On occasions, I come across businesses that have to cease trading due to not having the correct terms and conditions in place. They have hit a problem with their client or a service provider, and have run into hot water as terms weren’t agreed in advance.
It’s critical that you have terms and conditions set out with your client to protect yourself and your business. With two business I have seen close recently, if they had the correct terms and conditions set-out and signed between both parties up front, they would not have run into the trouble that they did.
As a bare minimum, your terms and conditions should include:
- What you are going to deliver
- The scope of the work with a clear definition of what products and services will be provided.
- Timelines for the work to be completed,
- Charges and payment terms
- What is the length of the contract
- What are your costs and payment terms
- Do you need payment up front? If part payment, when is remainder due? Late payment charges.
- How long does any quote stand for?
- Any additional charges that may occur
- Confidentiality agreement
- Any warranties and prevailing laws
- Limitations and exclusions of liability
- Cancellation terms
- What happens if either party is unhappy and/or wishes to cancel.
NEVER work on trust! This is a recipe for disaster. It may seem a lot to put together but I can guarantee you will wish you had taken the time and trouble to put these into place if you ever do run into trouble.
Without clear terms and conditions, confusion can occur with the client thinking they may be able to pay at the end of a service, but you need payment up front.
Terms and conditions also make you look far more professional. Personally, I would never enter into an agreement without specified terms and conditions from a supplier and quite a few businesses have lost my custom as they did not have these available.
If you need help setting yours out, SQL legal also have some pretty good templates but always check that they are suitable for your own business needs.