Post # 1
I’m needing some advice with regards to a vendor I’m dealing with — my florist. I sent in a deposit back in October 2007 for a florist to do my flowers for my October 2008 wedding – and mentioned that I wanted to sign a contract sometime in the spring. She mentioned that she hasn’t done a contract before but would come up with "something" for us to sign.
I took it upon myself to draft a contract that she and I could sign once we agreed upon and made revisions as appropriate. Basically it just detailed what would be included (depending on what’s in season and available), what not to include, what items she’s designing for me, times for pick up, etc.
She sent me an email back today with the following note:
So I was surprised by the formality of the contract you drafted.
As I had mentioned in an earlier email, I have never had to use a
contract so to see something so formal kind of scared me. Therefore, I
called my lawyer and just to have her read over the contract and
provide legal counsel would have cost a couple of hundred dollars. I
didn’t want to go that route so I simply asked her if I should go ahead
and sign it. She advised against it, especially given that I’ve never
had the need for contracts in the past.
never had a bride complain about her wedding flowers in the 9 years
that I’ve been in business. I am not worried about creating beautiful
bouquets for you but I am worried about all the legal ramifications
that go along with contracts. We’ve done weddings with floral budgets
in the tens of thousands of dollars and we are recommended by some of
the top venues in the Capital, all without contracts. I am sorry to
tell you that I don’t want to change that policy now.
guess I wasn’t thinking it all through when I agreed that I would come
up with ‘something’ and I apologize for that. I really hope that you
can forget about a contract but if you cannot I totally understand and
I will send you a cheque for your deposit.
Again Linzerella, I apologize for my lack of foresight and I will await your decision.
Talk soon –
So I’m not sure what to do. On the one hand, I trust her to create beautiful flowers for us, and I really like her style of floral design. On the other hand, for something like this, I’d really like to have a contract.
What would you do?
Post # 3
You should point out to her that a contract would protect both of you, not just her. To quote the judge on The People’s Court-we call people with no contract plaintiffs and defendants. If she’s this reluctant to give you a written agreement, I’d look for someone. else.
Post # 4
she contacted a lawyer…..good grief.
I agree with nina, point out its to protect both parties and that you are not questioning her artistic abilities with the flowers, but to make sure you are both on the same page design wise and BUDGET wise. Without a contract I would think it would be easy for her to surprise you with an invoice way off the estimate price.
I’d seek another florist…or at the least ask to speak with 3-5 of her last customers and ask them how they dealt with the "no contract" thing.
Post # 5
Wow, that’s ridiculous. I can’t believe she responded that way — a contract protects you *and* her, and it seems naiive that she’d think otherwise.
Post # 6
I agree with everyone else, I would find another florist, as painful as that might be. I had a contract for every one of my vendors and everyone had the piece of mind.
Post # 7
It’s difficult. We’re in discussion with a very small, very local florist. We’ve signed contracts with all of our other vendors, including our friend, who is our photographer. I’m not certain that she will provide a contract, which I’m a bit uncomfortable with. If your florist is as highly regarded and recommended as she says, then you just need to decide ifyou’re comfortable going forward with a contract. One possibility would be to compromise and have a less formal contract or a signed quote instead of a full contract.
Post # 8
I agree with others and would look for another florist, it’s simply to protect yourself from anything that *may* happen. Planning your wedding is stressful enough, so in any situation that you can safeguard somehow and have a written agreement on is helpful whereas this florist does not see that.
Post # 9
I’m with missm – and I think I might take that advice as well! Our "florist" is actually the owner of a flower farm and does all the work completely herself. Her work is beautiful, reasonably priced, and creative. She is exactly what I was looking for. However, she almost got scared when I asked about a contract. I said all the "right" things about contracts benefiting both sides, just wanting to get it in writing, etc., but she was really nervous, saying, "if something happens to me on the way there, I don’t have anyone else who can work for me, and I don’t want to lose my farm." It wasn’t a guilt trip… just really honest and earnest. I spoke later to the owner of our venue, who said that this woman is SO reliable and is just like that, and if I don’t feel comfortable with it I should find someone else… unfortunately, it would be about twice as expensive and not even close to what I’m looking for. So I decided to keep it quiet from my lawyer dad.
The one thing I do find really strange is that you did have to send her a deposit with no contract. Honestly, I think it was a bit of a mistake on your part to send the check with nothing in exchange, but I of course understand that you wanted her to hold the date. In my situation, I think our "flower lady" probably feels that by not signing a contract, she forfeits her right to ask for an initial deposit.
This, unfortunately, is one of the problems I’ve found dealing with local/smaller vendors (which all of my vendors are)… they’re often (certainly not always) much friendlier and more inclined to be easygoing about things like this. Of course, sometimes that generalization can be totally untrue. In some ways, it’s great, because I’ve become very friendly with my vendors. But when it gets too friendly, they might try to take advantage of you. Missm’s suggestion of getting a signed quote is, I think, a really good compromise.
Post # 10
How about using your husband or dad as the scapegoat? Tell her that he insists on getting something signed and that if a contract makes her uncomfortable then a signed quote (per suggestions above) would be ok.
Post # 11
This florist is being very nice about giving you back your deposit. It’s not too late to go looking for another florist now for your October wedding so PLEASE try. This has red X’s and "Stay away" all over it. Don’t do it without a contract. You have no recourse if anything were to go wrong..Do you want that risk?
Post # 12
Did your contract have scary legal lingo in it? Maybe that’s what scared her away. As a compromise, maybe you can write a "plain English" contract? This would have the benefit of being understandable to her without having to pay a lawyer to review the contract…
It could be really simple and read something like this:
The Florist agree to provide flowers for Linzerella’s wedding. Here are the flowers that we agreed upon:
* and that
In exchange, Linzerella will pay the amount of $x.
The Florist Linzerella
Post # 13
I totally agree with JCM9608.
Post # 14
absolutely find another florist. I don’t understand why she is so adamant against it. 99% of service providing businesses use contracts, why on earth would she not? It seems rather sketchy….especially that her lawyer is advising her not to do it. It means she is concerned with what happens if she doesn’t do what she is supposed to do according to the contract. so if you have nothing in writing, she can simply not get your flowers, or charge you whatever she wants, etc. I would be very wary of any vendor that didn’t have a contract.
Post # 15
Ummm, I looked at 3 different florists, and none of them would work with contracts. Maybe it is where I am located? I don’t know that if this is a respected florist that you need one.
I know, everybody disagrees with me. I just don’t get the "contracts for everything" idea. When you put down your deposit, you are reserving them. If something happens that day, no flowers ect, the contract would get you your money back, but you would still need a lawyer and possibly a court. Why not just take them to small claims court at this point without a lawyer?
Oh, well. No contracts for florists, photographer, or venue (verbal contract), and my wedding went off without a hitch.
Post # 16
I think Candi1024 is right – it totally depends on the area. It’s (perhaps unfortunately) very normal for vendors in smaller towns with less of a wedding industry not to use contracts.