In appraisal we call our disclaimers Assumptions and Limiting Conditions. Potato, Potahto.

When you come across a business with an extraordinary number of disclaimers they tend to be larger and lawyered up, attempting to cover every possible contingency long before they happen and however unlikely the scenario. From the customer’s perspective, it can be a little off putting. It doesn’t feel like someone wants to do business. It feels one-sided. Angry. Defensive.

But it is an even greater mistake to have no disclaimers, a mistake a lot of small business make. Early on, they simply don’t have the time to create and post disclaimers, they are too busy trying to build their business.

 But they learn, oh, how they learn.

Should you, for example, be responsible for an item that was defective or substandard when you received it? Should a client be able to use your work in advertising or promotion? Should you be obligated to perform additional services without a prior agreement? Of course not.

Good disclaimers simply set boundaries on a relationship. They say, “you can go to here, but not here.” They create an open and healthy relationship. Everyone knows what they can expect. They are fair.

Which is all anyone really wants.