Legal Advice for Wedding Suppliers: Thinking of putting up your prices in the New Year?

A new decade requires a new slogan. We’ve had the Nineties, the Noughties, the Twenty Tens …

What are we to call this decade? The Twenty Twenties (worse slogan ever: editor) the Roaring Twenties? (I think that may have been done already: editor) Boring Twenties? (Let’s hope not: editor) Soaring Twenties – (that’s more like it…..! )

So, to soar, you need to create more business, and more profits, so you need some strategy and some planning. A review. It’s not going to just happen without some graft, is it? Do you expect a slow start to the new decade or will the phone ring off the hook? I sincerely hope it’s closer to the latter than the former, but either way this is the time to get your administrative and operational ‘ducks in a row’ for this season : and there’s no shortage of blogs and articles and podcasts telling you why this is important. Here’s one of my favs at the min.

One strategic option: putting up your prices is a common thought for businesses at this time of year – especially out of season and before the flurry of activity that this post-Christmas engagement season brings. You need to put up your prices BEFORE that flood of enquiries (and conversions hopefully) really starts. Once you have quoted and hooked the client in on a price – there’s little room for manoeuvre.

You can only put up your prices for existing clients if your current T and C’s allow for it – or the customer agrees (you really want to ask that question?)

New clients need your revised T and C’s with your new price structure NOW – and you must include it in their proposal for your services. Here’s a handy video from me on the timing of using your client contract and when you need to provide it.

You don’t have any???

Get yourself over here for the options for template T and Cs we have… and for bespoke solutions you can check us out here.

If your T and Cs need a general spruce up or a proper legal look over to ensure that you are good to go for the new decade we have a fixed fee service to help you and lots of tricks and tips for legal questions and conundrums on our FB page Your Legal Fairy Godmother – free membership at the moment, but the doors are closing before the wedding season kicks in proper, so join now to access great advice and our usual display of selfies and pics for our events, products and general travels through the wedding suppliers world.

Bring it on 2020.

My Blog’s mic drop 2019

I’ve spent my afternoon planning next year.

Looking at who is important, what is important and where we are going in the next 12 months.

Its been exciting to see the progress of the last year – SGOL’s new and improved template offer is, in no short measure, responsible for some of that! And the fabulous Chrissie of Black Hare Marketing – without whom, none of this is possible.

THANK YOU X

Its also exciting to see what’s already in the pipeline for next year…

We have training lined up with wedding suppliers, commercial network groups, GCSE students and creatives in Nottingham – it’s a diverse bunch! And there’s new products and collaborations coming soon too, to help with your risk management, a review of GDPR and a membership offer I think will be too good to miss.

If, like me , you are yearning for Friday 20th December (What? part timer…….editor) and the rest and recuperation that Christmas brings – gird your loins and lets do this for another working week, people. If you need some inspiration…..click here.

Then let’s rest and add ‘the undone’ to the ‘to do’ pile and raise a glass to the next 12 months.

Thank you for joining us on the SGOL blog, and a very Merry Christmas to you all

With love

Heather xx

…OUT

GDPR and sausage rolls – legal tips for wedding caterers.

What on earth does GDPR have to do with sausage rolls? Here are this week’s legal tips for wedding caterers

If you are a caterer, you may well look at this headline and scratch your head. How could making gorgeous Thai street food, or popping a pizza in the oven, or slaving over egg and cress sandwiches possibly have anything to do with GDPR, you ask…..?

Amazingly, I still come across businesses who have STILL not got themselves GDPR compliant at the simplest and most fundamental level, but food-based businesses have a double whammy to deal with.

  • Every business needs the GDPR compliant privacy policy and ‘contact us’ pages on their website

(Editor: what do you mean – not got around to it yet?! We still have the GDPR Starter Pack available if you are stuck.)

  • You might have some sort of privacy statement on your email footer.
  • You, of course, have amended your T and Cs to reflect the required layering too – see here if that means nothing to you…..

But you also need to take extra care because you are likely dealing with some special category personal data as well.

Special Category Personal Data means data concerning a protected characteristic such as a person’s sexual orientation, race, health or criminal history, for example.

You might think that just means medical records and other very personal information that a healthcare provider or a legal institution might hold – I’m afraid you’d be wrong.

Special Category Personal Data includes information about someone’s religious beliefs. If your customer data identifies party guests with specific dietary requirements that are associated with their religion, then that is Special Category Personal Data. Often, you will know the names of the guests with the specific dietary requirements and therefore you can identify the individual with the protected characteristics by their menu choices – for example halal meat requirements, kosha meal requests etc. You should ideally have reference to this in your Privacy Policy and you should certainly be very careful about how you store and share this data in your business and with other goods and services providers.

