Whether your business provides services or sells goods, the clearer your contractual terms the better, and the quicker your likely to be paid. But, what exactly should you include in your Terms and Conditions document? To help, TM Law solicitor Aidan Squire outlines the basics…
Terms and Conditions can and should be very detailed, after all used correctly they are capable of safeguarding your business and improving credit control. Here are the three fundamental steps we suggest you consider first:
- Know who is involved? Your Terms and Conditions must be clear who you are trading with, whether an individual, a partnership or a limited company. It sounds simple enough but lack of clarity in the quotation and the order can create difficulties for you if you are seeking to enforce your contract.
- Be meticulous. If you issue a quotation the contract will normally be finalised when an order is placed. Any discrepancy between the quotation and the order might delay the operation or invalidate some terms of the contract.
- Join the dots. Include your Terms and Conditions when submitting a quotation. This means that down the line, you’ll be able to impose the conditions as they were incorporated in the quotation and accepted by your customer at the time the order was placed.
Aidan Squire, TM Law Solicitor says:
“It’s a sad fact of life, but late payment is common place for small businesses. All too often larger firms, who crack the credit control whip harder, are given priority and end up being paid first. However, with the right terms and conditions in place, small firms can do more to fight their corner and proactively ensure that they too are paid on time. Effective terms and conditions, sent and approved at the same time as the quotation are critical to achieving this.”
Important Terms and Conditions to include
Obviously, the price to be paid for the services or the goods and a description of those services and goods is necessary, but there are other terms and conditions that will enable businesses to trade more effectively. These should also be included with the quotation in what are called the Terms and Conditions document.
Frequently appearing in small print on the back of the quotation, they must be made clear prior to the acceptance of any order.
So what typical terms are important?
- The services/goods. These should be adequately described and also limited to what is the intention of the supplier to produce. Be as clear as possible, leave nothing to interpretation.
- The Buyers obligations. If goods are being delivered or services provided at the seller or the buyers premises insurance obligations should be made clear.
- Time Scales. Obligations of time in relation to delivery can create problems for any seller and sellers should try and restrict their obligations. Buyers should ensure that, where relevant, delivery time is detailed.
- Payment Terms. Whether a payment is up front, after delivery or by instalments, terms and conditions can make this clear. For buyers the consequences of late payments should be made clear.
- The circumstances that will bring the contract to an end should also be set out. These could include delays in delivery or failures to perform by either party to conditions that they have agreed specifying precisely when the contract will come to an end.
- Passing of Title. Where goods are being delivered, when does title pass to the buyer. This could be crucial if the buyer becomes bankrupt or goes into liquidation.
- Brands and rights to what is called Intellectual Property should also be made clear both whilst the contract subsists and if the contract comes to an end.
TERMS & CONDITIONS CONSULTATION
About TM Law – Specialist Commercial Solicitors
Based in Hockley, Essex, TM Law is a small and dedicated solicitors. With many years’ experience, helping business owners and local individuals with matters of personal injury, compromise agreements, employment disputes, debt collection, commercial disputes and much more.
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