Twelve Points for Negotiating Your Yoga Event Contract
Contracts provide a process for setting boundaries, expectations, and creating clarity between two people. They define what is needed for everyone involved to consider the event was successful. Creating clear contracts makes for good communication, good yoga and good business.
Flow through the details below like you do your yoga practice – with intention, movement, and breath. As the event teacher, it’s always a good idea to discuss the details with your location host, such as a studio. Be sure to include the following points in your contract:
- Names of the Contracting Parties
Who are the legally-bound parties of the contract? Both the teacher and the location host could be individuals or businesses, such as an LLC or corporation. Know which entity you are dealing with so the contract is as accurate and valid as possible.
- Contact Name, Email and Phone Number
Your contract should include this contact information for all people, businesses and locations involved in your event (not including attendees).
- Event Name and Description
Clearly state the event title and description, which will be used for marketing. If you are hosting a multi-day event, include a break-down of what curriculum and skills will be covered each day.
- Event Date, Location and Time
Confirm the date(s) and time(s) of the event. If there are multiple sessions or parts, give the time and description for each. Specify the event location, as it may be different than the host’s address. Clarify your arrival time, allowing ample time for setup.
- Price of the Event
Studio hosts and local producers are good resources for determining the price of your event; they usually have a good idea for pricing based on their local student base and market. Teachers can also look at other local events to get a general idea of a price. Festival and conference tickets are typically sold as day and weekend passes, and are not stated in the contract.
- Teaching Fee
There are three common ways to be compensated as the teacher of a yoga event:
- Percentage Split: you receive a pre-arranged percentage of the event's new profit (enrollment income minus agreed expenses). This is the most common payment method.
- Flat Fee: you receive a set payment, regardless of how many people attend your event.
- Either Percentage Split or Flat Fee: you receive whichever is greater. With this option, if the event does well, you make more money
Percentage fees can be split any way you wish (e.g., 50%/50% or 70%/30%). When including percentage splits in your contract, be sure to designate which percentage goes to you and which goes to the location host.
- Deductible Expenses
When the teaching fee is a percentage split of the net profit, it is very important for teachers to define which expenses can be deducted from the gross income to determine the net.
Clarifying expenses will prevent surprises when the event’s profit and loss are calculated. The location host may deduct all kinds of expenses you may not expect. Some examples include:
- Marketing costs (postcards, flyers, Facebook ads, etc.),
- Flights and transportation,
- Hotel accommodations,
- Credit card fees, and
- Space & Supplies Requirement
Be specific about your space requirements (e.g., capacity, heat and wall space). Specify any special supplies you need, such as a stereo system with auxiliary connection or a dry erase board. Determine if you or the location host will provide these items.
- Prop Requirements
Be sure to check with the location host about their available yoga props. Most studios have props, but make sure they have enough for your plans. Festivals and conferences typically do not provide props.
- Marketing Expectations
Discuss and define each person’s role in marketing the event and set deadlines for promotion campaigns. Be specific, indicating who will cover the cost of marketing materials such as posters, postcards and Facebook ads. Be sure to align your expectations with your location host’s typical marketing.
- Payment Terms
This is where you define payment deadlines. Flat rates are normally paid at the conclusion of the event, as well as most festivals and conferences. However, for percentage splits, your host will need to complete their bookkeeping to determine the split. Set clear deadlines or time frames for completion of bookkeeping and payment.
For example, your contract may give the location host five days after the event to do bookkeeping and send a statement to the teacher, and five more days to send payment. Depending on your location host, they may be able to provide a booking deposit or advance for expenses that require payment before the event, such as airline tickets.
- Cancellation Policy
Should your event need to be cancelled, set cancellation terms are and determine who will cover the loss. Typical reasons for cancelling an event include low enrollment or emergencies. Usually the party who cancels (teacher or location host) will reimburse the other party for their expenses before the cancellation. You can ask the location host for a separate cancellation fee to compensate you for your time.
Remember, creating contracts is a practice; it gets easier with experience. Use these key points and remember to breathe to avoid getting overwhelmed as you begin to craft your contract.