Everything you need to know about making your own contracts.

Making your own contract

Use this guide if you make contracts directly with companies or individuals to provide entertainment for, mainly, one-off dates.

You might be a vocalist, child's entertainer, comedian, circus performer, magician or anyone else who performs an act in return for a fee. Here you can find important points to think about when taking bookings to avoid problems down the line.

Please note, the information in this guide is for information and guidance only for Equity members and should not be treated as legal advice.

What is a contract?

A contract is essentially an agreement between two parties that one will do something for the other in return for 'consideration' (usually a fee). There must be sufficient detail agreed for the contract to be binding, the fundamental points generally being time, date, place, fee and what is being provided, and there must be clear offer and acceptance and an intention on the part of both parties to enter into a binding agreement.

How does this need to be recorded?

There is no need for a contract to be recorded in a particular way and it can be purely verbal. In practice there is likely to be evidence that a contract exists via a series of electronic communications even if there all of the necessary information isn't written into one document. Should anything go wrong a verbal booking may be difficult to prove so it is worth the artist writing everything down and sending a copy to the other party unless a formal contract is being issued by the booker.

Be aware:

Just because you haven't actually signed a contract does not mean it is not binding. If you've been issued with a contract and commence providing services on it without raising concerns about clauses in it then you are normally deemed to have accepted it. It can be difficult to argue about things you're not happy with further down the line.

Just because you have signed a contract does not mean it's legal. Some contract terms breach legislation and even though the contract is signed by both parties some terms could be challenged later on. Some terms may be unfair under the Unfair Contract Terms Act for example or national minimum wage legislation or Working Time Directive may be breached.

Essential details to get from the booker

Full Name: That is first name and surname (not just Dave or Mrs Smith)

Company Name: This only applies if the person is booking on behalf of a business which could be a limited company, a pub or club, a booking agent or events company. It is not needed if they are booking as an individual for a private party or event.

Job Title: This only applies if they are booking on behalf of a business. For a pub, for example, it is good to know whether you are talking to the landlord or a barperson.

Address: This means the address of the individual or the business and may not necessarily be the address where you will be working. If someone does not wish to provide you with an address then alarm bells should ring. An email address may be adequate for communications about the details of the event, but it is not enough to follow up formally if anything goes wrong. Also don't assume because you can see lots of details about the person on Facebook, for example, that you really know the essential details about who they are.

Venue Address: As you will need to know where to go to perform. This may be the same address as the individual or business, as the party or event may be at the booker's home, but in many cases it will be entirely different.

Fee: This is obvious but you should also agree when and how you will be paid and if there is any deposit payable in advance.

Time: Start and finish are the essentials but arrival, set-up, sound check may all be important to clarify for some bookings.

There will be other details that you will need such as mobile phone numbers, on site contact details and email addresses, parking arrangements, the fine details what you're being booked to do, audience size and type but these are not fundamental to the contract itself.

More contract issues

Confirmation / contract templates

In situations when a booking has been agreed either verbally or over a series of electronic communications and just a confirmation is needed, a simple set of wording is available below in the informal basic letter.


1. Informal basic letter

  • DOCX
  • 0.01MB

2. Basic booking form

  • DOCX
  • 0.47MB

3. Combined booking form and letter with some terms and conditions

  • DOCX
  • 0.47MB

4. National standard contract

  • DOCX
  • 0.04MB