5 Points to Consider While Drafting your Freelance Web Design Contract

As A Freelance Web Designer, You Are Going To Meet A Lot Good People Who Will Be A Joy To Work With. You Will Also Bump Into The Occasional Swindler Or Miser Who Doesn’t Want To Pay You For Your Work. Or Wants To Pay You As Little As Possible. Also, You Will Meet A Lot Of Businessmen Who Are Vary Of Giving Their Projects To Freelancers Because They Are Afraid Of Getting Ripped Off By Unscrupulous Designers. By Drafting And Signing A Legal Contract, You Make It Easier For Trustfulness To Blossom Between You And The Client.

Whether You Are Drafting The Freelance Web Design Contract On Your Own, Or Whether You Are Signing One Drafted By Your Clients, There Are A Few Things That You Need To Think About.


1. Statement Of Work Outlining Scope

One Of The Most Important Parts Of A Contract Is The Statement Of Work. If You Are Using A Free Template For A Design Contract, It May Not Be A Good Idea To Mess Around With All The Legalese. But The Statement Of Work Is An Area That You Or Your Client Will Be Filling. This Part Defines And Outlines The Amount Of Work And The Type Of Work You Are Promising To Do.

If You Have Worked On Web Design Projects, You Know That There Is A Good Chance That The Design Scope Can Increase While You Are Building A Website. A Clear Statement Of Work Defines Your Deliverables – If You Sense That There Is Any Chance That The Client Would Expand The Scope Of The Project While The Work Is Going On, Being Specific And Clear In The Statement Of Work Would Help You Get Renumeration For The Extra Work.

2. Provision For Project Canceled Midway

When The Clients Kills A Project – Because He Doesn’t Like Your Work, Doesn’t Want A Website Anymore, Is Going Broke, Or Has Found Someone To Do The Work For One-tenth The Price – It Is Quite Annoying. What Do You Do When The Client Suddenly Pulls The Plug On The Project? How Much Do You Charge? How Much Will The Client Be Ready To Pay?

By Adding A Cancellation Clause And Agreeing On A Kill Fee For The Project, You Avoid Any Ill-will Between You And The Client, And You Make Sure That You Get Paid For Your Work. A Cancellation Section Can Include The Guidelines To Be Followed For Payment In Case The Client Decides To Terminate The Project. In Case You Are Charging The Client On An Hourly Basis, The Clause May Stipulate Payment For The Hours You Have Worked On The Project. If Your Agreement Was For A Lump-sum Payment At Project Completion, You Can Get Paid For The Percentage Of The Project That You Have Completed.

3.Payment First, Delivery Later

The Design That You Create Is Yours Until You Give It To The Client And Get Paid For It. But, Once You Send The Source Code To The Client, He Has It In His Possession. What Is To Stop The Client From Stopping The Payments Once He Gets What He Wants? Conscience Can Be Counted Upon In Most Cases, But A Contract Is Much Safer.

You Must Ensure That Your Contract Clearly States That, “Upon Completion Of The Services And Full Payment Of All Invoices, The Designer Shall Assign IP Rights To The Client.” You Must Make It Clear That The Rights Will Be Transferred After You Have Been Paid, Not Before.

4. Draft A Professional Contract

An Email From The Client, Even If The Message Is Couched In Legalese, Is Not Enough. Most Designers Feel That A Nice Email Defining The Work And Mentioning The Charges Is Enough. An Acceptance Email From The Clients May Have Some Legal Value, But It Is Not As Watertight As A Written, Legal Contract. It Is A Lot Better And Safer To Have A Well-drafted, Clearly-written Contract. You Can Draft And Design One Master Contract And Use It With Some Modifications For Most Of Your Projects.

5. Consider Consulting A Lawyer

There Are Dozens Of Designer Contracts Out There That You Can Use For Free. You Can Simply Search For A Few Good Contract Templates And Pick The Ones That Suit Your Needs The Best. Naturally, You Will Have To Make A Few Changes To Make It Suit The Specifics Of Your Project. Also, Your Client May Want To Make Changes From His Side – Add A Few Words, Add A Few New Stipulations And Make Other Modifications.

Even A Small Change Made In A Legal Contract Can Have Big Repercussions. If You Have The Slightest Feeling Of There Being Something Fishy Or Confusing About The Final Contract, It Is Best To Consult A Lawyer And Understand What The Words In The Contract Really Mean Before You Sign It.

Summing Up

Remember, These Are Only Tips To Help You Out With Drafting A Strong Contract That Can Protect Your Interests. By Keeping These Points In Your Mind While Drafting Web Design Contract, You Will Be Able To Plug Up A Few Dangerous Loopholes. But, If You Want Your Contract To Be Absolutely Watertight, It Is Best To Get It Drafted Or Reviewed By A Lawyer.

Author Bio: Sebastian Atwell Works For PerceptiveWebDesign, A Professional Website Design Company In Los Angeles Which Also Provides Professional Web Development Services. He Has Worked On Several Freelance Web Design Projects And Believes That A Well-drafted Contract Is A Good Foundation For A Healthy Designer-client Relationship.

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Allen Ray

is a graphic designer. The Design Mag was founded in 2008, and since then she is constantly looking for new ways to serve the Design community both online and offline. It is her ultimate goal to make The Design Mag the best source for Design related Tutorial and Resources. Follow on Twitter@thedesignmag

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