Small business terms and conditions are one of the first recommendations made to many people when they set up a company of their own for the first time.
You don’t have to be registered as a company – sole traders registered as an individual can also fall under the remit of small business terms and conditions, at least in the sense in which we’re discussing them here.
The important thing is to set out Ts & Cs that outline the nature of your business, what you will supply – whether it’s goods or services, or a combination of both – what you expect from your customers, and crucially how and when you expect to be paid for the work done.
Fail to agree upfront and you can find yourself stumbling into supply agreements with no clear limitations, clients who expect ongoing aftercare at no additional cost, and indefinite waiting for payments.
As a small business or sole trader, particularly if you are new, you are one of the smallest fish in a very large pond, so protect yourself against any bully boy antics from the big boys.
There are certain specific Ts & Cs that might apply to your chosen profession – if you are in a regulated industry or are required to have certain insurance policies in place, for instance, you might want to mention this compliance so it’s clear to your customers.
But in general terms and conditions should set out:
- Who you are.
- Where you are (either an office address, website, or other contact details).
- The nature of your business.
- Limitations on supply – e.g. your returns or refunds policy.
- What you expect from customers.
- Crucially, what payment you expect from customers.
- How long you allow for payment in full to be made.
- What action you will take if payment is not made.
You might want a separate payment policy to really hammer home your strong stance on prompt payments, if you think this is appropriate.
General terms and conditions can also include instructions on how to alter or terminate an ongoing supply agreement, if you expect to work with the same customers again and again.
This is a brief overview – and it’s often sensible to have bespoke small business terms and conditions written by a professional company, to cover all of the issues that apply to your industry in particular.
By outsourcing bespoke small business Ts & Cs in this way, you can be more certain that nothing will be missed in your small print, giving you maximum protection against any unruly customers you might encounter later on.