This free henna contract template is being provided for the benefit of fellow henna artists who are working on improving their businesses.
For more business resources for artists, please join us at https://www.facebook.com/thrivingartistgroup
This contract is written by Heather Caunt-Nulton (Henna by Heather), and takes into account her over twenty years of experience as a henna artist. It is being provided to you so that you may more quickly find success as a professional henna artist, avoiding many of the frustrations that most professional henna artists experience. May it help you build a successful henna business! Please share your success stories at https://www.facebook.com/thrivingartistgroup
Here's the email I wrote upon its release:
Book weddings, parties, and other events and get paid with ease!
The fun part about being a henna artist is doing henna on people. But that's just a small part of what professional henna artists actually do. From marketing their business, to booking gigs, to managing their calendars, to doing their accounting, professional henna artists wear a lot of different business management hats.
One of everyone's LEAST favorite hat to wear is the one where we negotiate terms of service with a potential customer. How can we make this process less painful and more successful?? Where is that just-right line between asking for what you need in order to run your business smoothly and successfully, but not annoying the client or scaring them off? It's a tough thing to figure out, and most of us do it through a LONG series of trial and error.
Well, I was thinking...what if I could help fellow henna artists avoid some of that painful learning-through-failure, trial-and-error process? How much easier has my life been made by the various tips and tricks that other event-centric creative professionals (henna artists, photographers, face painters, DJs, and so many others) shared with me? A LOT easier. So much easier that I can't even begin to imgine if I'd be here without their help.
In an effort to pay forward all the goodness that has been shared with me over the years, I wanted to share the one single, private, client-facing resource I've created that helps me the most in my business.
It's my contract. Here's just a portion of what it does for me:
- Makes sure clients see me as professional
- Reduces the average amount of time I spend waiting for payment after time is up at a gig by over 95%
- Ensures I've got comfortable working conditions and ample light for all gigs, without having to lug around my own setup
- Allows for potential overtime (and therefore more $) that I would not have even known was possible without the info provided in the contract
- Cuts down time spent on pre-event communication with potential clients.
- Ensures I am paid in the most efficient way possible (and don't lose 3-4% to credit card companies...if that doesn't seem like a lot... remember 3-4% of a 365 day year is a two week vacation!)
- more than this, but I think that should be enough to convince you :)
SO.... I want to give you a copy of my contract for free. The henna community has helped me so much in my growth as an artist, professional, and businesswoman, and I want to continue to do that for everyone else in return. So, I'm giving you this free copy of my contract template. Just fill it in with your own info and voila, you're ready to book events like a boss!
Just add this $0.00 item to your shopping cart, place your "order", and download from the "order" confirmation page. This is the most efficient way I can figure to get the resources into the hands of those who I have crossed paths with somehow in the course of my growth as a henna artist, while also ensuring that it doesn't get into the hands of content-stealing bot type things that just scrape websites for juicy content and then repost it on their own sites. (boooooo, hiss - don't we all just hate those??? Usually they're stealing our images...but they steal good written content just as much!).
Alright, enough explanation.... please make good use of this free henna contract template! Also, feel free to forward this email or share the link with any real, actual, non-content-theft-bot henna artists you might know.
Here's a transcript of the video that explains the rationale behind different parts of the contract. Note that it is SUPER conversational, and thus almost a little weird to post as is, as it reads strangely and relies a lot on visual cues for emphasis and whatnot... but hopefully it can serve as a written reference in case you care to come back to it and don't want to watch the video again, or if it's better for you to read than listen.
In this video, we’re going to talk about contracts for henna artists.
When you do an event, it is a very good idea to have a contract in hand before you show up, just to lock it down. So in this video, we’re going to go over what, in general, is in my basic contract. In another video, which is going to be part of my Business of Henna class, we’ll go into the rationale behind why and other things you may or may not want to include in your contract, how to set your prices, and all that good stuff. But in this one, I just wanted to share with you what’s in my contract. I will happily send you a copy of my contract, with my name taken out so you can put your own. You just visit ArtisticAdornment.com and then look under the Freebies section, I’m going to have a place where you can download the contract. You’ll go through the regular checkout process, but it’ll be completely free. I just would like to have your name and email address so I can stay in touch with you about henna business things in the future.
So, all that said, here is what’s in my basic contract:
Across the top, I’ve got my business name: Henna by Heather – and it says “and Associates”, just so I can send other henna artists out to the event if that’s what I need to do. The contract does explain that a bit. And then you’ve got a space for your email address, phone number, and then it says “Client Information and Contract”.
