I spoke about what makes a contract in my last blog, however one of the fundamental objectives in drafting a contract is to ensure it is legally effective. You have your terms & conditions or your contract, should a dispute arise it is important that the documents you have negotiated business with can even be relied on should need be.
So, as exciting as it may be that you’ve got a client for whatever services or goods you are providing, unless you have the following areas covered in your commercial agreements you may find yourself facing some problems. As mentioned previously, no contract would exist unless the contract is properly formed. That is with an offer, an acceptance, intention to create legal relations and of course consideration. (What is a Contract? )
Make sure your terms and conditions are clear, structured, in plain English, and specific. What will happen should a condition not be met, what would the remedy be for each breach? It is imperative that your terms and conditions are working for you, look at them as your business tool. Cashflow is crucial to your business, you can minimise the risk of late or non-payment by clearly stating what should happen if invoices are paid late. Is it very clear when the invoice is due? Judges will not allow any room for ambiguity, should the terms be interpreted differently by different parties you run the risk of having the contract void for uncertainty. Make them clear!
So, take out your terms and conditions. Dust them off. Maybe even read them for the first time, come on be honest! Are they covering everything? They should cater for unexpected events. Ensure that key obligations are performed, (that is by both you and your client). Exclude and limit your liabilities. Provide a termination clause, protect your business too. It isn’t just about when your clients wish to cancel, it may be that you do. Have you thought about data protection, confidentiality, protecting your business interests with restrictive covenants and what should happen if a dispute does arise?
Here at BEB we are offering free reviews of your current terms and conditions. Email them across at firstname.lastname@example.org . If you don’t have any, book in for a no obligation chat where we can discuss drafting you some bespoke terms that are going to protect you in every eventuality. www.bebconsultancy.co.uk