As a lawyer, one of the most serious places where we find issues with clients’ cases are when their own terms are not clear. There is generally no issue when terms and conditions protect both parties as long as everyone knows where they stand in the beginning and what is expected of them.
The main points to cover:
- What service/ finished product is expected- both parties must be clear on what is being offered and what is being accepted;
- When and how the service/ finished product is deemed to be complete- this is especially true in building or custom jobs when there is a possibility of a ‘snag list’;
- The price! as well as what extra’s are being charged for. It is so common that during the project, the service provider accepts oral instructions or changes to the initial brief and then just does the work without quoting for it, it is almost like a trap that many service providers fall into;
- What happens afterwards? After-sales support and guarantees/warranties must be clear and understood (this includes returns et cetera);
- When is payment expected? If a deposit is required- do not start work until received, and be clear as to when the rest of the payment is due.
Money discussions are often uncomfortable, however it is so essential to break the discomfort and be upfront so that the parties have better prospects of enjoying a successful business relationship- based on honesty and transparency.