Client and Event Details
It’s got a space for the date, and then it’s got a space for all this information from the client: their name, their phone number, their email address, their mailing address / billing address. And then there’s a note for what the occasion is, what the event date is, and what the event location is, which is often different from their mailing address. Then there’s a space for the start time, the timeframe that you’re going to be there – like for example, six to ten PM, and four hours. Or maybe it says like 6-11pm with four hours of henna and a one hour break, or whatever. And then there’s a space to write time and number of hours together, and a little multiplication sign, times my hourly rate, which, as of when I wrote this contract and edited it right before COVID hit our lives – at the beginning of 2020, it was to be $195 an hour, which is what it had been for the last year as well. And we’ll talk about pricing – how to price, why to price a certain way, and all that, also in another video. Maybe a little bit in a video here and then at great length in the course. Anyway, time and number of hours times your hourly rate equals dollar sign and then a space for you to write the amount of dollars there. And then there’s just a little section that says Notes, where you write something like notes about what goes in a bride’s design, or notes about the fact that maybe it’s a surprise party and therefore you should approach in some certain way that you’ve discussed, or notes on how many clients there are is a very good one to put in there… You may want to note how many people are going to be expected to get henna, and how much time you’re going to spend with each of them, and just facts about how many you expect. This way, if it’s going to end up being any more than that, you have grounds to explain why it’s going to take longer than your contract said, and therefore you’ll have to stay a little longer and they’ll pay a little more.
So that’s the top section. That changes every time. And then the rest of it does not change. Some of it is for the client to fill in, but most of it is just words that are there all the time. This contract that I’ve written up, it strikes a balance between saying everything you need to cover yourself and make sure you and the client understand each other and like what’s to be expected, and not scaring them away with like too much legalese. Tehre’s basically no legalese in my contract, it’s very much just straightforward English words in normal sentences you might actually say. Cuz we don’t want to scare the client away with the contract, we just want to make sure that we have an understanding.
So in the part that is next, it just says “Henna by Heather and Associates agree to:” and then a whole bunch of things, and then “Client agrees to:” and a whole bunch of things, then space to sign, and details about how to get the contract back to me – which I might be changing. We’ll talk about that when we get there.
The Artist Agrees to:
So in the “Henna by Heather and Associates agree to:” section, it starts with “Number one – provide henna art services at the date and time above.” And then it says “unless another kind of body art is indicated in the notes section above,” and that I’ve just left like that, because sometimes I’m doing face painting, or sometimes I’m doing hand painted on temporary tattoos with something like Temptu, or I’m doing mica tattoos, or I’m doing gilding gel…but most of the time I’m doing henna… and I feel like I want the client to know that that’s what I really do, even if I’m doing something else.
And then number two… Henna by Heather and Associates agree to: use only 100% natural henna paste made with the leaves of the henna plant. Paste is mixed from scratch in a 24-48 hour process using the finest henna imported from India, North Africa, or the Middle East. So that’s basically there for two reasons: so that they understand that we are using natural henna, and we are legit, and we are safe and good…and also that mixing henna is a pain. I think it’s important that they know that it’s quite a process. So if I have mixed up a batch of henna specifically because I’m going to their event, like, and then I don’t go to their event, then I just spent a bunch of time minding my batch of henna and doing a bunch of steps for it for no real immediate need. Sure, you can freeze the henna cones, as long as you mix them in such a way that that works, but mostly…they just need to know that it’s a process. It takes some time. And the 24 hours is the most common amount of time I let my paste sit, but some years, if Jamila is slow to dye release, sometimes it is 48 plus hours.
Alright, so next, we’ve got number three: “Henna by Heather and Associates agree to:” work with respect for your priorities. And then it says “choose one:” and then there’s little places to put checkmarks for either option one or option two. Option one: if available to do so artist(s) will stay until everyone has had the henna they would like. Best when guest count is unknown and may exceed quote above, or if you’d like to allow people to get whatever designs they’d like without limiting the time per guest. Host will pay for any overtime in cash at the end of services.” Or, number two, “artist(s) will finish promptly at end time. Best when budget or timing is the primary concern. “ So just the quick version of why this is in here is that so they have to decide, in advance, whether they are allowing for the possibility of the time to go over or not. So that that is a decision they have already made, and they have already made it very clear which way they would prefer to go. So this way I am not at the event, and there’s always some extra people, and the event could go over if it were allowed to. If like people come late, they didn’t realize or care what time henna was happening, or they didn’t realize or care that there would be a very long line and it would take a long time to get to everyone, and by the time they got around to coming to the henna table, it was time for the henna artist to leave. Things like that. So at almost every gig, it would be very very very easy to stay overtime and not get paid for it. So this just makes it clear that either we’re going to end on time…or we’re going to not end on time, but you must pay extra. So that’s why that’s there. And I would say that it’s like 33/66…like most people, if you actually ask them, are like, “yes, please, end at the end time, because I have a budget, and I thought about that when deciding to hire you, and I want to stay within it, thanks.” And then like a third or so are just like no, give people whatever they want – I want people to be happy. So this just lets them express which way they want it to be.
