In today’s world, Terms and Conditions are everywhere. Whether you receive them in old-school hard copy or click I agree when using the internet before being allowed to surf, download, shop, or bank, most of us receive or agree to some form of Terms and Conditions several times every single week. A 2017 survey by Deloitte of over 2,000 consumers in the U.S. found that over 90% of consumers accept legal Terms and Conditions without reading them. For those aged 18-34, the rate is even higher at 97%.
So why bother?
When running your business, providing clients - and potential clients - with your business/trades Terms and Conditions before you do work for them gives you legal protection. It informs your client that you will only provide products or services for them if they agree to these terms and that by hiring you, they are legally considered to have agreed to them. Even if the client doesn’t read your provided terms, they are still bound by them as a result of you having supplied them upfront, should they decide to engage your services.
What are Terms & Conditions?
In short, Terms and Conditions are a set of regulations which a user must agree to follow in order to use a service. Used mainly by companies who provide services and/or software, it is not required by law to have such an agreement, however, if one is provided, it is legally binding. So, by checking the box saying I agree, the consumer is legally bound by these terms.
Why do you need Terms & Conditions?
You’re a tradie, not a lawyer, so what does this have to do with your business? Everything. Because including your own Terms and Conditions on your quotes, work authorisations and invoices are your own first line of defence should something go wrong.
Professional, well-drafted Terms & Conditions:
- Save you money should a dispute arise.
- Reduce disputes happening in the first place.
- Protect you from the risks of dealing with customers.
- Ensure you remain compliant with the law and uphold your own obligations to the customer.
What do Terms & Conditions usually include?
T&Cs typically include sections relating to one or more of the following areas:
1. Definition of key terms
2. What constitutes acceptance of the terms, i.e. if a customer accepts goods or services, they are considered to accept the Terms and Conditions
3. The rights, responsibilities and obligations of both the service provider (you), and the customer
4. Expected behaviour, and definition of misbehaviour or misuse
6. Pricing and payment details
7. Delivery details – how will you supply your goods or services?
8. Risk – who owns it at what point in a transaction?
9. Variation, termination, cancellation and default procedure, conditions and consequences.
10. Dispute resolution process, an outline of each parties’ rights, should a claim be taken to court.
11. Warranty information, fulfilling your obligations under Australian Consumer Law.
12. Title: who owns the goods at different points of a transaction?
13. Copyright and Intellectual Property details, i.e. ownership of your business logo, trademarks and website content, and any plans, drafts or designs created for a client.
14. Disclaimer or limitation of liability, setting out your legal liability for damages incurred.
15. How you will advise of any updates to the Terms, and where they can be found.
16. The Law or Act under which the Terms apply or are enforceable.
Not sure where to start? The Master Plumbers Association of NSW provides access to a standard set of Terms and Conditions, which they have made available for their members since 2007. Many plumbing businesses use these T&Cs as-is or have them customised to their own business by a legal professional.
How FlatRateNOW can help?
Terms and Conditions sorted? Excellent. Simply add them to your FlatRateNOW Company profile, and they are automatically applied to your future quotes, work authorisations and invoices. You don’t have to remember to add, include or attach them, or send them separately to a client each time…they are simply included every time you send a quote.
By supplying your Terms and Conditions before you undertake any work for a client, you are legally informing them of the conditions under which you will undertake any work, and of your mutual obligations.
Along with an itemised list of what work will be carried out, FlatRateNOW’s detailed quotes include your own Terms and Conditions, ensuring both you and your customer enter into any agreement with full transparency and understanding. That’s one thing less you have to worry about, allowing you to get on with running your business.
Please Note: FlatRateNOW holds no responsibility for the Terms and Conditions provided to you by any third party software. This is general advice, FlatRateNOW strongly recommend that you approach a legal authority to discuss your Terms and Conditions and how best they should be written. Standard Terms and Conditions do not take into consideration your unique business.
If you would like FlatRateNOW to recommend a legal authority to assist in the creation of your Terms and Conditions, please contact our friendly staff via firstname.lastname@example.org