You need to show a basis for processing ( as you do for all personal data – you can have a look here for an earlier blog on this topic…) but an additional basis for processing special category personal data is required.

Check your T and C’s and your website – we can be a source of assistance Our templates for Wedding Caterers include this and you can get your privacy policy sorted at the same time.

We love to solve your headaches!

Top Legal Tips for Field Hire Venues on deposits

Top legal tips on deposits for ‘blank canvas’ style field hire venue providers

Field hire  or ‘structure only’ options for wedding venue hire should offer the perfect solution to the couple who really want to stamp their own mark on their ceremony, so what do you as the space owner and occupier need to make sure you cover in your T and Cs on deposits …?

Apart from the usual clauses regarding deposits and cancellation ( you can see some top tips on this in previous blogs) to comply with your customers consumer rights you may need to have some sort of 14 day cancellation period (sometimes called a cooling off period) from the point of the couple agreeing to contract to have the venue, which allows the couple to withdraw without penalty within that time frame. Sometimes venues ask for the deposit to confirming the booking to be made within 14 days of signing the T and Cs, some will take payment on booking and allow a clear cancellation period which states if you cancel within the 14 days the contract is concluded and the couple receive their money back. Either way such a clause is recommended – without it, the periods in which a couple may be entitled to cancel without penalty and have the right to demand back their deposit may be significantly increased. Here’s a good summary of the rules for some bedtime reading. The rules will be different if your couple came to the venue and signed up, rather than concluded a booking online. Be warned and take advice if in doubt.

If you have a customer who challenges the amount of the deposit or the amount you intend to keep if they cancel – make sure your T and C’s have stated why the deposit has been taken – to secure the date exclusively, and to allow you to prep the start of planning and work for the event. Put that explicitly into your Terms. If you don’t have it – we have a lovely new template that helps with this.

Have you additionally included a damages deposit – ideally paid later and closer to the event. It helps massively if this money is accounted separately – not invoiced as income, and held in a separate bank account, unless or until you seek to claim some or all of it. From this account, you can then deduct the costs of breakages or damage – and even the costs of litter and rubbish removal – IF you have spelt this out clearly in your contract (….like our templates do?…….editor)

For help, come and chat to us? Or grab one of our templates and be assured you have covered these issues off in your client contracts.

Our Top Legal Tips for Celebrants

Top tips for you chaps, this week as we have out SPOTLIGHT feature on the celebrants in the Facebook group. What do you REALLY need to make sure you have covered in your Terms and Conditions?

Take care about stating the legality of any celebration or service you perform. This needs to be spelt out to ensure clarity for your couple. DON’T ASSUME ANYTHING….  ensure your couple understand the difference between the legal ceremony and the celebrant’s involvement, and that your contract is clear what you are not legally performing a marriage.

Take care also if you are pulled into advice on this point by the couple once your services are agreed. I don’t suggest you are obstructive, or unhelpful, but be clear about where help and actual legal advice about the process starts and finishes. If in doubt, always refer them to the correct registration services.

Note to anyone doing destination weddings – this is particularly true if the legal framework of a destination may be unfamiliar to you, as well as to the couple. Don’t overstep your remit – if they rely on you, and your advice, your liability clauses better be up to scratch….

I can almost guarantee you are not insured to advise on the process to legally complete the marriage, and of course, you have insurance to deliver your services overseas too – don’t you??

Finally, a little note on GDPR. You are compliant, right? Good privacy policy, opting in to receive marketing materials from you? Client Contract up to date and reviewed since May 2018? If not,

THEN GET ON WITH IT………………!

You are processing not just personal data, but special category personal data (this used to be referred to as sensitive personal data) and the obligations on you are higher and stricter as a result. If you haven’t self-assessed – here’s a good online free tool if you need more help – or a privacy policy – you can pick one up as part of the option three package with our contract templates:

Double bonus!

If you need any more help get in touch with me.

YouTube sensation …. legal advice videos for wedding suppliers

Yes – you heard it here first.

Stanford Gould Group have a new YouTube channel and you can subscribe to see our videos dealing with all sorts of legal and contractual issues for wedding suppliers.

So, what content is there already available on this channel?

We have posted some videos about our favourite subject, GDPR of course, and there’s plenty of reading materials on this blog too – and there’s a video to view about why you need a client contract – also you can read this blog.

If you have a client contract – do you use it right? Otherwise it becomes a useless expensive piece of paper – or in this day and age more likely a PDF attachment you never use. There’s a video on the You Tube channel to view about that too.