Next we’ve got number four. Again “Henna by Heather and associates agree to:” upon written reply to the emailing of this contract indicating client would indeed like to move forward, artist will reserve the date and time above for the following amount of time while waiting for contract and payment (in bold) to arrive if the date and time is indeed still available by the time the reply is received. And we’ve got three little bullet points. With more than 30 days’ notice for the event, the event date and time will be held for one week. With 15-29 days’ notice for the event, the event date and time will be held for three days. With 14 or less days’ notice, the event date and time cannot be held, and artist takes bookings on a first come, first served basis.” So, short version of why this is in here is because clients would really like if they could just express a vague interest in hiring you, and then you just hold that date for them with no real promise that they’re actually going to do it, and no actual confirmation or signed contract… This just makes it clear that, you know, in order for me to actually promise to be there, you must promise me that I’m hired…in the form of signing this contract and giving me half the money. Because otherwise, if you’re holding the date… Like, this is the whole reason you have a contract. You want to only hold the date if indeed you know you are working that day. Because otherwise, the vast majority of your henna appointments are going to be on weekend dates in the summer…and that’s a very limited number of dates. Your time is super precious and you can’t be holding out and waiting to see if maybe someone will book it, and then tell someone else who definitely would book it – paid in full, that day, they don’t even care like they just want you – they would book right now but you’re holding the date for this maybe person… That’s just not good for your success. So, there’s that.
The Client Agrees To:
The next section is what the client agrees to. <obvious wink> Really a lot of what the client is actually agreeing to is in the “artists agree to” part also… But you know, it’s saying that we will agree to do all the good things, once you tell us which of the good things you want us to do, more or less. And then the client agrees to section includes:
Number one – and this is in bold – make a 50% retainer payment and then not in bold – to reserve appointment date and time. Payment ensures artist availability at date and time indicated above. As our artists will be planning their schedule around your event, this payment is nonrefundable.” And then it says “Note amount” and has a little blank space where they write the amount, because I know that they can do math and know what half of the number at the top is. And I want them to process it and write it down so they’re writing out the number, so they know that’s the amount that needs to go in the payment they’re about to send me.
And then number two is “Pay remaining balance at least two weeks before the event.” And I’ll talk about this more in the other longer video, but basically, I will pass on here that no client has ever had a problem with “pay the remaining balance at least two weeks before the event” and no self-respecting professional in so many other fields would work without that clause in there. Like high level professionals of other things like your DJ, your caterer, your photographer, they all make you pay upfront. So why shouldn’t the henna artist? There, that’s the mini version of my soapbox.
So then it says “for simplicity’s sake, you are welcomed to make payment in full when returning this contract, if you would like” – which actually a lot of people do choose to do – “If you have paid in full, please write “PAID IN FULL here:” and then there’s space for them to write that. “If you would prefer to make the balance payment two weeks before the event, please note the amount and date due here, as well as in your own records.” And then it has amount (space), date (space). So again, since this contract requires them to interact with it, and to write things down in it so that they are committed and they actually have to have read it, and they can’t just sign it and not read it.
