Having standard terms and conditions in place helps you and your customers to know where you stand – and equally importantly, what will happen if something goes wrong.
That might mean that you fail to deliver what you have promised, or it could be that the customer claims you have failed to do so, even though you consider that you have fulfilled your side of the contract.
Naturally, there is a slight difference between Ts & Cs for consumer contracts and those for business-to-business deals.
Here we look at the common elements of Terms and Conditions, and how B2B and B2C contracts need handling a little differently from one another.
Ts & Cs for B2C contracts
For consumers entering into B2C contracts, you might want to offer your Terms and Conditions in plain English.
Of course, it is always best to make your terms easy to understand, but in the case of individual consumers, slightly simpler wording can be a good way to avoid scaring them off when you ask them to sign on the dotted line.
Give a clear description of the goods or services you are going to provide, simple processes for cancellation or raising disputes, and information about related issues like data protection too.
Ts & Cs for B2B contracts
In B2B deals, it’s often fine to be a bit more technical in your wording – speak of ‘termination’ rather than ‘cancellation’, and so on.
You’re likely to have many more clauses, including some that deal with indemnity and force majeure, and other such technical issues.
It might also be more appropriate to spell out exactly what you expect of the client, too, as well as any third parties that might become engaged in the delivery of the contract.
In either case, payment terms are an important part of your Ts & Cs, so make sure these are clearly spelled out.
You should include measures to recover unpaid debts or overdue invoices, and make sure you clearly list any penalties that may be applied in the event of late payment or non-payment.
Remember to get the client to agree to your terms from the start of your working relationship – you can’t simply attach them to the invoice and send them out after the work has already been done, as it will be very difficult to enforce these terms retrospectively if the customer was not already aware of them.