Do you work in collaboration with other suppliers – do you know what your contractual rights and obligations are in those arrangements. There are 4 videos to watch about working collaboratively – so maybe viewing them is your homework for the week.

We would love some feedback from you on the channel and if you have a request for a video topic – let us know?

12 months on – consent, client lists and GDPR

Having recently wished ‘Happy Birthday’ to the delightful piece of legislation that we know and love as GDPR, its worth having a think about what’s changed and what’s still ‘work in progress’. What about consent, client lists and GDPR. 12 months on.

You may have joined the throngs of organisations in that tsunami of email that went out to all contacts and clients on databases asking for consent to remain on your mailing list. Did you end up with a decimated client contact list? Have you started again? With the tick box righteously checked to ensure you have a basis for processing. Consent, client lists and GDPR were the buzz words of summer 2018.

Did you know that’s not the only basis for using (processing) that client information?

If the folk on your client database pre GDPR gave consent under the old rules – which did not require  ‘opt in’ or active consent to receive your materials – you can still rely on this consent as a basis for processing.

The ICO themselves say…

You do not need to automatically refresh all existing consents in preparation for the new law. But the GDPR sets the bar high for consent, so it’s important to check your processes and records to be sure existing consents meet the GDPR standard. If they do there is no need to obtain fresh consent.

Where you have an existing relationship with customers who have purchased goods or services from you it may not be necessary to obtain fresh consent.

It’s also important to remember that in some cases it may not be appropriate to seek fresh consent if you are unsure how you collected the contact information in the first place, and the consent would not have met the standard under our existing Data Protection Act.

Think about how you created the client list in the first place. Did you work for them? Did they sign up to receive material from you – albeit maybe without a tick box.  If people ‘signed up’ to receive newsletters or updates from you pre May 2018, and did so in compliance with the pre GDPR legislation requirements,  you may still have a legitimate reason to keep them on your data base and process their data, post GDPR implementation,

SO LONG AS you always give them the unsubscribe option when communicating with them

AND you make that as simple (one click) as possible

AND you action the ‘unsubscribe’ promptly.

Take a look at this great blog from the ICO to help you

I’m sure you have had the experience of the email that you click to unsubscribe, but that just keep coming ‘right back atcha’ – that’s ICO territory for complaint if ever there was any! – so make sure you have a good admin process if you do decide to use such data. Evidence your thinking and justify your action.

What else to report?

Well in 12 months, the ICO haven’t issued a single fine under GDPR in the UK yet….. but they have logged a fourfold increase in data breaches, and twice as many consumer complaints were made to the ICO in the last 12 months.

Your customers are live to the issues…BE CAREFUL!

But that was the ICO’s stated objective for the first year or so after implementation, saying they were only interested in compliance – especially for small businesses.

So, by now you should have a GDPR complaint website with a proper Privacy Policy and a compliant ‘Contact us’ page – if not where have you been? In a hole for 12 months? Go check THIS helpful tool out…..

You should also have reviewed and amended your client T and C’s to reference your Privacy Policy and remind clients what you are doing with their personal data.

Have you taken the online test to see if you need to register with ICO and pay a fee? Get that done asap…..here.

There are also new tools and tips on the ICO page regularly so do check them out too and keep an eye on our blog for regular updates.

COMPETITION TIME – win free tickets

COMPETITION TIME – would you like a free ticket to attend THE wedding festival event of the season? The Unconventional Wedding Festival on 11th and 12th May at Stanford Hall Lutterworth. You wanna come?

Our fabulous friends at Unconventional Weddings and Events have agreed we can offer this fabulous prize to anyone liking our Facebook page AND who like and share through Facebook any of the blog posts on Wedding Fairs and GDPR that we have posted in the last weeks.

https://www.stanfordgouldonline.co.uk/blog/

Entries start now: and includes anyone who already likes the Stanford Gould Facebook page, but you will ALSO need to share and like the blog to qualify.

Two winners will be picked on Friday 12th April 2019 to receive a ticket for the Unconventional Festival. We have one for Saturday and one for Sunday so if you comment on the shared post with your preferred date, we will try to accommodate you.
Terms and Conditions apply (well of course they do….this is a Stanford Gould competition…) and are available on request.

Good Luck x

Exhibitor at a Wedding Fair? get GDPR savvy – Part 3 : The Aftermath.

The Aftermath of the Wedding Fair – hopefully you feel good!

