1. Begin by considering all possible legal issues and scenarios.
The first step before writing down your terms and conditions is to make a list of all potential legal obstacles or circumstances.
As an illustration:
What steps will you take if the client fails to pay the bill?
What happens if you are late in delivering your services or products to the customer?
What will you do if a customer is dissatisfied with your products or services?
What if the product or service is damaged during delivery by your client's delivery service?
Are there any discounts if your customers pay in advance?
What kind of interest rate do you want to charge for late payments?
What if the customer wishes to renegotiate the contract immediately after the two parties have agreed on the terms and conditions?
Can your customer ask for a refund? What scenarios, if any, would allow for this?
What happens if the scope of the work expands?
Who will foot the bill if a budget or quote was overestimated?
Who is liable if a product fails after purchase?
What plan will you implement if the agreement or contract is terminated?
It may take some time to think about and formulate this list, but once you have everything written down, you will be able to quickly write future conditions and terms with the other clients you will add to your client list. Most importantly, having the most appropriate terms and conditions for your firm will ensure that you are compensated and that your business is protected in the event that legal action is taken.
2. INCLUDE ALL IMPORTANT PARTS OF AN INVOICE.
Including the essential elements of an invoice will not only expedite the payment process, but it will also answer any questions that the client may have about the goods or services that you provided for them.
When creating invoices, make sure to include:
Your company's logo
The invoice number
Your contact details
Contact information for your client
The products or services you provided, as well as their prices
Payment methods that you accept
Early payment invoice discounts or the imposition of late fees
Check that all of the information on the invoice is correct and that it is being sent to the correct person before mailing it. Any mistakes can quickly slow down the payment process and make you appear unprofessional.
3. EXPLAIN CLEARLY THE PRODUCTS/SERVICES BEING PROVIDED OR THE SCOPE OF THE PROJECT.
This is undoubtedly the most important part of your invoice's terms and conditions. Why? Because it specifies what the client is paying you for.
For example, if you are hired to create a website for a client and it takes longer than expected, having a description of the time and expenses it took you to finish the job answers any questions or doubts about the final amount of the invoice.
4. REDUCE YOUR PAYMENT TERMS
This should go without saying, but the longer you give customers to pay, the longer it takes for you to get paid, resulting in a slower cash flow.
So, if you give a customer 45 days to pay an invoice and they pay you a couple of weeks late, that means you've waited two months to receive payment.
When it comes to invoicing, a payment term of 30 days or less is the standard because it helps keep the cash flowing. Nonetheless, review your industry's invoice standards and confirm the client's pay cycle. These factors can assist you in determining your payment terms.
5. ENHANCE GUARANTEES AND WARRANTIES
It is not uncommon for any company that sells goods and services to provide guarantees and warranties. It gives the customer confidence and makes them appear more legitimate and reputable. If you do provide a guarantee or warranty, make it clear in your terms and conditions.
Never neglect to address issues such as when a client/customer loses their guarantee or warranty.
6. GO AFTER LATE PAYMENTS.
Customers will occasionally fail to pay invoices by the due date. Instead of being passive, you must be persistent in locating those specific late payments.
Keep track of your customers' payment due dates on a regular basis and contact them by phone, e-mail, or mail if they have not paid you by the due date. Include late-fee terms on your invoices, such as charging interest on overdue payments, which a reliable cloud-based invoicing software will do automatically.
If you are unable to contact the late-paying client or they are unresponsive to follow-ups, you may be forced to send a collection letter, hire a collection agency, or take them to court. Make all of this information clear from the start.
7. NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL.
Make certain that your terms are tailored to your company. Remember that your company does not have the same needs, resources, or clients as other companies. As a result, you can't just copy and paste the terms and conditions from a commonly used template or another business because they won't address your specific needs.
A template can help you get started and point you in the right direction, but you must ultimately write terms and conditions that are unique to your business and clientele.
8. BE PROFESSIONAL AND POLITE AT ALL TIMES.
Being courteous can have a positive impact on your business. Simply including a phrase like """"please pay your invoice within twenty-one days"""" or """"thank you for your business"""" can increase the number of invoices paid by more than 5%! This may not seem like much, but it can add up to thousands of dollars in your bank account each year.
Aside from helping you get paid faster, being professional and polite can easily improve the image of your brand.
9. MAKE THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS EASY TO READ.
Keep the language in your conditions and terms simple and easy to understand. Put yourself in the shoes of your clients' customers and you'll realize that they aren't all familiar with industry jargon or even bookkeeping terms like ""net 30.""
Furthermore, don't try to hide everything on one page by using a small font so that your clients can't read the fine print. It will appear shady to your client and will damage your reputation (regardless if there is nothing tricky on your invoice).
10. ASK FOR HELP WHEN IN DOUBT.
When everything else fails to perform as expected, or you find yourself in a complex or specialized situation, don't be afraid to seek advice from your mentor, fellow business managers, or your attorney. These are people who have written terms and conditions before and are more familiar with laws and regulations than you are."""