Why should your business have terms and conditions?
The purpose of terms and conditions
Whether you are selling goods, services, digital content or a mixture, it’s important to have a properly written set of terms and conditions (also known as Ts and Cs) to protect your business interests. Ts and Cs essentially set out an agreed way of doing business and provide a method of resolving various scenarios. This results in a smoother sales process, fewer disputes and a clearer method of resolution for any problems which may crop up. Although Ts and Cs should be written in a way as to be favourable to your business, there are certain terms which are governed by statute, particularly when it comes to consumers, so not everything can be covered in an agreement. Furthermore, it’s important to ensure that your customers are actually aware of all the terms of a sale in order for them to be effective.
What kind of terms should I include?
The content of your Ts and Cs will be largely dependent on the type of business you run. A software developer will have a significantly different set of considerations compared to a plumber. So it’s important that you identify any industry-specific scenarios and cater for these, as far as possible, in your terms. However, there are certain aspects of business which are universal:
• product - what exactly is it that you’re selling?
• payment - what’s the cost and when should you be paid?
• delivery - how quickly do you need to provide your product?
• liability - how far are you liable if something goes wrong, do you provide any guarantees or warranties?
• ending the relationship - what happens if your customer decides they don’t want your product (and how long are they bound to any service agreement)?
There are also certain terms which are required to be included by law, specifically with regard to businesses engaging in e-commerce.
How do Ts and Cs help my business?
Many businesses waste a lot of money on chasing up payments and collecting debts. Although there are statutory recourses for late payment, it’s far better to agree on when you will be paid in advance to avoid any legal wrangling. In terms of liability, setting this out at the start will means that both you and your customers will share the same expectations. Other Ts and Cs will further strengthen the basis for any business relationship and help you plan for the future.
A variety of Terms and Conditions relevant to your particular business can be downloaded from our Business Documents Folder. Click on any relevant templates in the list, below, for further information.