What kind of impact do suppliers have on your business? Your suppliers services don’t just add value to your business, they help you run your business. In fact, you probably can’t run your business without your suppliers, such as the IT company, the accountant, the consultant, the freelance PA, the call answering service, the marketing people, etc.
Your suppliers help you run the business without being employed by you. You engage their services until further notice and without a need to justify termination of services. Some suppliers get the permanent staff treatment with end of year gifts, team days out, company dinners and even a bonus that’s meant to be allocated for members of staff. Suppliers often are treated as part of the team because they often are.
If you treat your suppliers as part of the team then you certainly promote a healthy environment in your office. But are terms and conditions equal to an employment contract? No. Terms and conditions or Ts & Cs make up a document that solidifies your business relationship with your supplier. The Ts & Cs document makes that relationship official and legally binding.
Ts & Cs are not an employment contract, so there are no employment obligations and the employment law doesn’t really apply. Business law does apply though. Ts & Cs are the way you legally show that you have obligations with the supplier and vice versa. Once you agree to engage the services of a supplier, don’t just shake hands on it. Without this legal document, you are not under legal obligations. Moral obligations may or may not stand in the court of law but a legally binding contract always does.
Terms and conditions become legally binding once both parties accept the responsibilities set out in the contract. Often you can accept the Ts & Cs in writing via an email without signing the document, but it is highly recommended that both parties sign the document to avoid any disputes. If either you or your supplier are in breach of contract, then the law can be enforced. Often you only need to point to the Ts & Cs to resolve any issues amicably or just as a gentle reminder.
If you have Ts & Cs that you would like to review and update, or if you would like us to draft Ts & Cs for your suppliers, please give us a call. Your initial consultation is complimentary and we can help you better understand how Ts & Cs can benefit you and your business. SG
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