What’s Your Backup Plan?

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009 at 3:54 AM by   

My wife and I live in a great NY Style loft located in Santa Clara.  High 30ft ceilings, lots of natural light through our windows, and one bathroom.  What?  Yes, I said one bathroom.  In all fairness, these are live-work lofts, and certainly not designed for families.  In nearly five years, we’ve never run into any problems.  That was until last Thursday night when the extremely hard water finally corroded the lever that turns the water on and off in our shower.  Snapped right off when I turned on the water.  After the shock subsided, I grabbed some screwdrivers and other tools to turn the lever back down to the off position.  Then the real question set in – “How do I fix this?”

Shower NozzelFortunately, we have a good friend who has an entire family of plumbers (two brothers and a dad).  Unfortunately, the timing of getting them out for repair is at least a week.  Not wanting to sponge bath many days in a row, my mind went into temporary fix mode.  We didn’t always live in a loft, so we had a garden hose in storage.  Add the spray nozzle (with an ironic “shower” setting) and an adapter from our fish tank cleaning tool that connects the host to the sink, and suddenly we have a temporary working shower.  Surprisingly, it even has more water pressure than the original shower – an added bonus.

That got me thinking – what are your vendor’s backup plans for your wedding day? Did you even remember to ask them the “what if” question when you met with them during the decision phase?  When I’m discussing my services, I break this into two parts.  The Guarantee and the Backup Equipment.

I’ll start with the Backup Equipment.  The answer should be “yes” – if it’s anything other than an affirmative response, run for the door.  Ideally your DJ will have a complete extra sound system in his or her vehicle.  By complete, that means extra cables, mixer board, laptop, CD player, or whatever components make up their system.  If a DJ says he brings extra speakers, see if they are self-powered.  If not, make sure they bring an extra power amp.

The Guarantee should be written into the contract itself.  (You did get a written contract, right?)  This is a provision that says you are entitled to your money back if you are not provided the services for which you paid.  Often times this is described as a Limited Liability clause.  This basically says that if your DJ doesn’t do what’s agreed upon in the contract, you will get some portion of your money back.  Your contract should also state the name of the performer(s) at your event, and not just “Assigned DJ” or similar.

My guarantee also states that if, for any reason, I cannot perform the functions set forth in the contract, I’ll give you your money back and find you a comparable replacement — which is paid for by me.  Now, this typically will mean that I’m in shacked up in the hospital (or worse) and cannot, under any circumstance, make your event.  It DOES NOT mean that I have the flu – that’s why they make DayQuil.

You only get one shot to make your day memorable and special.  Make sure it’s a positive memory.  Have your backup plan, and have it in writing.

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