Why you can't go another day without a Terms and Conditions Document

February 2, 2015
Why you can't go another day without a Terms and Conditions Document

If you’re one of those people who hate reading the fine print, then you might be put off by this article’s topic – but terms and conditions are actually a vital part of working with clients, and they can end up saving you a lot of time and money!

Today, we’ll take a look at why having a terms and conditions document is important for your business, and we’ll also provide some guidance on what to include in yours. 

Why should you have a terms and conditions document?

1. To save money
One of the most important benefits of having terms and condition is that they can actually save you money! When you clearly state your expectations upfront, your clients will see that you have a firm stance when it comes to being paid on time, and will be less likely to take liberties in this regard.

2. To define work parameters
Terms and conditions allow you to minimize disagreements: when clients agree to things such as your invoice period, deadlines and amount of revisions provided in a quote, then they’re less likely to make unreasonable demands. It’s up to you to manage expectations!

3. To protect yourself
Unfortunately, you may run into the occasional unscrupulous client, but if you present a confident, professional and informed demeanor in your terms and conditions, then you’re less likely to be taken for a ride! And if the worst does come to the worst, then your terms and conditions will give you the advantage when asserting yourself. 

Finally, having a well thought out terms and conditions document to present to your clients simply makes you look more professional!

What to include in your terms and conditions.

Having established the benefit of having terms and conditions, let’s now discuss some things to include in them. Whilst the following points shouldn’t be considered exhaustive, they’ll provide some important things to consider as you begin constructing your document.

1. Expenses
Generally speaking, freelance translators shouldn’t have a great deal of expenses to deal with, but there may be times when you need to make purchases directly related to your contract with a particular client (such as office supplies or specialist research material). If you decide that you want to charge for these things, then you need to tell your clients up-front.

2. Payment details
Detailing how you expect to be paid, including when you’ll send your invoices and when you need to be paid by, will help you to avoid late payments. And if you’re not paid on time, then you can include a clause detailing what action you’ll take for late payments.

3. Descriptions of services
It’s important to detail what your different services entail, as some clients are likely to expect more of you than you think is required. Stating this beforehand will keep everyone on the same page.

4. Deadlines
Although they’re usually worked out with the client, mentioning deadlines is also important. Setting general expectations (for example, that you don’t agree to deadlines on the weekend) will give your negotiations a starting point.

Final thoughts

Hopefully this post will have given you an insight into why terms and conditions are important and helped you to consider some details to include in yours. For examples of other elements to include, you could check out SfEP’s template or freelanceuk.com’s example

Do you have a terms and conditions document that you send out to new clients? What do you include in it that isn’t mentioned in this article? If you don’t have a terms and conditions document yet, has this post made them seem important and inspired you to make one? Feel free to discuss below!