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3 Questions to Ask Yourself When Signing a Composite Contract

When searching for a new composite company, one of the most difficult and most important tasks is reviewing the contract. If you sign a contract, it is binding (and costly to break) not only for you, but your entire chapter. To avoid surprises, you should at least ask these three questions before signing a composite contract.

1. Who is authorized to sign?

If your organization is licensed, recent rules have come down from the National headquarters backed by Greek Licensing that state only a President or Advisor may sign agreements. Having a single point of contact avoids multiple overlapping contracts from different vendors.

Graduate classes often have the class President or a student sign, but we encourage you to check with your faculty on any rules your school may have when it comes to contracts.

2. How long is the term of the contract?

Although no contract should exceed two years, ultimately, the choice is up to you. Take advantage of discounts when you sign for multiple years, but watch out for deep discounts as an incentive to sign that will cause a huge increase the second year. Remember, it is a contract after all; negotiate with the company to make sure your chapter needs are met. You should never feel pressured to sign before a promotion expires and the company should have a one year option available. Some Nationals even require that you can only sign for one year at a time.

3. Are there additional fees?

Always ask for an itemized price quote. Make sure that everything is outlined on the quote including tax, licensing, framing, shipping, photography cancellation fees, attire fees, reusing last year photos, rush delivery, preferred scheduling, and even insurance. Although some of these are optional, the last thing you want is to be blindsided with a huge invoice after photography. Lastly, know the difference between a deposit and a final invoice amount, and if it is not clear in the contract, ask for it in writing. Request a quote today!

Final Tips

Get it in writing! Anything you discuss with the company regarding term, discounts, or promos should be outlined clearly in the contract. If it isn't, feel free to modify the contract with your expected terms. Do not sign until you are satisfied with the final agreement and terms.

When comparing multiple companies, don't just look at price. Review the services. Maybe one company is offering free retouching, where another isn't. That might be worth a little extra in the price! Also, confirm that the price estimates are for the same number of members. Still not sure, review with your class, exec board, faculty or advisor for a final approval. It's always good to have someone review the contract and quotes before you sign.

Respect goes both ways! Any company you work with for composites should want your business and work with you to gain you as a customer. Harassing emails or pushy service should not be tolerated and are a direct reflection of how that company will treat you after you sign the contract. If you don’t have a good feeling during the negotiations, walk away. 

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