Getting the right paperwork in place can slip down the to-do list when setting up a business. Also, with terms and conditions (T&Cs) widely available online, it can be tempting to download a template – just for the sake of having some in place.
By Stephen Greenwood, partner at Farleys
However, the way in which T&Cs are drafted can have a significant impact on your everyday business – so it’s crucial to have them tailored to your needs.
T&Cs should clearly set out terms for business, such as payment and delivery.They should include payment terms that allow you to run your business smoothly, such as upfront payment to help your cash flow.
Additionally, they can cover issues such as interest or late payment fees, encouraging prompt payment and saving time having to chase debts.
Bespoke T&Cs can also include guarantees or warranties you offer, along with timelines for delivery.
Protection and clarity
Without written terms in place as to how you will deliver a product or service, or how you should be paid, disputes can arise and the courts usually side with a buyer rather than a seller. Even if there is an assumption of what the terms of sale might be, it helps to have this in writing on should a disagreement arise.
Not everyone reads T&Cs but for those that do, having something that relates specifically to your business or industry will certainly set you out as a professional outfit. This is especially beneficial if you are trading as a new company because it will help to alleviate concerns about working with you.
In the absence of clear T&Cs, disputes about what may have been agreed could be raised at any point and legal fees are far higher than the costs of a good set of T&Cs. Moreover, without legal documentation, your case will be much weaker.