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As a web designer or developer, it’s important for you to have a contract that protects you from fraud and liability. This is the case for sole proprietors as well as corporations. Liability protection, even for corporations, has many loopholes. For this reason discuss and provide web development contract resources for those interested. Feel free to use this on your own projects, but keep in mind that we are not guaranteeing its use or protection from liabilities in any way, and will not be held responsible for any damages that incur as a result of use or misuse of this information. Remember, as with any legal matter, always consult an attorney. And treat these as a template – they should be tweaked to fit your specific needs and situation.
A Contract For Both Web Design Companies and Their Clients
This web development contract can be used by either the web design company, or the client purchasing a website from a web design company. It is tailored to meet and protect the needs of both parties, and includes a clause that specifies who retains ownership in the website (this defaults to the client purchasing the website from the web design company, which is typical in the industry, but can be changed to meet your needs).
Web Site Development Contract Template
Here are a list of the sections that are found in a typical web site development contract. We have added examples where necessary. If you’d like to jump straight down and get access to the actual contract, click here.
- Business Name
- Client Name
Above-named client [Client Name] (referred to hereinafter as “Client”) has engaged [Your Name] for the specific purpose of performing web development tasks on a site called [Website Name] (referred to hereinafter as “Client’s Site”), including all subdirectories and pages.
[Your Name] agrees to perform web development services (referred to hereinafter as “Services”) agreed upon with Client which may include but are not limited to:
- Web Page Design, Layout, and Production
- Graphic Design
- Search Engine Optimization
Client and [Your Name] agree that Services described in this contract shall be completed for [Your Hourly Rate] per hour, payable to “[Your Name].” Client agrees to pay [Your Name] for Services described in estimate submitted to Client once estimate has been agreed upon in writing (email is considered writing) by Client.
[Your Name] will submit Services based on turnaround times stated in estimates submitted to Client. Client to provide [Your Name] with all data needed to complete Services, including but not limited to text, code, graphics, and photos.
Web Development Standards
All services described herein are to be performed by [Your Name] in accordance with the most commonly accepted standards and practices of the Web Services Industry. [Your Name] will use the most universally accepted website design technologies to satisfy the broadest market possible – meaning web pages affected by Services rendered will look and act the same on over 95% of all web browsers in use at any given time.
The terms and conditions set forth in this document constitute the sole agreement between [Your Name] and the Client regarding Client’s Site. Any additional work not specified in this contract must be authorized by both original parties in writing. Any additional Services needed beyond what is specified in estimates submitted to Client will be charged at a rate of [Your Hourly Rate] per hour.
Warranties and Liability
[Your Name] does not warrant the functions of Client’s Site will meet Client’s expectations of traffic or resulting business. In no event will [Your Name] be liable to Client or any third party for any damages, including any lost profits, lost savings or other incidental, consequential or special damages arising out of the operation of or inability to operate Client’s Site or any of its web pages, even if [Your Name] has been advised of the possibility of such damages.
If Agreement is canceled before work is finished, Client forfeits any payments made and may be held liable for breach of contract.
Trademarks and Copyrights
Client represents to [Your Name] and unconditionally guarantees that any elements of text, graphics, photos, designs, trademarks, or other artwork furnished to [Your Name] for inclusion in web pages are owned by the Client, or Client has permission from the rightful owner to use each of these elements, and will hold harmless, protect, and defend [Your Name] from any claim or suit arising from the use of such elements furnished by the Client. [Your Name] initially owns copyright to the assembled work of Services produced by [Your Name]. Upon payment for Services rendered, all rights owned by [Your Name] as to Services rendered for Client’s Site transfer to the Client.
Web Developer Credits
For a period of at least 1 year beginning on date of written consent to allow Web Developer Credits, and as long as [Your Name] is performing Services for Client, Client agrees to allow [Your Name] to claim credit for Services rendered by posting a link, visible to search engines, to [Your Website URL] on Client’s Site and in author meta tags of Client’s Site.
Any disputes arising from this contract will be litigated or arbitrated in [Your County], [Your State]. This Agreement shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of [Your State]. The undersigned hereby agree to the terms, conditions and stipulations of this agreement on behalf of his or her organization. This Agreement constitutes the entire understanding of the parties. Any changes or modifications thereto must be in writing and signed by both parties.
Signing the Contract
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have executed this Agreement as of the date indicated below:
As a final step you and your client both sign and date the contract. Voila! Consider using an online document service like SignNow or Docusign.
Finally, you’ll want to specify some sort of revision-based schedule. What does this mean? A revision schedule is used to prevent your client from using up all your hours and diluting your hourly value. In other words, you might say that they have 3 revisions they can submit on specific dates. After those 3 revisions are in, you don’t work more unless they compensate you more. Be sure to include the revision number in all correspondence with the client and specify that they submit their revision one time on the revision date, and not a number of times leading up to the revision date.
Run it by an Attorney
Remember that once you’ve fully written your contract it’s always a good idea to have an attorney look at it, as legal specifics may vary by city, county, and state. We take no responsibility nor will we be held liable for your use or misuse of this information. If you would like an official, attorney-approved contract, please check out our offer below.
Either way, having an attorney examine an existing contract (for example, if you use this contract as your template), should be less expensive than having them draft one for you for scratch).
Tips for Finding a Good Lawyer
Typically, large law firms will charge an extraordinary amount for a web design contract (and they’ll probably just pass it to their paralegal to complete, or to print out a copy they already had on hand from a past client). If you can find a smaller local law firm, or even better, a recent law school graduate, your contract may get a lot more attention for a lot less money. We also have conducted a comprehensive review and comparison of the major online legal services you may be interested in.
The final part of your web development agreement package is an NDA, or Non-Disclosure Agreement. While not always necessary, it can be a good idea to provide this form to your client so they’ll feel confident that you’re not going to run away with their secrets. You can also use it to protect your own proprietary knowledge that you may put to use while working for your client. A mutual NDA (benefiting both sides) is used to keep any secret or proprietary knowledge under lock and key while you and your client work on your project. It prevents either one of you from benefiting from the project in a way that may competitively harm the other party down the road. We recommend this mutual NDA by LegalZoom, which our readers can get for $14.95 for a limited time.
Given the rapid passing of time on the Internet, these contracts need to be regularly updated. This is why we now defer to the legal experts at LegalZoom, who have put together an up-to-date, reliable Website Development Agreement that we don’t hesitate to recommend. Our readers can get it for $19.95 for a limited time by clicking here.
Preparing a Web Design Contract (Video)
Kosta from Head HR has put together this video tutorial which essentially opens up an MS Word template, goes through the steps, and then explains how to process the document using DocuSign.
Got Any Web Design Contract Questions?
Since we’ve gotten many questions regarding the difference between a “web design contract” and a “web development contract,” we’d like to put your mind at ease. This contract is interchange-able for just about any Web or Internet related profession. In fact, it can be used for any business – but is tailored towards Internet businesses, in particular, web design or development. You’ll find, as you can see in the sample contract page above, that the template is easy to adjust to your needs. It includes the base legal language that any contract should have, and then gives you the flexibility to add in specifics related to your particular line of business.
Are you having your web design or development clients sign a contract? If so, where did you obtain your contract and how confident are you in it to protect you in case of a legal dispute?