With the uncertainty of Britain’s economic and political climate, many business owners are reluctant to employ full-time or part-time permanent workers. But freelance work is on the rise. Also on the rise are companies that provide onshore and offshore services. Particularly companies offering call answering services.
Business owners can cut costs by using companies that facilitate their back office work. Marketing companies are also on the rise, helping SMEs boost their online profile. And sales companies engaged in selling on behalf of companies. There’s a never ending amount of services out there that can facilitate the running of your business.
Sometimes suppliers, particularly freelancers, carry out their work for you without a contract or agreement in place. Nothing in writing. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t trust people, if they look trustworthy enough… in an ideal world. But the truth of the matter is that it isn’t a case of trusting or mistrusting people in business. It’s a case of knowing where you stand and have a reminder in place, in case things get forgotten.
With that in mind, we’d like to talk to you about suppliers and service agreements. If you have suppliers doing any work for you, you must have a written document setting out the terms of your agreement with the supplier. It’s not a matter of trust, it’s just a way of ensuring that both you and the supplier know exactly what the relationship is about. You need a document that solidifies that relationship with clarity and the assurance that both parties are clear about the responsibilities they have with one another. You can call it a ‘services agreement’ or ‘terms and conditions’ or ‘terms of service’.
We’ll call it for now ‘terms and conditions’ or Ts & Cs. If a company or freelancer provides you with services, Ts & Cs will be the rules by which both you and the service provider should abide. It helps you and the service provider to keep things in an organised fashion. This will avoid any future oversights, confusion or disputes. For instance, you’ll agree the fees and payment date, as well as time allowed to make payment. You’ll agree on which expenses should be reimbursed and how payment should be made.
Ts&Cs don’t necessarily have to be 10 pages long. You can easily draft an agreement that’s 2-4 pages long, including the signatures page. Next week we’ll give you a breakdown of Ts & Cs – what should be included in Ts&Cs. Please give us a call if you would like to discuss drafting a document for your suppliers or amend/review any supplier documents. SG
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