What’s the golden rule of starting any project? Sign a contract.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. It’s a great quote, yet it hardly depicts the truth. When you’ve been working on a web design and problem arise with the client, being tough is not nearly enough. You’ll definitely need to have a web design contract in place. Yet, a contract for creating a website or a web application does not need to be very complicated full of legalese. In fact, our web design contract templates include quite a few contracts which are quite simple – yet as binding as any web contract you’ll sign.

But what should your website contract cover?

So what do you need to have in place when good clients turn bad? You need to ensure that you have something to turn to if things start to go belly up. You are running a business – you need to have the right protection mechanisms in place.

If you think that these things will not happen to you – you need to think again. Especially, if you’re a freelancer and one web design project or client gone bad will create serious financial repercussions. Even agencies, with several wages to pay at the end of each month, whether a client pays or not, will need to make sure they have something to revert to if things don’t go as planned.

It’s also very possible that there is a question of a client keep wanting more and more. Maybe they keep coming back with revisions which will eat away at the profitability of the project.

When times get tough – you’ll need to have a web design contract which can help you out. Yes even if it feels like you’re breaking the friendly relationship you have with your clients – in reality, signing a contract matters to both you and your client. After all, you have your obligations to the client too.

So what should this cover?

A contract doesn’t have to contain a bunch of jargon and legal terms. A good contract clarifies what is expected of both sides – it also helps to communicate your approach to doing business. It will embody the values of your brand values and is the starting point for building a great relationship with your clients.

Your website design contract should cover:

  • An overview of why the client is hiring, when and for approximately how long
  • What are the responsibilities of both parties
  • The specifics of the job, what is in scope and what isn’t
  • How change requests will be addressed – this is something which will surely arise so cater for it
  • Liabilities and other legal terms necessary
  • Payment terms
  • What happens if the parties are not adhering to their respective obligations of the contract

Also, do remember the following, with a contract there’s no requirement for the other party to pay you upon completion of work. Of course, if you’re running a business, not a charity, we do believe this is quite an important part of completing a project.

It’s also crucial to remember a contract cannot simply favour you – the provider of the services. It has to be fair with your clients, in essence, it has to help and reassure them that the work will be completed in a timely manner and within the agreed budget. Getting a contract drawn up can be expensive, so to help you get started we have collected 10 free contracts available to download and use for drawing up your own version of contracts.

Getting a contract drawn up by a lawyer every time will become quite expensive, so elsewhere on this site (see link above) we’ve bundled a number of web design contracts and templates which you can use to get you started. Don’t forget to customize them as necessary for you though – these are your contracts, your clients, your obligations and your responsibilities.

Important notice: although you can get started with free sample contract documents and templates, they can never be a substitute for proper legal advice. Your situation is probably different than that of anybody else, so a good lawyer will ensure they give you the right advice of the nuances of your own situation. BeeWits will not be held responsible if things don’t go according to plan, use the above-linked contract templates at your own risk.