point

                                      Authorized Agent of Function

(If due to time constraints, a deposit is not feasible and the
entertainment be canceled, a fee of one third of the total fee
listed above is due.)

[The above contract can be faxed to and from Authorized agent of

Liability Release

****Your Company****

Liability Terms You the customer, by signing the release portion
of this document, give your  permission for ****Your Company***
/***Your Name**** to work and  entertain under the following
conditions.  You agree to accept all responsibility for all personal
and real property, and persons at the event's location.  Upon
signing this release you are releasing ****Your Name**** and
****Your Company**** from all liability and responsibility for
property, persons,  and pets at the event's location, before,
during and after the event.  As a result of signing this release,
****Your Company**** and ****Your Name**** are free of any
liability, and you the signing person will accept full liability
and responsibility for persons and property at the location.

Release Agreement for:

____________________________ Event, at

____________________________ Location, for

____________________________ Date/time

I agree to the terms listed and accept the terms of liability.  I
accept full responsibility and liability for all property and
persons at this location and release ****Your Name**** and
****Your Company**** from all responsibility and liability.
I under stand that there are dangers to children and pets if
balloons or parts of balloons are swallowed.

Customer(Print Name)_____________________________________


Date ______________________ Phone_______________________


City, State ______________________________ Zip__________

Deco and Twister Contract


This agreement is hereby entered into by and between ( name,
address, and phone number of individual negotiating contract)
representing (name, address, and phone number of business for
whom service is to be provided) hereinafter referred to as
_____________________, and ****Your Full Name*****, an
independent entertainer and contractor, representing ****Your
Company****, Your Company Address, Phone number (XXX)
XXX-XXXX, hereinafter referred to as ****Your Name****.
Wherein ________________ desires (A broad statement of the
products and services requested, the time, date, and location where
products and services are to be delivered) and has requested that
****YOUR NAME**** provide such entertainment and/or
decorating service,  ****YOUR NAME**** hereby agrees to provide the
following: (A complete item by item description of products and services
agreed upon).

________________ agrees to provide ( detailed list of all items to be
provided by client such as parking, meals, ladders, lift, extension
cords, and etc.)  The fee agreed upon between ________________
and ****YOUR NAME**** in exchange for said entertainment and/or
decorating service is ($______), to be paid to ****YOUR NAME**** as
follows: a deposit of ($______), which is non-refundable unless the
contract is canceled more than 30 days prior to the date the
entertainment and/or decorating service covered by this agreement
is to be provided, is to be paid to ****YOUR NAME**** upon
acceptance of this agreement.  The balance of ($ ___________) is to
be paid to ****YOUR NAME**** no later than _____________________
unless a later date is agreed upon  in writing prior to the date of the
entertainment and/or decorating service.  If said balance is not paid
to ****YOUR NAME**** as herein required, _______________
agrees to pay to ****YOUR NAME**** an administrative charge of ten
percent (10%) of said balance and to pay all reasonable costs including court
costs and attorney's fees incurred by ****YOUR NAME**** in the
collection thereof. It is agreed and understood between the parties
that any and all persons providing entertainment and/or decorating
service as provided herein are independent contractors, represented
by ****YOUR NAME****, and that  no employer/employee
relationship exists between  such persons and _________________*.
****YOUR NAME****, for and in consideration of the mutual
covenants herein contained, hereby agrees to indemnify, save, and hold
harmless __________________ and the legal and beneficial
owner(s) of the real property and improvements commonly referred to as
___________________________, and their respective partners,
affiliates, agents, related entities, attorneys, officers, directors,
shareholders, employees, successors, and assigns, from and against
any and all claims, demands, causes of actions, suits, proceedings,
costs, expenses, and damages arising out of or relating to this
agreement or the services to be performed pursuant hereto.

_______________________		___________________________	

Signed:						Date:

_______________________     ___________________________

Signed:					 	Date:

13 Point Contract

****Your Name****, Inc.

	Services Agreement

This agreement is entered into this [today's date] by and between
[Artist Name] for [Artists Stage Name], herein referred to as the
"Artist" and [Signer For Buyer] for [Buyers Name], herein
referred to as the "Purchaser", with the assistance of ****Agency
Name if one is used**** for ****Your  Name****, Inc., herein referred to as
"Agency", for the following services.

