Terms of Trade – Protect Your Business

Why do you need terms of trade?

Your terms of trade define how you do business. You might consider that some terms are implied, but implied terms will never replace expressed terms or terms that are in writing. You might already be familiar with the concept of an ‘agreement’ or a ‘contract’ (ie, a legally binding agreement), so consider your terms of trade as your contract with your customers or clients.

In that contract you can determine things like what you’re going to do for them and what they’re going to do for you in return (ie, payment).

You might cover other things like time for payment and penalties for late payment, or you might detail issues like warranties, guarantees and maybe return policies. The extent and detail of your terms of trade really depend on the nature of your business and the risks that you wish to manage.

If your business is all about ‘point of sale’ transactions that happen over the counter, you might not have a written contract with each of your customers but you may need to have notices regarding return policies clearly visible around your shop. If you extend credit to your customers, you might require your customers to provide security in the form of personal guarantees or maybe even an interest over some kind of property. If you trade over the internet, your website might contain your terms of trade as part of the website or the online shopping cart. Or if you do business by quoting and signing up customers, you might place your terms and conditions on the back of your quoting form and ask customers to sign their acceptance of the quote as well as your terms.

The bottom line is that there’s no specific rule regarding how your terms of trade should be reflected in your business, and you need to assist your business or sales procedure to determine at what point in time do you ‘have a deal’. That’s when you need to concentrate on ensuring that your customers or clients have clearly understood your terms of trade and have accepted them. Finding the right balance between what is commercially acceptable and legally enforceable is not easy, and sometimes you need to find an acceptable compromise that protects your interest but does not hinder your ability to do business – and that’s exactly where we can help.

Legal Advice for Small Businesses

Do you run a business? What sorts of legal issues do you normally encounter when running your business? For that matter, when was the last time you saw a solicitor? Would it be before you started your business – or only after you encountered a problem?

Solicitors are a little bit like doctors. You usually only ever see a doctor when you are sick – when something has gone wrong with your body. In the same way, businesses usually see solicitors when something has gone wrong. That shouldn’t be the case.

It is understandable that a majority of businesses are averse to seeking legal advice from a solicitor. Legal advice is often seen to be intrusive, complicated, annoying, and more often than not – expensive. However, the reality of the situation is that in order for your business to be successful, you need to get your business in order – and that includes sorting our your legal obligations as well as seeking ways in which your business can better protect itself. And the sooner you can do that, the easier it is to deal with problems in the future.

What sorts of matters do businesses commonly deal with? Terms of Trade, Trade Practices, Compliance with ASIC, Intellectual Property, Confidentiality, Leases, Bad Debts, Contracts, Disputes… the list is innumerable. Yes, you can ignore it or attempt to deal with it on your own. However the bottom line is that if something goes wrong, a significant sum of money can be spent attempting to rectify the problem. In contrast, investing a little time and money into getting some advice beforehand can greatly reduce the chances of such an incident occurring.

After all, if you have peace of mind in these aspects, you can better concentrate on running your business.

We want you to succeed – so if you ever need any help or a quick consultation and review of your business practices – please do not hesitate to call us!