Next thing, number three, “Client agrees to provide a comfortable working environment. This includes a minimum of – in bold – a table and two chairs – not bold per artist and – bold – enough light to read / paint by where the henna is to be done. For outdoor events, this means protection from both sun and rain. And then in parentheses, a ten by ten tent or equivalent at a minimum – and an agreement to move the event indoors in case of inclement weather. And that’s in there because you would not believe – or maybe you would – the number of times that like – the client thinks it’s a really great idea to have the henna artist like out in the sunshine, and they – it’s like an eight hour day – especially at a college, this seems to happen… and it’s a long day, and there’s no coverage from the sun at all. Just eight hours working. So like I will get very sunburned in that situation, and it’s not good. I’m like too busy hennaing all the people to like be mindful of putting on sunblock or whatever. It’s not that convenient to wear like a floppy giant hat so I don’t get sunburned. It’s just not a comfortable thing. Also, it’ll be like raining, or freezing cold in the spring or the fall, and the plan is to have the henna artist work outdoors, and they’re just like yeah yeah it’s fine… and meanwhile, all the people at the event are inside except for when they want to come get henna, when they come out and then go back in immediately. There have just been too many times that that’s what’s happening. And I was miserable and not able to do my work as well… So I just put a thing: need to go inside if it’s not nice out, or please like, if it is pretty nice out, have like a tent out for us. Anyway. It’s also there to make it so that the client doesn’t expect that I’m going to sit on the floor or in some other crazy arrangement, or to like sit side by side on a couch and like awkwardly twist my back while I’m working on people, or anything like that. And it just makes it so that they just get a table, two regular chairs, I don’t have to lug around a giant setup, and it’s just much easier. Like pretty much every space I’ve ever worked in has had the ability to have a table, even if a small one, and two chairs – even if those chairs are like stools or something like little folding chairs or whatever… But chairs and a table are really important for my back integrity and health, so I do ask for that. And like when they see this – when they see this they’re like “oh, of course – of course – this is completely reasonable!”
So, next point, “client agrees that, number for, if ample free parking is not available, provide a parking space or reimburse the cost of parking in cash upon artist’s arrival. This one is mostly for you city dwellers, where parking is hard to get and sometimes the only available parking that’s easily available is like a meter that runs out in two hours. So you would have to like pay the meter, go work, leave after like an hour and a half, walk down the street, go feed the meter again, in order to not get a ticket for your regular two-hour gig, which is what a lot of mine are. And then there’s just no way to make that work sensibly, and the chance that you’ll forget and get a ticket are super high, and also you don’t want to waste tons of time parking far off just because the client happens to have a location that is super expensive to park in or hard to get to. This is mostly a concern for me when I work in the city of Boston or Cambridge. Most other cities it’s fine and it’s not such a big deal. But anywhere where there’s like a lot of tourists, or there’s just a lot of really big business going on and parking is insanely expensive, you just want to make sure that it’s available and they’re going to pay for it. Because your hourly rate assumes like a normal job, right? And you shouldn’t have to include like potentially a fifty dollar parking garage bill into your few hundreds of dollars fee to work the event, and like roll that into everyone’s even just cuz some have this really high parking situation. So, again, everyone who reads that pretty much thinks that it’s really reasonable, but if you don’t put it in the contract, and you get to the event and then is when you realize that parking is very expensive and very awful, and then you ask them to pay for it, then they are mad. They do not enjoy that at all. When you do it in advance, they’re like “well obviously, this is a given I need to work there”, then they’re like “oh, yeah, of course, here…we’ll get you a spot in our private garage or whatever” and it’s really no big deal. But if you ask after the agreement has already been finalized, and then you want more… that doesn’t really go that well. So better to just try to think of everything you might need and ask upfront rather than mention it later. That’s really what most of this is. This whole contract, which again, I will send you for free, laid out just as I send it out, for free, if you go to ArtisticAdornment.com and go to the Freebies section there. This contract is the result of now twenty one years of trial and error of having all the weird bad things to me, and like see to what degree people get annoyed and like changing the wording just a little bit, feeling people out, tweaking it a little bit… so that it’s exactly the right balance of like making my needs and requirements and position and whatever known, and not be too demanding or annoying in the client’s perspective. So it’s a fine little line to walk, but I find that this works really well for that.
The End Bits
So last things on this agreement are – so it says “Henna by Heather and Associates agree to” blah blah blah blah blah – “Client agrees to” blah blah blah blah blah – then there’s a space.
“If there are any changes to be made to this agreement, they are to be discussed before the agreement is signed.” Which is – you would not believe that that has to be written there – but I have had clients who will just like mark up the contract and like change everything in it, and change the amount they’re gonna owe me to be less, and change the hours I’m gonna be there to be more and then just sign it and send it to me like “here it is, I signed it” but it’s a totally different agreement now. That’s not cool. That only happened like three times in twenty one years, but those times made me very mad, so that little line remains, just so that I never have to get quite that mad again. So then there’s just a space for the client’s signature and the date.