1.  Purchaser hereby engages the Artist, subject to the terms and conditions
as follows:

Event:		[Event Name]

Date:		[Event Date(s)]

Location:	[Event Location]

Time:		(Detailed in Attachment No. 1)

Cost:		$ [Total Cost]

Attachments:	One

2.  It is agreed that as full compensation for services provided by the
Artist as above set forth, the Purchaser will pay to the Artist the sum
of $ [Total Cost].  A $[deposit amount] non-refundable deposit will
be issued with the signing of this contract.  The balance of payment is
to be made in full, on the day of the event, to the leader of the artist
group in cash, company check, certified check, or money order.
Any deviation from the specific terms of this paragraph by the Purchaser
shall constitute a breach of this entire Agreement.

3.  All outdoor performances must be conducted in a safe manner
and there must be an indoor rain contingency plan.  In the event of
cancellation without such contingency, the Purchaser must pay the
contract in full.

4.  Purchaser is responsible for providing all permits, licenses and
legal papers needed for any foreign events outside the United States,
in a timely manner.  Such documents must be provided to the Artist
by the Purchaser no later than two weeks prior to the performance.
Purchaser is liable for any costs and expenses related to said
permits, licenses and papers.  Any delay or non-compliance to this paragraph
will be considered a breach on the part of the Purchaser.

5.  The recording, reproduction, filming or transmission of the Artist's
performances are prohibited without the written consent of the
Artist.  The Purchaser shall be responsible for the strict enforcement
of this paragraph.

6.  The Purchaser will make available two complimentary tickets per
Artist member for any public events.

7.  The Artist agrees that the Purchaser shall have the right to use
the Artist's name, approved pictures, and other likenesses in
connection with the advertising and publicizing of the engagement
hereunder, but such use shall not be as an endorsement of any
product or service, or for the sale of any merchandise, except with
the Artist's written permission.  It is also agreed that all advertising,
promotion, etc. referring to the Artist will refer to him as
[Artists Stage Name].

8.  The Agency is acknowledged to have performed its obligations
upon the commencement of this  engagement.  The Agency shall not
be liable for any breach, default, or failure to perform by either the
Purchaser or the Artist.  No changes in this Agreement affecting the
Agency's commission of its payment shall be made without the 
written consent of the Agency.

9.  Purchaser agrees to be responsible for the actions of the
Purchaser's employees and patrons, and to reimburse the Artist for
any damages suffered due to the actions of the Purchaser's
employees or patrons, including harm to Artist's equipment while
such equipment is at the place of the performance.

10.  The Purchaser agrees that the services as outlined in Attachment
#1 shall not be canceled or modified, except by mutual, written
consent of both the Purchaser and the Artist.  The attempt by one
party to cancel this Agreement without the permission of the other
party shall be a breach of this Agreement.

11.   Should either party to this Agreement fail to carry out their
obligations under the terms of this Agreement, the other party may
bring legal proceedings to enforce the terms of this Agreement.
Interest shall be payable to the non- breaching party on the amount
of damages suffered, calculation at the rate of 12% per year (or the
maximum legal rate, if such rate is lower that 12% per year).  Such
interest shall begin to accrue as of the date of discovery or notice of
the breach of this Agreement by the non-breaching party.  Should
either party find it necessary to commence legal action in the case of
breach, or to otherwise enforce the terms of  this Agreement, the
prevailing party shall be entitled to an award of court costs, expenses
and attorney's fees incurred in such legal action, in addition to any
damages or other legal relief awarded.  The parties agree that venue
for any legal action by either party shall be in ****Your****
County, ****STATE****.  Both the Seller and the Purchaser agree to be
subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of ****Your**** County,
****STATE**** for purposes of any legal action.

12.  This Agreement cannot be assigned or transferred without the
written consent of both parties.  The waiver of any breach of this
Agreement shall not be deemed to be a continuing waiver.  This
Agreement contains the complete agreement between the parties.
No modification, or change to this Agreement shall be valid unless
made in writing, dated,, and signed by both parties,  The validity,
interpretation and enforcement of this Agreement shall be governed
by the laws of the State Of ****????****, regardless of the place
of performance by the Artist. The terms Artist and Purchaser as used
in this Agreement shall include and apply to the singular and the
plural, and to all genders.

