Terms and conditions in business specify arrangements, provisions and requirements that form an integral part of an agreement or contract between you and your customer.

Although finalising terms and conditions may not be a priority when starting your business, if neglected they could impact cash flow due to delayed payments, and the need to pay for materials before taking any payments.

Unfortunately for small businesses, late payments are often a given as customers give lower priority to bills from small firms. But, with the right terms in place, there should be no excuse for delayed payments.

See also: What do I need to know about GDPR as a business owner?

The aim of terms and conditions are to protect your business from other parties going back on their word. If it’s not in writing, there is no proof. They can either be written by yourself or you can seek the help of a lawyer to write these for you.

What to include in terms and conditions:

Well-drafted terms and conditions should act like a manual or recipe book for doing business and provide clarity on what to do in any given situation. The exact elements to include depend on the business. There is no one size fits all approach, but consider including the following:

  • A definition of what products or services will be provided
  • Clear presentation of the payment terms – when is payment due
  • Detail any guarantees or warranties offered
  • State the timelines for delivery and any queries
  • Specify what happens if either party doesn’t deliver or pay or wants to end the relationship
  • Include the term of the agreement and what notice is required to get out of it
  • Feature the law which governs the contract

See also: An overview of employment law for rural business owners

Tips for getting started with your terms and conditions:

  • Draw up a list of the key commercial terms that you are offering your customers
  • Consider all the possible scenarios of what could go wrong and then set out what you would do in each case
  • Ensure the language you use is understandable and legible
  • Make sure you revisit and update the terms of trade as required
  • If in doubt, seek help from a business advisor, professional or fellow business owner
Sign up to our newsletter

Get it now

Search for new diversification ideas

Search here

Find the products or services YOU need

Find an expert

Access exclusive member content

Get it now

Contact us for help and advice

Get in touch