While every business is different, as a lawyer I would always recommend you consider having terms and conditions, a contract or agreement for your business’s products or services, with the other people that you work with, your customers or suppliers.
Here are the reasons why you have terms and conditions in your business, regardless of what service or product you provide:
Its important to have a legally enforceable agreement between you and those that you deal with. If your terms and conditions aren’t documented, it is difficult for you to enforce rights to protect your business and there’s no clarity from other party’s s perspective about what their rights and obligations are.
Confirm what you will provide
Terms and conditions sets the expectations clearly between what your business offering is and that of the customer or supplier. This helps to avoid disputes down the track because people have entered into the agreement on the understanding of what will be expected in the service or product provided.
I also recommend that terms and conditions set out what you are not providing. Again, this is a way of managing the expectations of the customers that you deal with to make it clear that there are things that won’t be included in your price or in your service and that’s in a legally binding agreement between you before you start that they have agreed to.
Terms and conditions can aid you to recover payment in the unfortunate event that you are not paid. This is one of the most important reasons why you need terms and conditions and they need to be drafted in a way that’s actually enforceable.
If you are a creative person or your services involve the creation of any intellectual property, then your terms and conditions should set out who owns that property who owns the drafts and at what point ownership passes onto the client.
Privacy & consumer law compliance
Terms and conditions also include other legal items such as confidentially. That is, how you will keep your client’s information, what they can do with your information if you are exchanging it. It can also provide for things such as guarantees. What is guaranteed in your service? This will need to align with the consumer law which sets guarantees and that you have to satisfy when you have a business.
So, these are my key tips on why people need terms and conditions in any type of business. Give yourself a legally enforceable agreement from both parties’ perspectives, avoid any confusion and ambiguity about what is expected and hopefully that avoids any disputes down the track. Alternatively, if a dispute does arise you will have a sound legal footing to be able to enforce any necessary action.