person signing business terms and conditions

How To Set Out Good
Business Terms and Conditions

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Posted by Minna Boyle on 17 October 2018

What Are Business Terms And Conditions?

Business Terms & Conditions set out the terms and conditions by which customers engage your business. You may have heard this called a Service Agreement, a Client Agreement, a Customer Contract, Standard Terms or various other names – these are all similar types of agreement that fulfill a similar function: to form a contractual agreement between your business and your customers.

When Do I Need It?

If you’re running a business that provides services to customers, it’s always a good idea to have Business Terms and Conditions in place. It will help clarify what the role and responsibilities of you and your customer are, and reduce the chance that a dispute will occur. It can also help to limit your liability if something goes wrong, secure your revenue streams and provide other important protections and limitations specific to your business.

How Do I Use It?

Business Terms and Conditions are sometimes written as a formal contract with your customers to be signed by both your business and your customers. However, it’s often easier to have your Business Terms and Conditions written in a way so that they can just be attached to the back of an invoice, form or a proposal, and are drafted so that your customer can accept the terms without needing to sign it.

Rather than having a signing block, Business Terms and Conditions often include a sentence that says something like: “You will be taken to have to have accepted these terms and conditions if you order, accept or pay for any services provided by us after receiving or becoming aware of these terms.” – and yes, this can be a valid contract!

Business Terms & Conditions Example

Alli runs a web design business. Before building a website for a new customer, Alli writes a proposal for the client which includes details of the website to be built and the price payable. Alli attaches Business Terms and Conditions to the proposal, which include terms detailing how payments are to be made, what happens if a delay occurs, who owns intellectual property in the website, limitations and disclaimers about Alli’s service, and rules regarding how the agreement can be terminated. The Business Terms and Conditions state that by paying for the proposal, the client will be taken to accept Alli’s standard terms. This way, if there is ever a dispute about the scope of the services, Alli can simply refer back to this proposal and the standard terms.

Things To Include In Business Terms And Conditions:

  • Business obligations – What is the scope of the services to be provided by the business? Are there any limitations on the services? What happens if there are changes to the services?
  • Customer obligations – What will the business require from the customer in order to perform the services? What happens if this is not provided?
  • Payment – When does payment need to be made? What is the process for payments? Are there any late fees?
  • Intellectual property – Who will own the intellectual property in work products that are created for or provided to the customer?
  • Liability – To what extent your business be liable if something goes wrong or someone suffers loss as a result of the services?
  • Termination – How can either party get out the agreement? What is the effect of termination – what happens to outstanding fees and partially completed work?
  • Dispute resolution – What happens if there is a dispute? Is there a process that needs to be followed (eg mediation) before the dispute is taken to court?

Need Help With Your Business T&Cs?

Putting together Business Terms and Conditions can seem like a daunting process, as it’s hard to know what to include and how to word it. It’s a good idea to get a lawyer to assist you with this process, as it’s a one-off cost that can save you from disputes and liability in the long run. At Sprintlaw, we have a team of experienced lawyers who can assist you with drafting or reviewing Business Terms and Conditions. Get in contact with one of our consultants for a no-obligation chat on how we can help you put together Business Terms and Conditions and help with any other legal issues your business may have.

Need help with Business T&Cs?

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Minna Boyle

Minna is the legal operations manager at Sprintlaw. After receiving a law degree from Macquarie University and working at a top tier law firm, Minna now manages the legal operations at Sprintlaw and puts a focus on making legal knowledge more accessible to the public.
Minna Boyle

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