It was time and money well spent. A positive and productive day at the Wedding Fair. You came back with leads and you converted some of them, (all of them? I need an emoji here, but WordPress or my IT skills don’t allow….)

having chatted and previewed and showed off what you do, what you know and what you make. They were impressed. In the aftermath they become a client or customer.

Yay!

Whats next?

If they want to become a client, make sure you get T and C’s or a client contract to them as you set out the proposed works and prices, as part of the contractual basis for delivering your goods and services to them. In your terms, you should remind them of your privacy policy and the basis for processing and retaining their data is – get this added to your T and C’s now.

It’s called layering – telling the client at lots of different points in the customer experience what you are doing with their data and reminding them of their rights, and their options.

If you need help with your T and C’s try our templates…. www.stanfordgouldonline.co.uk

If you need a privacy policy have a look at the template in our GDPR Starter Pack or on the ICO website.

Anyone who is on your data base legitimately – either having given a clear consent since May 2018 – or (…and this is important) who consented under the previous regime which required very little to evidence this agreement, can continue to receive your mail chimp or other emails or electronic communications and sales info. Please ensure there is a clear opt out or unsubscribe option for them,  that is easy to use and doesn’t involve multiple tasks or clicks.

Its a good idea to annual check that the contact details you have for your Mailing List or Subscribers are still valid and up to date – your obligation to ensure data is accurate – and that they still want to receive material from you. You don’t need ANOTHER tick box checked, or positive consent reply to this – its just good housekeeping. It should not decimate your mailing list each time!

Any questions about GDPR, contracts or legal issues generally we would be happy to help. You can find us at

www.stanfordgould.co.uk 

www.stanfordgouldonline.co.uk

FB                           www.facebook.com/stanfordgould

Twitter                 @stanford_gould 

LinkedIn               https://www.linkedin.com/in/heather-stanford-0033047/

Exhibitor at a wedding fair? get GDPR savvy – Part 2 : GDPR your actions list

WOW – lots of people looked at our blog last week – did we touch a nerve? or time it right? maybe provide something really useful? We hope so… So last week we looked at some principles to remember when you are using personal data. This week it’s : GDPR your actions list.

What do you actually DO to make this work?

GDPR your actions list:

  • Before you attend

Is your website GDPR complaint? – Do you have a good privacy policy which is GDPR complaint and a ‘contact us’ page that allows the customer to opt in to receive information and offers from you with a clear consent box to tick (not pre populated….) to ensure that active and informed consent is given?

If you need help with this you could view our GDPR starter pack which includes template privacy policy and a guide to help you https://www.stanfordgould.co.uk/downloads/gdpr-starter/

  • At the event

How are you going to collect the data from these new customers/clients/contacts?

Collecting business cards, with telephone and email details?

Get them to sign a sheet which includes not only their contact details but a box to tick to opt in to receive your discounts, offers and emails or newsletters is ideal – can that work practically at the event you are going to? Can you offer an incentive to sign up? A prize draw? A discount code? Don’t make the prize too fabulous – you don’t want to be caught out by the Bribery Act, but a small gift or voucher is perfect, low value and an interesting relevant product.

Can you make this electronic? – Lots of exhibitors now use iPad and phones to get customers to part with their contact details – does this process include a clear consent box to tick or agree with options?

Do NOT have a long list on a clipboard so everyone can see everyone else’s details and information. Separate slips of paper, or customised postcards with sign up options to tick or complete, work well and most simply.

You need evidence of the consent for later if there is a question about whether they gave that consent and how from the client or the ICO ( the ‘data police’ for enforcement purposes…)

  • After the event

Once you get that box of cards or bag of reply slips home – how do you follow them up? Social media invites – should all be covered by the GDPR and privacy policies of the various social media platforms so probably you are OK to do this, without any additional consent. But make it worthwhile – a connection just to have more followers who are entirely disinterested in your business is pointless.

A short email – ‘thanks for meeting with us .. here’s our site, please sign up for your offers/news etc’ could be easily classed a legitimate business interest – NOTE: this means 1 email – not 10, when the first 9 are ignored.….

Do not be tempted to cc all your collected email address in one fell swoop later, thanking them for coming – we’ve seen it happen, honestly! This is a huge no-no. Even be careful with bcc’ing – it looks lazy – and is so easy to make a mistake – but probably complies with your GDPR obligations.

If they do come back and seek your services, you have a basis for processing. If they come back and consent to be on your mailing list, add them to the database if you hear nothing more – no follow up is really acceptable unless you can show a legitimate interest – document this!! Have proof if you are challenged that you have thought it through.

Next week we look at what happens after you get them on board…what’s the important stuff to batten down, once they are a client? If you need any help with this please do get in touch with us