Pay attention to your Fine-Print: it’s worth it.

terms_conditions_zpsa1a7bb69Tech Bootstraps don’t typically pay much attention or resource to the fine-print: their Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. Most startups end up “borrowing” Ts and Cs for launch. Hopefully, when their businesses gain traction, they’ll look at them seriously.

With Inn Style, we took the decision to invest in our Ts and Cs from the start. Our business is pretty complicated and we ended up having two sets of Ts and Cs as it’s multi-agency and we have a dual relationship with:

  • accommodation providers who use our hosted software as a service to run their establishments and take bookings, and
  • guests who use our hosted platform to book their stays with our clients the accommodation providers.

So we engaged Mishcon de Reya for our launch set of Ts and Cs and Privacy Policy. Mishcon are a big firm but feel like a small one, they were pretty affordable too as they knew we are a fledgling business. I couldn’t recommend Kiran Sandford andLarry Nathan enough.

Working with Mischon I learnt a lot more about the goals of Ts and Cs. Perhaps the most important: to use them to to be open and manage users’ expectations and pre-empt their questions (and obviously to manage our busines risk).

After all that, I turned over a new leaf with the smaller sites:

We’ve just launched Suffolk Places to complement Inn Style. We could have ‘sourced’ a standard set of Ts and Cs and a Privacy Policy but I spent a couple of hours writing our own tailored set of Plain English Ts and Cs which incorporates a privacy policy. I actually enjoyed doing it.

After reading them on the live site, I felt quite surprised, they ended up being quite useful. Useful to the user, whether they’d be a guest or an accommodation provider, but also quite useful to us, at Inn Style, because I think their openness and clarity may indeed prove to be an effective sales tool!