When you are dealing with clients you always need a sound contract to prevent a bad customer taking advantage of you. I will also explain all the parts of it to help you better understand what it takes to create a good contract.
As with all things in life you will eventually meet someone that will try to take advantage of your skills without giving you the compensation you deserve. If you have a sound contract you will either deter these actions or you will have a good case if you are brought to court. You can use the contract below as you wish, I hope it helps you cover your business like it has helped me cover mine.
The Ins and Outs of a Good Contract
A good contract should always cover you in case your client does something wrong or not originally agreed upon. A verbal agreement is not as strong as a written agreement because it would be your word against theirs. Like my father says, “If it isn’t in writing then it does not count”, words my business lives by.
A good contract should contain the following:
- Complete client contact information including hosting user name and password
- Both the client’s name and the client’s domain name
- Authorization regarding account access
- In depth project description and process
- Site specs
- Date for completion
- Agreement that subcontractors can be used if needed
- Price estimate as well as late charges and down payment amount
- Refund policy
- Maintenance and hourly rate (if you have one)
- Legal information, for example: non-liability statement, performance clause, and copyright / trademark information
- Lastly, a signature with date signed
Authorization regarding account access
This part just says that the client authorizes access to you for their hosting account as well as all accounts you will need access to while working on the website
The client is engaging the designer as an independent designer for the specific project of developing and/or improving a World Wide website to be installed on the client’s web space on a web hosting service’s computer.
The client hereby authorizes the designer to access their account, and authorizes the web hosting service to provide the designer with “write permission” for the client’s web page directory, cgi-bin directory, and any other directories or programs which need to be accessed for this project.
The client also authorizes the designer to publicize the completed website to Web search engines, as well as other Web directories, indexes and to promote [your company name] with a link back located on a visible but unobtrusive section of the website.
In depth project description and process
This part just describes the project coding procedures, and what language you will use. This part just gives details about mockups, content, and credentials.
1. [your company name] will plan, code, and design a website for individual or corporate use to the specifications required by the client. The client is required to either give exact specifications or have [your company name] do their best to meet the general requirements laid out by the client.
2. The estimate describe in this document is only referring to the site specifications given by the client at the time this document was printed. The date can be found on the bottom of this page. Additional work not included with this document will require further payment deemed necessary by [your company name]. If the web site requires revisions the client will be billed accordingly and a new invoice will be issued.
3. The process for the presentation of graphics consists of [your company name] providing drafts and asking for feedback from the client. The client then gives feedback or approves of the images being used before they are put in place. The estimate assumes 2 rounds of this process will suffice for image creation.
4. All content on the website will be provided by the client for [your company name] to use. This content will be displayed as final drafts on the website and should be pre-read and checked by the client before issuing for use with the website. The content should be labeled depending on the placement that it is needed on the site. For example, the “About U” content should contain information about the individual or corporation and be labeled as such.
5. To maintain our portfolio credentials and integrity we, [your company name], shall be entitled to place an unobtrusive credit with a hypertext link to our website in the footer on each. [your company name] is also entitled to reproduce samples of the client’s website in our portfolio and in our marketing material.
This part give a simple review of the specifications you will use for the site design and implementation.
The website will consist of html and PHP based design unless otherwise noted. The site will provide general information about the client without the need of consent supervision. The client is required to maintain the website unless major modification is required. [your company name] hold no responsibility for the website after the initial build. We, [your company name], however will provide support and general website upkeep as needed. If the client needs more then general upkeep the client is required to pay a fee for whatever is changed. Please refer to article 2 in the above text for more information.
Date for completion
You must have this so the project does not become a never ending project.
The designer and the client must work together to complete the website in a timely manner. We agree to work expeditiously to complete the website no later than _________ / ____ / _________. If the client does not supply the designer complete text and graphics content for all pages contracted for within six weeks of the date this contract was signed, the entire amount of the contract becomes due and payable. If the client has not submitted complete text and graphics content within two months after signing of this contract, an additional continuation fee of 10% of the total contract price will also be assessed each month until the website is advertised.
Agreement that subcontractors can be used if needed
This part just states that you have the right to hire outside contractors to help you meet the deadline.
[your company name] reserve the right to assign subcontractors to this project to insure the right fit for the job as well as on-time completion.
Price estimate as well as late charges and down payment amount
This part describes the payment plan as well as a down payment and late fees.
1. [your company name] estimates that the cost for producing the website described in the site specification will be $__________________.
2. Payments will be as follows:
A deposit of 1/2 of the estimate total $___________________ is due upon the signing of this agreement before work begins.
