Do you want to be paid on time for all of your hard work? Do you want a set of guidelines to assist you when things go wrong with a customer? Do you want clarity for you and your customers as to what service you are providing and under what conditions?
If you are selling a product or offering a service, written terms and conditions of business are absolutely essential. Terms and conditions establish the business relationship between you and your customers. If they are well written they will protect your business and provide clarity & guidance in the event of any misunderstanding.
Having terms and conditions that are clear and unambiguous will reflect in writing the actual agreement that you are making with your customers. The terms and conditions should set out the roles, responsibilities and payment terms of your agreement. This, in turn, will assist your cash-flow as customers are fully aware as to when and how much you require them to pay for services or goods provided to date.
The terms & conditions should also provide detail as to what happens when things go wrong and one party is unable to fulfil their side of the bargain.
The devil is in the detail and your business may have particular requirements that are not at all relevant to another business. Your terms and conditions should be tailored to suit your individual business needs. However, certain terms are common to all businesses and you should give some thought to these, namely:-
- Defining the exact product or service you are providing.
- Detailing any guarantees or warranties that you are offering.
- Establishing payment terms – is a deposit required? When is the final payment due? Are credit terms being offered? Are there penalties for late payment? What is your cancellation policy?
- Setting timelines for the provision of services or the delivery of goods.
- Jurisdiction clause – this determines which country’s laws will govern the contract.
- Complaints and resolving disputes.
- Notice periods for termination of the contract.
It is helpful when drawing up the requirements for your terms and conditions of business to prepare a list of the core terms of business you want to offer your customers. Then imagine dealing with a most difficult customer and consider all the ways in which things could go wrong. With those difficult scenarios in mind structure your terms and conditions so you are clear as to how you would deal with them.
At Douglas Law Solicitors LLP we take the time to get to know our clients’ businesses and ensure that the terms and conditions we prepare suit their specific requirements.