Over the next few weeks as I update my website and life (jajaja), one of the to-do items I just finished was to take all of those life experiences and update my Bellydance workshop contract. After several small mistakes and a couple mishaps while teaching in other countries where the level of safety/income is not the same, it is important to do so to protect yourself and be compensated appropriately for your work.
Here are a list of must-have items in your Bellydance workshop contract and a few points to consider:
1. Deposit: I used to never request a deposit for workshops but when you have to reschedule gigs, and pass out private parties, that is a lot of potential income one just declined, and in the event that the sponsor has to cancel for any unforeseen reason, at least you did not completely lose out.
In addition, the deposit is non-refundable so it is extra motivation for the sponsor to market. The deposit should be anywhere from 25%-50% or sometimes more of your total instruction rate as a standard.
2. Instruction Rate: Whether local or international, my hourly fee is the same for instruction, discounts are offered for 10+ hours of instruction. If you use a percentage system, make sure that you specify at what point above so many number of students you offer a discount if any, and specify who gets what side of the percentage split (i.e. 40% to sponsor, 60% to instructor).
3. Performance Rate: Typically this is equal to or slightly more than your instruction rate per performance. For example: if my instruction rate is $200/hour then I may request $250 per 5-10 minute performance.
The performance can be split into two sets with a costume change, or be done all at once, specify what you will do or ask your sponsor what they prefer.
4. Payment: This is a biggie! In countries where the currency is different, you want to specify that your payment amount should be the x amount of dollars agreed to AFTER currency exchange so that you do not lose money upon conversion. To illustrate imagine you charged $200/hour, and the currency rate makes it so that you lose $10 upon converting money into dollars, that fee should be the responsibility of sponsor, and so you should still receive $200 at the end.
5. Payment Schedule: After a few interesting moments performing overseas, I highly recommend you ALWAYS ask for airfare, meal voucher, luggage fees, transport from airport to hotel, deposit, and hotel fees IN ADVANCE, before you ever set foot on a plane to the event. Sometimes getting to your destination is an all day ordeal requiring not just flight, but taxi and then ferry and then one more taxi (this is how it is like when I go to work in BVI), and you are hungry and tired, so having the money with you in advance is a BIG necessity!
In addition, specify when the balance is due and consequences/extra fees should you not receive it when stated in the contract they sign. One time an overseas performance became quite stressful when the client’s assistant did not pay and was a no show! To the point where were already in the U.S.A and without payment still, so you can imagine how horrible that felt. This was even with the clause in the contract! So make fees high enough where they will not ever want to delay your payment.
6. Work To Be Performed: Outline each and every item of work you agree to in a detailed list or paragraph. If you and the sponsor spoke about teaching for 10 hours, then state in the agreement and the exact times (make sure the time you teach is at a time where you get adequate sleep with tie change night before).
Any teaching done over that amount is for an extra fee only and must be agreed to ahead of time. State how long your performance will be and how many sets.
7. Merchandise: Specify what you will sell, if you require table, cords, assistant, and how much of a percentage or fee sponsor receives or it is free as part of your agreement. Be specific!
8. In Case of Theft: Let’s be real, some of the countries’ you teach and perform in will not be the richest, and theft is a very real issue. Make sure you state somewhere that you belonging must be stored with lock/key in a safe area at all times while out of your lodging area. I once had money stolen out of my wallet while teaching overseas and it was not a pleasant feeling for my sponsor or I. In case of theft, state what you expect to occur and etc…but most importantly prevent it by stating ahead of time what you expect sponsor to do with your belongings while you work.
9. Legal Clauses: Your bellydance workshop contract should always include clauses stating where to take to court any matters should the worst occur, any governing laws or attorneys fees and miscellaneous items.
I hope this general outline helps a lot of you out there getting into international workshops and performances to stay safe, protect your work and not deal with any mishaps. If you have any more questions comment below please!