As the new year begins, our thoughts often turn to cleansing or decluttering our minds or homes. The simple setting of new years resolutions often gives us the opportunity to reflect upon what we could improve on or what we could do better. But how often do we use the new year to do the same for our business policies and procedures?
The often quieter time for businesses in January can allow for the perfect time to pause and reflect on our business and refresh our processes or the mechanisms we have in place to best serve our customers, build efficiencies, and improve compliance and profitability. Hand in hand with that goes a refresh of the (often well out of date) Terms and conditions of business (Ts & Cs) you may have in place. It is so important as a business to have relevant terms of business in place, as these outline the contract between you and your customers and can go a long way to managing customers expectations both from the outset and should that relationship begin to show signs of strain. They can also be the vital part of a contractual claim (or defence).
There are a number of key aspects which you should consider when reviewing your Ts & Cs:
- Ensure your Ts & Cs are relevant to your business. You should make sure all relevant risks are covered, from price and payment terms, to what happens in the case of a delay or failure perhaps caused through no fault of your own. You should also make sure that they protect your intellectual property rights, and any sensitive information. The areas covered and the terms contained within Ts & Cs will vary from business to business so it is well worth ensuring that any Ts & Cs you have are fit for the sector you are operating in.
- Your Ts & Cs will also need to be relevant to your industry in terms of compliance. There may be key regulations which apply to your industry and it is paramount that these are covered within your Ts & Cs.
- Make sure your Ts & Cs are clear and provide certainty for all parties involved. It is far easier to determine liability (should the occasion arise) if there are clear parameters in place at the start of a business relationship and having clear Ts & Cs in place at the outset can prevent lengthy (and often costly) litigation down the line.
If you need to review or get a set of Ts & Cs put in place for your business, please contact our Company and Commercial Team at Scott Bailey LLP. We are a team of Solicitors based in Hampshire, but we act for a range of businesses across a variety of sectors across the New Forest, Hampshire, and further afield.
Celia Hawson is a paralegal in the Company and Commercial Team at Scott Bailey LLP in Lymington.