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Setting the Ground Rules

contracts websites Sep 11, 2017

This time of year teachers, coaches and parents are all busy laying down a new set of “ground rules” for the year.

According to Wikipedia, the original of the term “ground rules” comes from baseball. Different ballparks have different rules in addition to the more standard ones. At Wrigley Field in Chicago, for instance, if the ball is hit to the outfield and gets stuck in the ivy on the outfield fence, it is a ground rule double.

For your business, a contract is a great way to set ground rules with your clients. This works particularly well at the beginning of the relationship or at the beginning of a new piece of work. Below are some topics that are frequent areas of concern:

  1. Payment Terms – When will the invoice be issued? How long does the client have to pay? Will there by interest and penalties for late payment.   What forms of payment will be accepted?
  2. Returns and Refunds – Will these be allowed and under what circumstances?
  3. Changes to Scope of Work – How will these be dealt with and approved? How will the price be adjusted?
  4. Conduct – Are there any types of conduct or rules that your client needs to follow? What would give you the right to fire them as a client?
  5. Transfer or Assignment – Can your client assign the contract to another company? Can you? What permissions or approvals are needed?
  6. Termination – How can the contract be terminated early or extended?

If you have a website, you should set out the ground rules for using your website in the TERMS OF USE.

If you have a Facebook group or other online community, you should post the ground rules for the group so that you can take down posts or block users who do not follow the rules.


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