Business proposals are important sales documents necessary in much of today’s sales processes. A business proposal is an offer and a promise by the freelancer/agency/business to do certain work or deliver a product to a client. That’s the keyword here – promise. What is there to stop you or the client from not delivering what you promised in the proposal? The answer is simple – terms and conditions.
This key element of a business proposal is not just nice to have. It’s a necessity to keep all parties protected. Read on to find out more.
What are terms and conditions?
In any business agreement, the section called “terms and conditions” outlines the legal part of the deal. In other words, it tells everyone involved how the product/service will be delivered. It also states who is responsible for it, and what happens in case the business fails to deliver on their promise or the client fails to do their part.
The purpose of terms and conditions is to give some legal background to your business proposal. It assures everyone involved that in case something goes wrong, they are covered. This is a section that many of us skip, when installing software, for example. However, it is the go-to section in case things take an unexpected turn.
Do I need a Terms and Conditions section in my business proposals?
Yes, you do. Even if you don’t want to protect yourself and your business, it’s still a necessary proposal element. Even if it is never used (hopefully), think of it more as a psychological tool rather than anything else.
A potential client will feel much better signing your proposal when they know that they have some kind of protection if things should go bad. If they’re just on the edge of signing, this could be the deciding element that will push them to sign and convert on the spot.
What does a Terms and Conditions section discuss?
This part of your business proposal discusses the most important aspects of the work or the product that is being delivered. Some of the items that can be covered include:
Price and payment: how the client pays for the services provided, when they need to pay and under which conditions.
Cancellations: what happens if either party declines to fulfill their obligations.
Privacy: what you do with the client’s information as you do the work and especially once the work is done.
Intellectual property: who has the rights to the intellectual property of the materials that you use, create, or handle.
Delay fees: what happens in the case that you can’t meet the deadlines suggested in the business proposal.
Kill fees: what happens if either you or the client completely abandon the project and who has to pay damages in this case.
Clear up any unfamiliar words or phrases
Legalese is filled with a bunch of expressions that a layman may not understand. These could include special terms related to copyright laws, which you’re not obligated to explain as a service provider.
However, you can explain the terms regarding your own business that may need additional clarification. For example, what a content strategy is, what a website redesign means, what an event plan includes, etc.
These may be words that sound common to you, but once you include them in your T&C section, your clients will know exactly what is implied when you use them. The more specific you are and the simpler the explanations are, the fewer questions you will get and the easier it will be to handle any potential problems if they arise.
How do I get Terms and Conditions in my business proposals?
It depends. If you’re going the old-school way, you can download a template and add it to your PDF or Word document. There are plenty of websites out there that you can grab a template from. Just copy and paste it to your document and you should be good to go.
Alternatively, you can use a terms and conditions generator – we covered these in a separate blog post some time ago. These are web-based and you can get them fairly cheap, for 5-20USD a piece and you can use them as long as you want. The only problem is, they come in the form of a web page so you have to embed it into your business proposals. This is easier said than done, especially if you only use PDF and Doc proposals.
Last but not least, you can use Better Proposals. Each of our templates comes with this section out of the box. Just grab your favorite proposal template and you can rest assured that there is a Terms and Conditions section included in it already.
Do I need a lawyer?
It depends. If you’re concerned that something may go horribly wrong and if the client is insisting on getting a lawyer to create your T&C section, then call one by all means. A good lawyer will cost you a significant amount of money. With this in mind, don’t call one unless you really their service to close a specific deal.
On the other hand, a general Terms and Conditions section will keep you protected in 95% of cases. In normal situations, it’s just enough to bring peace to both parties and there is no need to involve a legal professional.
However, bear in mind that no template Terms and Conditions section can replace a proper one written and prepared by a lawyer.
A Terms and Conditions section is necessary for any good business proposal. Not only does it make the client more certain that you’re going to do your part of the deal, but it also makes you appear more professional.
When you use Better Proposals, you get this section included in all of your proposal templates from scratch. That way, you can create your proposals without worrying about this crucial aspect of sales. Last but not least, you won’t have to hire an expensive lawyer to do something that you could easily do yourself.
Ready to give it a test? Sign up for a free trial today to see Better Proposals in action!