As you batten down the hatches in preparation for St Jude’s Storm, have you remembered to check your business terms? What if the storm cuts all power and you can’t open your shop or provide your website? What if you are OK but your sub-contractors are affected? Here are 3 key areas to check:
- Check your insurance policy: what damage is covered by your policy? Does it include storm or flood damage? Does it extend to just your home or do you also have an extension for your business or indeed a seperate policy specifically for your business. What are you entitled to if your business is interrupted? Have your camera ready so you can take pictures to back up any claims.
- Check your Terms of Business: I am assuming you have some! If not please get in touch quickly…If you can’t deliver your products or service, check what the procedure is for alerting your customers. Towards the end of your terms, you should hopefully have a so-called “Force Majeure” clause. This sets out that in the event of something happening which is beyond your control such as storms, flooding, acts of war, both parties are temporarily relieved from their obligations under the contract. Usually you will have to alert the other side- a bit like playing your joker card- and a timetable is kicked off whilst the unexpected circumstances continue. If it carries on too long, either party can elect to end the contract with no penalty. Check what period you have stated in your terms- it is usually 30 days.If you do not have a force majeure clause, then you need to see what commitments you have made to your customers and what the process is for deviating from the commitment. You may have built in a buffer zone and still be within it. At the very least you will have to let your customers know that you can’t deliver or will be late…. Customers would much rather know than be left in the dark!
- Check your supplier’s terms: If you are on the receiving end and are expecting deliveries or have sub-contracted some services out, what if they can’t deliver to you or to your customers? Do their terms include a force majeure clause or can they be held to account?
So the bottom line is to grab your contracts now and study them quickly. If you don’t have time or don’t know where to look, we are happy to help and- touch wood- still open for business!