Tuesday, 6 March 2012
Writing your Terms of Business
Phew, this week has been a busy one. I've just got back from a few days in Italy visiting my sister and I'm now back in the swing of things and have been working hard trying to get more preparation done for my Trade Fair. One of the jobs that has needed doing for a while has been writing out my Terms of Business or Terms and Conditions, and this is a job that I've been putting off, as, quite frankly, I didn't really know where to begin.
I decided to call out for help (via Twitter) to see if anyone could help me... I must say I was bowled over by the help and support I received. I'd especially like to give a shout out to the lovely Madeline Norris, Becca Williams and also Linda from The Art Room Gallery in Garstang, Lancs. Thanks ladies, I really appreciate your help.
So what kind of things do you need to think about for your Terms of Business as an artist/designer? Well, this time two days ago I had no clue but after a bit of research and help from fellow tweeters I came up with the following categories. Again, as with my SOR agreement, this is not a definitive list, I may have left out some huge clause, leaving myself wide open to scandalous goings on, but I simply will share with you what I have put together in the hope it might help someone else out:
Stating general info such as VAT status, who owns the images, do not repoduce without prior consent etc.
Prices and Payment:
Where your prices are detailed, how you will invoice the customer, how you would like to be paid (PayPal, cheque, BACS), and also that you reserve the right to review your prices every now and again. I've opted for orders to be paid in advance, once order confirmation has been received I will send out a pro-forma invoice, stating total to be paid, and that this must be paid in full before I despatch good unless we agree otherwise.
This part is just to state what how long the customer has to change their mind, what happens if they cancel, and what happens if they cancel after the stated time (ie will they be charged a % of total owed). For large orders you may have already started making the stock and will not want to be out of pocket.
In this section I covered expected delivery times, reiterating again that orders will not be despatched until payment has been received, how postage will be charged (ie on sliding scale or blanket charge (the Post Office do a couple of really good leaflets on postage charges and also Parcel Force prices, worth checking out), whether you are giving the buyer a 'free postage on orders over £x' option, and also how you will ship (next day, recorded, first class etc). I also mentioned I cannot be held responsible for delays in transit.
Returns and Damages:
Here you need to state what your returns policy is, who is responsible for shipping costs, when you can and cannot return good etc.
You get my drift? I'd been putting this off for ages, due to feeling completely clueless, but I got there in the end, with a bit of help, research and determination.
Another job done.... Tick!!