A second payment of the remaining estimate total adjusted for changes in the estimate, if necessary, is due upon completion of the site or within (7) seven days. Completion is when the site is finished and all content is added and approved.
Delinquent bills will be assessed a $15 charge if payment is not received within 15 days of the due date. If an amount remains delinquent 30 days after its due date, an additional 10% penalty will be added for each month of delinquency. If an amount remains delinquent 120 days after its due date, [your company name] reserve the right to remove the webpage(s) from viewing on the Internet until final payment is made.
In case collection proves necessary, the client agrees to pay all fees incurred by that process. This agreement becomes effective only when signed by the designer or a [your company name] representative.
Regardless of the place of signing of this agreement, the client agrees that for purposes of venue, this contract was entered into in [county name], [state name], and any dispute will be litigated or arbitrated in [county name], [state name]. Please pay on time.
This part states that is the client does not want to work with you anymore then you can give them a refund limited to half of the initial payment unless they are past the 30 day mark.
If the client halts work and applies by registered letter for a refund within 30 days, to [your company name], [your company address], phone [your phone number], or email [your email address]work completed shall be billed at half of the initial payment, the balance of which shall be returned to the client. If, at the time of the request for refund, work has been completed beyond the amount covered by the initial payment, the client shall be liable to pay for all work completed at the hourly rate stated above. No portion of this initial payment will be refunded unless written application is made within 30 days of signing this contract.
Maintenance and hourly rate (if you have one)
Even if you do not charge a maintenance or hourly rate leave this part in to avoid the explanation of the incurring charges for work not specified in the contract.
This agreement includes minor web page maintenance to the website over a six-month period, including error correction, and general layout fixes. It does not including removing nearly all the text from a page and replacing it with new text, the client can update the site on their own but if you need the designer to do this for you, you will be billed at the hourly rate of $75.00 per hour. The six-month maintenance period commences upon the date the client signs this contract.
Changes requested by the client beyond those limits will be billed at the hourly rate of $75.00. This rate shall also govern additional work authorized beyond the maximums specified above for such services as general Internet orientation education, marketing consulting, web page design, editing, modifying product pages and databases in an on line store, art, photo, graphics services, and helping clients learn how to use their own web page editor.
This part just talks about the legal information regarding your location and suits.
[your company name] does not warrant that the functions contained in these web pages or the Internet website will meet the client’s requirements or that the operation of the web pages will be uninterrupted or error-free. The entire risk as to the quality and performance of the web pages and website is with client.
In no event will [your company name] be liable to the client or any third party for any damages, including any lost profits, lost savings or other incidental, consequential or special damages arising out of the operation of or inability to operate these web pages or website, even if [your company name] has been advised of the possibility of such damages.
If any provision of this agreement shall be unlawful, void, or for any reason unenforceable, then that provision shall be deemed severable from this agreement and shall not affect the validity and enforceability of any remaining provisions.
- Copyrights and Trademarks
- The client represents to [your company name] and unconditionally guarantees that any elements of text, graphics, photos, designs, trademarks, or other artwork furnished to [your company name] for inclusion in web pages are owned by the client, or that the client has permission from the rightful owner to use each of these elements, and will hold harmless, protect, and defend [your company name] and its subcontractors from any claim or suit arising from the use of such elements furnished by the client.
- Laws Affecting Electronic Commerce
- From time to time governments enact laws and levy taxes and tariffs affecting Internet electronic commerce. The client agrees that the client is solely responsible for complying with such laws, taxes, and tariffs, and will hold harmless, protect, and defend [your company name] and its subcontractors from any claim, suit, penalty, tax, or tariff arising from the client’s exercise of Internet electronic commerce.
- Copyright to Web pages
- Copyright to the finished assembled work of web pages produced by the designer (of [your company name]) is owned by [your company name] until final payment of this contract, the client is assigned rights to use as a website the design, graphics, and text contained in the finished assembled website. [your company name] and their subcontractors retain the right to display graphics and other Web design elements as examples of their work in their respective portfolios.
Lastly, a signature with date signed
The undersigned agrees to the terms of this agreement on behalf of his or her organization or business.
I _________________________ sign this document stating I have read and agreed to all of the above in cooperation with [your company name] in production and deployment of _______________________. I also agree that if under any circumstances I cannot afford to pay the remaining balance I forfeit the deposit and will have everything designed by [your company name] revoked and the contract terminated until I can pay the remaining balance in full.
[your company name] Representative_______________ Date__________
Client Representative_______________ Date__________
Contract Attached (download)
I have attached a contract in word document format that you can edit using the guidelines above. I hope that you use the contract to protect you and your business from being taken advantage of. You can download the contract here. Thanks for reading.