Ahh…so you want to know about how to write a good web design contract? These essential web design contract tips are a must-read.
But before we start…well done – you’ve taken the right decision.
If you plan on designing a website for a client, a contract is a must, otherwise, you’re bound to get burnt. Time and time again, I’ve made the mistake in the past of trusting the feel-good factor, only to get bitten a few days/weeks down the line.
Because what happens if your client decides to abandon the product when you’re two thirds (or more done). Who is going to pay for the hours you’ve already spent?
But you’re not sure because you need to be convinced about the need, you’re here because you’d like to know learn a few tips on how to write a great website contract.
Example of the times I got burnt for lack of a web design contract
So I’ve mentioned a bit further up how I’ve been burnt by the lack of a contract. Does the following “delaying tactic” sound familiar?
Of course, you need to be flexible, but a few months down the line and several reminders later, work had been done, but payment was never made.
Delaying tactic – round 2:
This one was worse, got the deposit, got 2nd payment, but the final payment was nowhere to be seen…5 months down the line, I was still chasing for payment.
Suffice to say, a web design contract helps ensure you don’t go through the problems I have to face … so let’s have a look at web design contract tips which work.
Tips for writing a Better Website Contract
We’ve already given you a list of web design contract templates which you can start with as a basis, a list of clauses that you should have in your web contract, and what a web design contract should cover.
Now that we have an idea OF what needs to go into THE contract, let’s see how to make it better and avoid getting into any disputes, further down the line. Although these web design contract tips are generic in nature, they can work for everyone, from small one-man freelance operations to big design studios and design / digital agencies.
Keep the contract Simple
Although, the contract is in place to create a legally binding agreement of what needs to be done and against what payment, over-complicating the website contract and making it overly complex doesn’t benefit anyone (except maybe your lawyer).
A complex contract can create confusion and potential for disputes, particularly if your client does not understand the terms of the contract.
The really good contracts are easy to read and understand to most designers and clients.
By keep everything simple and free from jargon-free, the client will be easier to digest.
The shorter, the better – it’s easier to absorb for the client.
Technical and legal terminology should be kept to a bare minimum. Simplifying things ensures the client has no room to blame their misinterpretation on your website design contract.
Keeping it simple is an essential web design contract tip.
Define the Objectives of the contract
Most contracts set the final payment as a milestone to be completed when both parties agree that the project has been completed.
As a web designer, you might have a general idea of what project completion looks like, but it’s critically important that you define the objectives of the project – such that both you and the client can agree when the objectives have been achieved and thus the project completed.
You might have plenty of ideas for the website you are designing, but it’s best to define the agreed end-products is going to be useful. If you don’t the expectations for project completion on your side and the clients might differ – and this can potentially create a dispute.
Agreeing on the actual final achievable object is one of the web design contract tips we can never harp enough over.
Maintain your relationship with the client – don’t become cold in the contract
A contract doesn’t need to be inhuman. On the contrary.
Chances are, your client has chosen you because they know you, trust you and what the build and maintain a relationship with you.
If you suddenly, transform into somebody which the client doesn’t know and understand, this can often backfire – because the client doesn’t understand this persona they haven’t seen so far.
Keep the contract at the same level of professionalism that you want it to after the project is done!
What happens if the website project is canceled – how does the contract deal with that?
This is another essential web design contract tip.
Whilst this is not something you’d like to think about, shit happens – and there are plenty of (valid) reasons why a client (or yourself) will pull the plug on a project. There are also plenty on not valid reasons why the project is canceled.
The web design contract should cater for these scenarios, however unlikely they might look initially.
The website contract cancellation clause should define proceedings should there be mutual or unavoidable pull-out by any of the parties.
It can also mean that if either you or the client want to back out, they are legally bound to specific requirements including, but not limited to, payment (full or partial).
Very generic clauses are not ideal
Whilst writing a new contract from scratch is not very efficient, try to not make use of many generic clauses. Particularly, get rid of any clauses that do not apply to specific clients. Website contracts should be unique and tailored to the client in its totality.
Website contracts should be unique and tailored to the client in its totality.
Review the contract professionally
Just like your web design proposals, your contract should be reviewed (on different days and times). You should also send it to your lawyer for review and approval.
Whilst one might not enjoy incurring these charges, a contract which cannot be enforced is useless, a waste of time and money – and gives a false sense of security.
Final thoughts about web design contract tips: make sure you are making sense
Whilst these web design contract tips are essential, the most important thing of all, is that your website contract ultimately makes sense for the current scenario. If it makes sense to both you and the client, then you’re good to go.
Still feeling stuck? Why don’t you have a look at our bundle of web design contracts as a starting point?
Very informative information for web designing contract tips…keep it up