13.  The person signing this Agreement on behalf of [Buyers Name]
hereby warrants and guarantees that he or she has the authority to
sign this Agreement and bind [Buyers Name] to the terms of this
Agreement, whether [Buyers Name] is an individual, partnership,
corporation or some other entity. All copies of this Agreement must
be signed and returned to ****YOUR COMPANY**** with the above
mentioned deposit, within 14 calendar days of [today's date]. One
counter signed copy will be returned to [Buyers Name] at the
address below.

	This contract must be returned by the Purchaser to the Agent.
One countersigned copy will be returned to the Purchaser's address

	Accepted and Agreed to by:

_________________________ 	_________________________

[Artist Name] for           [Signer For Buyer] for

[Artists Stage Name]        [Buyers Name]

[Artists Address]           [Buyers Address]


Attachment No. 1

Services are to include;

[Hours of Roving Per Day] Hours of roving entertainment per day by
[Artists Stage Name].

[No. of Stage Shows] Stage performance(s) by [Artists Stage Name].

All supplies used by [Artists Stage Name].

Times of performances will be as follows:


What To Do If You Have To Cancel

  • No matter what service you provide, clown, twister or musician, you may get sick and should have a plan to get a substitute if possible. My friend who is a guitar player had the misfortune of having their lead singer get very sick just before a wedding. The bride was frantic and he put out the word on the ‘net’ and got a last minute replacement, which (luckily) worked out well.
  • Think about someone you know who could substitute… Book someone else, even if you have to pay a little extra. In the long run it will help your business image. I’ve only had that happen once. I refunded the entire amount (immediately), and sent them a letter of apology. I felt so bad I even offered one free hour the next time they hired me for a party. Offering that, or a discount, helps. Offer the job to a friend, if they accept, call the client up to ask if a substitute clown/ balloon artist who’s just as good as you are would be acceptable, giving your reason(s) for canceling.
  • The substitute IS the best route to take, if you get a sub, you then can have the sub pick up the remainder of your fee, as their own, and decide how much (if any) of your deposit you want to give them, and how much you want to keep as a finder’s fee on the job. Others I know keep between 10-50% of the full price of the venue as a finder’s fee, depending on circumstances, etc.
  • I know many in the trade and can say I am on very friendly terms with most. I also know what kind of shows they like to do, as well as how good their shows are. If the need to cancel were to arise, I would definitely go down the list I have in my head and ask if anyone could fill in for me (follow this with calling the client to make sure they understood the situation and were willing to trust my judgment).
  • On many occasions, I’ve been called on to substitute. I think there are several reasons I get picked on as frequently as I do.
    1. The people who normally ask me to do this know that afterward, I will NOT go back to the client and try to push my services. Some may feel that doing so would make good business sense, but I feel it's tacky. If my friends are out creating clients, and feel they can trust me to help them out in a pinch… then I should demonstrate that their trust is well placed. I have no problem creating my own client base and have a low opinion of those who feel the need to leech off of others. At the same time, those who do ask me to fill in have always made it clear that if the client should contact ME, then it’s obvious that they like my performance better and want me. In that situation, they expect me to take the job. (any time I’ve taken a job for someone else, I’ve always asked for a pile of their cards to hand out, in all but one case I’ve been turned down and given the above statement as a reason). Even then, I make some comment about the other magician “oh, you weren’t able to contact ‘Joe’?”. I want to make sure that there is NO doubt that I am not trying to steal what my be someone else’s established client.
    2. I do this out of friendship, not out of greed or one-up- manship. I have no care as to what they had promised to do the show for. If I’m available I’ll do my best to help one of my friends. (worst case so far, traveled 40 miles to do a show for 50 C-shells. Person was also in worse need for cash than I normally am, so I insisted they take the money for the show)
    3. If I believe the show is out of my league, I’ll be honest, beg off, and try to help find another replacement.
Even if someone or their employee has a last minute problem, I think they
still owe it to the customer and the sake of our profession to find someone
else to fill in.  After all they probably have better resources than the
person they dumped.  Further that is just plain good manners to say nothing
for professionalism. 

When a clown or another performer calls in sick I do everything I can to
"cover" the job.  Within my company I always have a floater that is not
scheduled that day for this very reason. I also have a very friendly
relationship with other entertainment agencies in the area.  We are very
helpful in these situations, although rare, and are always willing to help one
another.  If you make friends with your competitors it makes these situations
a lot easier to deal with.  Good luck all!  Remember, the $$$ is secondary.
Don't disappoint the kids.  If you have to give away a show to another company
you will keep the customer happy, your competitor and the children.

