We all know good impressions are central to any web development projects. So often I see web development project contracts that are missing some important things. Thats why its so important for freelancers to impress their clients with a good legal web development project contract.
Web development project contracts help to establish an image of your business right at the time of closing a sale. That is why web development project contracts are so effective to close the deal and set the expectation for a win-win.
Web development project contracts, the introduction.
Set the tone in the introduction of the web development project contract to help clients understand the expectations of the experience to come. Avoid the legalese found in many web development project contractsand go with something positive and very straight forward. This is arguably the most important part of your web development project contract because people tend to read the first few paragraphs of a web development project contract more carefully.
There is no need to sound overly official in a web development project contract.Its more important to be crystal clear, be positive and leave no room for misinterpretation. So begin the web development project contracts with a positive. “XYZ company is excited with working you on x project. We enjoy working on projects made of good ideas and it is clear that this project won’t disappoint!! we look forward to providing client x with great service and dedication in designing a great looking site.”
WOW! Imagine a web development project contracts that started out with that! Clients love it. Once you have pitched the web development project contracts as a positive and have already established who is hiring who, you can list a few important things like :
- When will the project be delivered?
- What is being done?
- How much will this person get paid?
The Contingencies in your web development project contracts
Now that we have started things off right we can dive right into the more boring stuff involved with web development project contracts. We can discuss things like the responsibilities of both parties.
- What will the freelancer be responsible for providing?
- What does the client need to provide so the freelancer can do his or her job effectively?
- The exact scope of the project.
You web development project contract should have contingencies for project scope but it important to clearly define it in the web development project contract. It helps to keep you getting paid when the client has new ideas! And they will!
- What happens when the plan changes.
- How will you charge for any modifications outside of the original scope?
- How will changes get approved?
- An overview of legal liabilities. This can cover anything from who pays for errors and bugs as well as copyright protection.
NOTE: For developers working with CMS sites, be careful. Sometimes a module you have written can be broken by another developers code. You should not be responsible for this as there is no way to predict it. If you are working in a CMS, make sure client understand that scope can occur and an error does not necessarily mean it’s your fault!
Try something like the following:
At Development Company XYZ, we promise to do our best. We hope to be a long term valuable member of your team! We are committed to helping you accomplish your goals. To make sure we understand you needs we believe it is best to create some simple guidelines like, who should do what, what happens when the plan changes and how to adress unexpected issues that often affect scope . We find that by being as clear as possible early on that it will make things easy and fun to work together. ”
Defining The Responsibilities.
Responsibilities can be anything from the freelancers obligation to deliver the work on time to your client obligation to provide you with all of the resources you need in order to do your job effectively. That can include, text, graphics, web hosting, other resources, and even the authorization to spend money on the project.
Consider adding this provision:
By entering into this web development project contract, you agree that you have the power to enter web development project contracts on behalf of your company or organization. It is important that you provide us with everything we need in order to complete the project on time. That includes text, graphics, animations, images, and other resources. You agree to give these resources to us within time period X after they are requested so we can continue to do our job in a timely manner.
Important to meeting any deliverable deadline you will review our work and provide feedback and sign-off approval according to the timeline we have laid out. As a team we both agree to the deadlines we have set together. We will provide the work on time, and you will provide the payment on time.We agree that they will be done according to the deadlines of XYZ so long as we receive all materials and sign-off approval on time. We value your proprietary materials as being important to your business and are committed to hold confidential any information you give us.
Staying On Budget And Handling Change.
Clients should have the ability to change their mind when they deem it necessary to do so. By outlining a simple pricing and approval scheme for any changes, you can keep the project on track. It’s not uncommon to see a clause like the following in aweb development project contracts.
“If you want to change your mind and add in extra pages or functionality, it’s no problem. We will charge according to our daily rate of $XY.ZZ. Each change request needs to be put in writing so we have a continuous record of what was approved. We can send you the change request with a best guess estimate and any unexpected issues that may increase scope will be commuted in a timely mannor and also be subject to the hourly rate.
Sometimes client feel like if there is an error that the provider should pay. Now is the time to remind them: “This is a research and development project, an exploration of the unknown and therefore we can’t guarantee that all functions in the website will always be error-free. Building a website is an iterative process that involves test and bug identification. As such bugs and errors will need to be corrected and will be charges at out normal hourly rate of $XYZ. We recommend that you the appropriate considerations to avoid adversely affect your business. We cannot be held liable to you or any third party for damages, including lost profits, lost savings, or other incidental, consequential, or special damages arising out of the operation of or inability to operate this web site any other other web pages, even if you have advised us of the possibilities of such damages.
Multiple Browser Compatibility.
Don’t forget most people either don’t know this craziness around browser compatibility or simply assume it is included. Its a good idea to define which browsers you currently support. This sets the expectation for what the client will receive later on. Its also a good practice to list your prices for supporting older browsers in case the client believes the users are typically in the dark ages.
Legal Liabilities And Copyright Issues.
This is big one and it is an opportunity to sound like an expert here. Both design and development works are considered a work of art by the Digital Millennium Act. That means you own the work until you legally give up rights to the client! Payment does not surrender this right so it is also important add something about transferring rights. I know a guy who built a huge package for an insurance company and than charged them to lease it from him. They tried to sue but lost! They ended up paying him to build it, and paying him to use it. He know lives on a tropical island in the south pacific!
It is important to note that clients WILL give you ripped content and you need to be sure you are protected from copyright infringement. The client possesses all copyrights or permissions to use any graphics, text, photos, designs, videos, or anything else sourced for the purpose of this website design. Once the final design is completed, the client will possess all ownership of any code, designs or materials after the final payment is made. If the client or provider uses materials in an unauthorized fashion, that person will be held responsible for doing so.
Protecting The web development project contract.
You’ll also want to ensure that the web development project contract stays valid for the duration of your business relationship.“You cannot transfer ownership of this web development project contract to anyone else without our express permission in writing. The web development project contract stays in place and does not need to be renewed. If any of the provisions in this web development project contract are deemed unlawful, they are to be severed from the web development project contract, and the rest of the web development project contract will remain valid.
End the web development project contract on a Positive Note.
Its no fun mentioning legal liabilities and other possible situations that you both need to protect yourselves from. That why I always take a deep breath end my web development project contracts on a positive note. I write something to let my client or freelancer know how excited I am to get things started. It’s a nice gesture that has always helped to set things off on the right foot when sending over your web development project web development project contract!
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