Web Design Contracts

There are a lot of web designers out there and the majority of them are sole traders, working alone from home offices. If you’re just starting out and finding your feet then the chances are you might not have a web design contract in place. But this is a risky omission.

Why a web designer needs a web design contract

Beginning web designers often shy away from having a web design contract because they don’t want to commit to particular things, because they’re not sure if they’ll be able to deliver. They may never have tried creating this or that feature or function, so they don’t want it in writing that they’re going to put it in.

But not having a contract means that it’s easy for clients to say that they assumed something would be done, and refuse to pay if it’s not added in. If everything’s in writing you can point out that a particular feature wasn’t specifically included. Of course, in most cases you’ll still ending up doing it to keep the client happy, but when it comes to the crunch at least you have a leg to stand on.

Why a web design client needs a contract

For pretty much the same reason as the web designer, the client benefits from having a written contract. That way, they can prove that an element or feature was included if the web designer is saying the project is complete, but they don’t believe it is.

What should a web design contract look like?

The good news is that the contract doesn’t have to be very complicated. Sure, if you can it’s best to get a professional lawyer to create you something, but people starting out in business rarely have the money to spend on that kind of thing.

One way is to find free template downloads of contracts that are available on the web. But you can simply create a word document with a list of the features that will be included, turn it into a PDF, and email it to the client. This forms a basic agreement.

Is email communication contractually binding?

Remember that email communications can form the basis of a contract or contract amendment, but only if you can prove that both parties have seen and agreed the details. In other words, if you send information to the other party but s/he never replies to that specifically, it is not legally binding. But if they reply to the email and confirm agreement, then it is.