The Dangers of Not Having Terms and Conditions
It is estimated that only seven percent of Britons actually read Terms and Conditions (Ts & Cs) before ticking that box to say they have.
So, if no one reads them what is the point in having them for your business?
Terms and conditions are in fact, one of the most important aspects of any transaction between your business and your clients; whether you provide a service or sell products. Terms and conditions are essentially a legally binding contract.
So, if you decide not to draw up Ts & Cs for your business you are setting yourself up for a great deal of trouble in the future.
Your Terms and Conditions enable you to be specific with your clients about what you expect from them and conversely, what the can expect from you.
If these expectations have not been outlined clearly you can find yourself in tough discussions where either you or the client are not pleased with the work that has been done.
For example, delivery times can be misinterpreted from a conversation – was it two days from the time of the meeting or the time of acceptance of the project? Similar misinterpretations can also be made over payment terms.
A clear set of Ts & Cs will ensure there is no ambiguity about expectations. This ensures both you and your clients know what to expect and when.
With no Ts & Cs in place, are clients expected to pay you before or after the work is completed, on delivery, on approval or split payments?
If such expectations are not specified your client could delay payment by raising numerous queries and complaints about the service or product, or use other delaying tactics.
Additionally, with no clear expectations, you are held to your client’s Ts & Cs. These could be vague and state they expect “a quick turnaround.” If you deliver outside this expectation the client could refuse to pay you and subsequently sue you for breach of contract.
Sweating the Small Stuff
Whilst in client meetings you may agree the basics of a business transaction such as timing, costs and payment terms, but you may not think to discuss the less obvious things.
These can include you and your business’ liability, protection of your intellectual property rights and privacy disclosures.
Without Ts & Cs you allow your design work to be used for any purpose by the client, or for your client to own your products on delivery, even if payment isn’t received.
By getting a professional set of Ts & Cs drawn up you can guarantee that any legal requirements specific to your industry will be outlined clearly for your clients to see. Some industries, for example require certain information is provided in writing prior to commencing the work.
A professional will know what these are and can ensure you are legally compliant in all your transactions.
You may feel when starting your new business that the extra cost to get Ts & Cs drafted is not necessary. However, skipping this vital part of setting up a business will be a false economy.
If things go wrong with your relationship with your client, hiring lawyers to unravel what was agreed by whom can be incredibly expensive.
An expense which is avoidable if you had made it clear what you expected in the first place.
If you would like to discuss getting Terms and Conditions drawn up for your business or even a Terms and Conditions audit on what you already have, please book in a call with us.