How to draft terms and conditions for your business
You may already have seen these terms and conditions on an invoice or a quote you have received. You may be wondering whether, as a self-employed, you need some too… and if so, how to establish them!
Our advice: it is worthwhile to draw up sound general terms and conditions! They have several advantages.
First of all, terms and conditions limit misunderstandings between you and the client. In addition, they provide a lot of valuable information about your company and what you are selling. They reinforce your company’s image of reliability and professionalism. In addition, you can protect yourself against customers who tend to pay too late.
Terms and conditions, aka the “fine print”
A bit of theory to begin with: these conditions are the rights and obligations that apply between the buyer and the seller. These conditions are written specifically for your business. They may contain provisions that are not specified in the law. The clearer the communication, the better for both buyer and seller!
We could say that these terms and conditions are commonly referred to as “the small print” at the bottom of the invoice. As a seller, you should always be clear and concise. In this way, you also create the necessary trust with your customers: professional and reliable.
General terms and conditions: highly recommended, yet not mandatory
You are not legally obliged to include terms and conditions of sale in your quote or invoice. If you decide not to include your own terms and conditions, you are still protected by law.
However, we strongly advise you to determine and use your own terms and conditions. If they are properly drafted, they bring more clarity and certainty to your discussions with customers.
With Accountable, you can easily add your own terms and conditions to every invoice you create in the app.
The content of your general terms and conditions
It is important to think about it carefully: your terms and conditions should meet some requirements, in order to be valid. Otherwise, they will be declared null and void!
First of all, you have an obligation to provide certain information. This means that you are legally obliged to inform your customers of the general terms and conditions that apply to your services or products before or during the conclusion of the contract :
- Provide your own contact details: business name, address, contact details, etc.
- If applicable, you can also clarify the terms of delivery: duration, costs, your field of action, etc.
- Include your payment information: VAT, shipping costs, payment terms, etc.
- Finally, mention the penalties incurred in case of late payment. What interest do you charge for late payment, from what deadlines and amounts?
By signing all this, the customer accepts your terms and conditions of sale.
These conditions must be clear: legible, without contradictions nor ambiguity. It is also in your interest: if they are subject to interpretation, it is the interpretation most favorable to the customer that is generally adopted.
Finally, the legislator requires that buyers and sellers have balanced rights and obligations. For example, you should not include exaggerated penalties in your invoices to convince the customer to pay on time. Unreasonable compensation can also become null and void!
In addition to this basic information, think about other conditions of sale that would apply to your business: is there a legal guarantee? Do you want to grant certain derogations or extensions?
📌 Don’t forget the privacy aspect: be clear about what information you collect from your customers and the purposes you use it for.
Establishing terms & conditions: do you do it yourself or should you ask for help?
It is tempting to copy a competitor’s terms and conditions to save time. Be careful! In most cases, they will not be completely adapted to your business. These terms and conditions may not fully cover you in the event of a problem.
It is, therefore, preferable to establish your own general conditions. You can always have them read by a lawyer, or, better still, have a lawyer write them up for you. This is certainly an investment, but a smart investment: it can save you a lot of costs, time and discussion during your career as a self-employed person!
You can incorporate these terms and conditions into your quote: it is always best for your customer to know what they are committing to when they accept an offer! If necessary, you #B3EDFFcan find a sample quote here.
You can also attach them to the invoice that you create in our app. Alternatively, you can mention in the comments box some precautions you want to take when selling a good or service!