On Signatures and Contract Legality
To be a legal contract, honestly, it would need to be signed by both parties. So there is something to be said for making it so you have to sign it back and send it back to them. But, if you are me, you are very very busy in the henna season, and like the chances that you’re actually going to sue one of your clients are quite low, uh, approaching zero slash actually zero… but you just want to have this agreement to have them have read it, and understand everything that you need, and know that they have to pay you, and sign it – to show that they understood. So if you need a legally binding contract for your own peace of mind or whatever, you then would want to add another line where you then counter-sign and email it back to them once it’s counter-signed. But if you are running around like a crazy person, running around like really insanely long hours for all the months that you’re working, and you just understand yourself well enough to know that you will probably forget to sign it and send it back to them, that could very well happen, and that will mess it all up, and they’ll think it’s not confirmed… then don’t put it. Just let it be. Or maybe you get an online signing thing, some kind of online way of signing your documents, which, like, I dunno, I’m kinda oldschool. I kinda like having the physical paper, but I recognize that’s pretty oldschool and getting more and more outdated. I might switch to an online contract where it’s like pre-signed by me, and then they just sign and it finalizes it. Or I might add a line here where I’ve just presigned it. I’m considering this. You might consider it too. So far I don’t have anything.
Pay Me, Thanks
Next thing, at the bottom says “Please send a signed copy of this contract and your payment to: my name” and then it says “check payable to” with a little arrow – cuz sometimes they found me through a different way, especially if they found me through Artistic Adornment, but then they’re really hiring Henna by Heather, I need the check to say Henna by Heather, cuz Artistic Adornment is just a website, and Henna by Heather is my actual business name that I can cash checks to. So I need to say that. And then I have my mailing address. And then I do have that “Alternatively to signing and mailing this contract, client can confirm by email and request an online invoice with 3% card processing fee” or, in parentheses, Google Pay to firstname.lastname@example.org and Venmo to @HennaByHeather also available. Booking is finalized once paid within the timeframe noted above. That is basically there for people who do not want to print and email a contract, which is fine, and it’s a significant number of people, but people need to know that credit cards cost at least three percent. I have three percent written down here, but when I actually sit down and break down the math of what like a PayPal fee charges me or what it really costs me to run a Square payment when I don’t have their card in front of me – which I never do when I’m booking an event like this – it’s much closer to 4%. So I’m considering updating this, because in their agreements they’re all like “oh 3%, 3%, 2.9-whatever-percent” yeah, plus this fee, and this fee, and this other percent when the card isn’t present, and then this other little fee that somehow ends being a lot closer to four percent. Anyway, it also just throws in there as a nice little bonus, “Tips are never expected, always appreciated, and best done in cash the day of the event.” And it’s not – I get more tips now that that’s in there… <new video> So it turns out that last video got cut off right before the end, but I actually don’t know exactly where it got cut off, but it was saying I actually get more tips now that the little reminder that “hey, you could tip me” is in there. But I just wanted to mention that I’d much rather charge a good hourly rate upfront, and then maybe or maybe not get tips, rather than charge so little as an hourly rate that people feel like they owe me something more. They always tip when your rate is too low. It’s better to just charge what you’re actually worth rather than have people show you all the time that you’re not charging enough because they’re tipping you generously all the time. If that’s happening, you’re probably not charging enough. And people are showing you that, and they’re literally just making up the difference to you by tipping. So if you’re finding that happening, increasing your hourly rate may be the answer!
Like and Subscribe and All That Good Stuff!
So anyway, next thing is just if you enjoyed this video, please (pointing to subscribe link) subscribe so that you could see future videos, and then also go to ArtisticAdornment.com and go to the Freebies section that’s up at the top, and then go to the contract sample. It’s going to be free to add to your little shopping cart, you go through the little shopping cart process, it charges you zero dollars, and then at the end you can download a copy of my contract with my name removed so you can put your name in there. So if you find that helpful, feel free to absolutely, of course, tweak it as you need, and know that it’s not technically legal advice, it’s just like, a tool that I am offering you, and yeah. I hope that helps. And we will definitely be talking a lot more about the henna business-y things in the Thriving Artist Business of Henna class that we’re gonna do as well as the more general art and business classes at Thriving Artist, so if you want to go to ThrivingArtist.com and check that out, there definitely will be stuff there soon if there isn’t yet, and I think that’s about it. So again, thanks for watching, and again you can subscribe right here (points to subscription link), or if you want to watch the rest of the henna videos, they’re over there (points up), or if you want to watch the next video I’ve picked out for you, that one’s right over here. Thank you very much, and see you next time.