For myself, if I am unable to make a booking (which has only happened 3 times
in my career due to extreme illness the day of) I either find a suitable
replacement, or if I am unable to do that, I return their deposit and do a
booking for them at another time for no charge at all.  It is my way of
showing them good faith and that I do care very much and want to make up to
them any disappointment they had due to my not being able to be there.  This
has really worked out extremely well for me and those few clients that I had
to do that with ended up singing my praises for being a professional of
integrity, rather than someone who just blew them off.

What To Do If It Rains

  • What do you party people do in case of rain/snow/weather problems? Do you give rain checks if you’ve agreed to the party? I always insist that at a minimum there is a rain date scheduled and let them know that I or another performer will be available on that second date. Unless the rain date is at a time that I’m certain I won’t have a conflict (I don’t get many mid-week, evening gigs) I won’t promise that I’ll leave the date open. If they haven’t considered alternate plans yet, I usually recommend they rent a tent or have some place to go indoors before I ever mention having a second date. In most cases, they do have some sort of indoor space reserved. It’s easier for them if they can count on the event taking place on the scheduled date.
  • In the case of snow blocking the roads, or an earthquake or other such thing, I figure that if I’m trapped inside, I wouldn’t have been able to get to any other event I had scheduled at that time either, and I certainly don’t hold them to anything. I do make sure to let them know that the price I gave them will hold if they choose to reschedule.Also, for those events where snow is an issue, I do make sure to go unless they cancel. So far I’ve never canceled on anyone. (I have the line on my contract that says in case of illness or other detention I’ll do my best to find a replacement for myself, but so far I haven’t done that.).
  • If I am doing any parties in the spring and summer, the most important thing to do is ask if the party will be outside. If mom says yes, then ask what kind of arrangements will be made in case of inclement weather. The same goes for corporate gigs and larger fairs that may be outdoors, you have to be prepared to ask the question because most people planning a party assume that the day will be sunny, 75 degrees with no wind and no bugs (LOL). If they know what they are doing they will already have a rain date or other plans for inside. That’s when you’ve got to decide if you want to block yourself out for 2 days just in case. You may want to talk to the balloon twisters in the area to possibly work out a reciprocal situation. For example: You get the booking and the rain date is set (just in case), you may already be booked for that day or you want to keep you options open – that’s when you say to the client that although you can be at their party on the fist date, you can not guarantee that you will be the performer for the rain date. However you will make arrangements and be sure they have a qualified entertainer. This statement lets them know that you are a professional (professional in this case means you never leave a client hanging) and that you have a good network base of performers – Hey, maybe next year they will need two twisters?!?!
  • My company has a simple solution to rainouts… but it is tricky in that it involves a performers’ common sense and amenability… We agree that if it rains at an agreed upon hour on the day in question, the performer will not come and will reschedule at no charge or at a nominal fee. If there is no such agreement and the performer shows up with no audience in attendance, the fee is forfeit. But we always heartily recommend a rainout venue of some sort.
  • My twisting/ performance contract has a clause about inability to perform due to illness, weather or acts of nature. We don’t really have snow here in Anaheim, but we do have Earthquakes that shut down freeways for 6 months at a time. If the event is scheduled to be outside, I do ask the client if they have a alternative site if it rains. If they do not, or the event is to be canceled if it rains, I explain that I will issue a ‘rain check’, good for another event at the same rates.
In this state (AZ), if you call it a deposit, it is refundable.  If you wish
it to be a non-refundable "deposit," you must call it a "retainer."  I don't
know about other states...

I believe the contract should be written for your own needs. For example. I 
call mine agreements with the customers. I indicated what services I am 
providing, the percentage I want as a deposit. The deposit is to secure the 
date and time for that day and also to order their supplies. I also charge 
for a waiting period. For ex: A customer gives me 50% deposit, the 
remaining balance should be given anytime prior the event or the day of the 
event. If the customers choose to pay the balance on the date of the event 
they have to make sure someone is there to give me the balance prior to the 
job being finished. If the decor job is complete and I have to wait for the 
customer in order to receive the balance I charge them for that time. Also 
indicate, cancellation what period of time you are willing to give for 
cancellation. If you go into the Balloon headquarters they have alot of 
important infor that may help you.

