Many web developers habitually work with small projects and they don’t think that web design contracts are necessary. They believe that writing up contract for all projects will be quite troublesome and they may think that contract is only as valuable as a piece of paper. However, professionals who work without contracts could eventually find problems. As an example, clients may ask so many revisions that the whole project is not considered as profitable. Clients may also refuse to pay the project in a timely manner. A particularly bad scenario is that client claims that the work isn’t acceptable and they refuse to pay.
Without written contracts, worst case scenarios will likely happen and many more things could go wrong with the whole process. In this case, we should have a mutual sense of trust. People who don’t work on a contract should continue to do business and other related tasks at their own peril. It is a bad idea to waste money and time on something that can’t be trusted to happen. There should be a much more enlightened approach that protects both web developers and clients. The contract should detail all important factors of the project, such as timeline, scope, payment schedules and ways to resolve disputes or differences.
Other elements that we may need to include in the contract are buyer/client responsibilities, ownership of development elements, limitations of liability, refund policies and limitations on revisions. Many of the project details should be clearly defined and a sitemap is needed to show all the primary webpages in the project. There could be custom-coded functions and open source elements that we need to incorporate. Developers could also ask for additional for items that are not included in the early scope of the web development projects. Timeline is also essential, because it could help developers to determine cash flow and schedule the whole project.
Timeline should be detailed enough that it mentions when developers get text, image, videos and other content from clients. The timeline must be an integral part of the contract and this will also benefit clients, because their web development project can be completed more quickly. Many web developers obtain full payment after completing the project, but the still keep the original source files.
As an example, clients only get the end results, but web designers still keep the layered Photoshop files in their hard drive. They can reuse these files for other unrelated web development projects. In this case, clients may not to be certain that they will get all the source files and whether or not, developers are allowed to reuse them.
Website is more than just a business card and there are many design elements that we need to consider. Designers surely can’t give up these design elements for free, because they do this for a living. They won’t get additional income if clients continue to ask for extra features that are not included in the original contract. For this reason, it is important for web designers to clarify things in the contract to make sure that everything is working as planned.