I purchased Business Law Partner on CD Rom for my computer and build my
own custom contracts for every job. I just use the general contract,
products, and modify it. You pick what state the laws will be in effect
for. I have added my own "exclusive balloons" clause due to the fact
that I brought in a balloon bride and groom to a wedding and found the
whole place decorated with someone else's balloons! Never again will
that happen to me.  The clause includes a place for the person to
initial that they will be paying me a $100 additional fee if there are
any balloons besides mine at that particular event. So far no one has
ever complained and I point it out specifically every time so they can't
say they didn't see it.

The deposit is covered with this phrase "Non-Refundable Booking Fee".
It counts toward the final total balance, but they lose it if they
cancel on us. We tell them that we only do1 wedding a day and that fee
covers the booking of that particular date just for them.

QBN tape #5, The Business Side of Balloons, tells you the five things you 
should have in your contract:
1. Description of Work (be specific)
2. Payment terms and conditions
3. Strike down arrangements (charge if you have to do it)
4. Bad weather policy (for outdoor events)
   Design change fees 
5. Ownership of materials and what they are responsible should they become 
lost or damaged during the event.


My contracts cover me pretty well to the point that people make arrangements 
with me in advance for the pickup of my poles, bases and frames.  It insures 
that they won't be charged and I don't lose anything.

How do you do you cover yourself when you're half done with a job and
for some reason you realize that it can't be completed?
Our contract states that we cannot be held liable
for actions by others, or weather conditions beyond your control. 
In such a case you retain the right to abort the project at any time should
you believe that to continue may damage the reputation of the client and/or
your company. Compensation must be fairly calculated and based upon the
amount of work completed and financial loss incured prior to the decision
to abort; and subject to auditing by a mutually agreeable arbitrator in the
event the client disputes the compensation claim.

As a rule we request a reasonable deposit at the TIME OF PLACING ORDER 
This is the client's firm commitment to the order. 
Make it quite clear that PAYMENT IN FULL is required PRIOR to the
date of the event. (everyone has a credit card).  We say the job remains an
ESTIMATE ONLY until a deposit is paid.  The materials will not even be
packed until the job is classified as an order!

When large companies ask us for 30 day accounts, we say that our small
business is not partial to financing BIG business. ALL large corporations
have the means to pay at a moments notice if necessary.  And do you need
work so bad that you are prepared to wait 4,6 or 8 weeks to get paid?

I recently worked at a street fair   
Because the fair was organized to raise money, they could not 
pay me outright. Therefore I asked for and got a contract that
specifically prohibited any other clowns, twisters or magicians
at the fair.  Also the participating businesses were prohibited
from hiring any entertainment of that sort. That way I could 
work for tips and guarantee my pay.

I also know a balloon artist who includes a clause that, 
if she finds any other balloons in the area where she is 
contracted to decorate/twist, she can leave and still get paid because 
she does good work and does not want to have shabby work 
mistaken for hers. Good business sense. 
We are in the business of smiles but we all
have an investment to protect at times.

You may consider placing a clause in your contract that the business owner
is responsible for ALL permits & permissions associated with each job.  I
can also say that you are just one step ahead of the game now (and for your
experience; so are we all) and you might just want to look into all the laws
that pertain to the types of things you offer, and create a little pamphlet
for your customers so that they do not unknowingly violate the law when
using balloon decor and then know where to get permits & where you get them,
etc.  You can then also promote yourself as being a professional who is
familiar with all things that affect your clients, as it relates to your

Outdoor balloon decor job...... don't forget the most critical thing of all. 
Write a CANCELATION / INCLEMENT WEATHER CLAUSE in your contract with your client. 
Don't let a rained out concert leave you with a pile of stock and equipment 
purchased, and no money from the customer. Unusually high wind on the day must 
give you the option to alter the decor design and content if deemed necessary 
by your installation crew.

Contingency plans:  
What will happen if it rains?  
If there's a rain date,  who will contact you to reschedule?  
Can the balloon decor can be brought indoors? 
Because inflation is likely to occur on site on the same day, you can 
be somewhat flexible in what is to be created with the materials at hand.   
Do they want you to return and primp it each day?  
Who's going to remove it?