This is a sample contract which may be different from the actual contract you will receive.
Between us, [me] at and you, [client name] at [client company name].
We’ll always do our best to fulfill your needs and meet your expectations, but it’s important to have things written down so that we both know what’s what, who should do what and when, and what will happen if something goes wrong. In this contract you won’t find any complicated legal terms or long passages of unreadable text. We’ve no desire to trick you into signing something that you might later regret. What we do want is what’s best for both parties, now and in the future.
So in short;
You ([client company name]), located at [client address] are hiring us ([me]) located at [my company address] to design and develop a website for the estimated total price of $[total] as outlined in our previous correspondence. Of course it’s a little more complicated, but we’ll get to that.
What do both parties agree to do?
You: You have the authority to enter into this contract on behalf of yourself, your company or your organisation. You’ll give us everything we need to complete the project as and when and in the format we need it. You’ll review our work, provide feedback and approval in a timely manner too. Deadlines work two ways, so you’ll also be bound by dates we set together. You also agree to stick to the payment schedule set out at the end of this contract.
Us: We have the experience and ability to do everything we’ve agreed with you and we’ll do it all in a professional and timely manner. We’ll endeavour to meet every deadline that’s set and on top of that we’ll maintain the confidentiality of everything you give us.
Getting down to the Design
HTML and CSS
We create look-and-feel designs, and flexible layouts that adapt to the capabilities of many devices and screen sizes. We create designs iteratively and use predominantly HTML and CSS so we won’t waste time mocking up every template as a static visual. We may use static visuals to indicate a look-and-feel direction (color, texture and typography.) We call that ‘design atmosphere.’
WordPress and Genesis Framework
We create websites using certain industry-known software, including WordPress, the Genesis Framework, Google Analytics by Yoast and others. We will use the appropriate software in order to achieve what we’ve agreed with you.
The design of your website will be encompassed in a WordPress child theme for the Genesis Framework from StudioPress. This means that it needs the Genesis Framework in order to operate, and we’ll install that for you as well as the child theme we use. You can buy a lifetime support licence for the Genesis Framework directly, or via our affiliate links where will earn commission. You can run your website without a direct license, because our license allows us to create sites for our customers; but you won’t be able to get support directly from StudioPress in this case.
Depending on what we agree, we may use a pre-existing child theme from StudioPress or another supplier; a completely bespoke child theme that we develop especially for you; or some point in between where we customize an existing theme to your needs. For these bespoke and partially bespoke designs, we will customize the CSS and, if needed, the PHP of the child theme to achieve the design and functionality we’ve agreed.
Either way, we will use flexible layouts that adapt to the capabilities of many devices (for example, smart phones and tablets) and different screen sizes.
Review and feedback
You’ll have regular opportunities to review our work and provide feedback. If, at any stage, you’re not happy with the direction our work is taking, you’ll pay us in full for everything we’ve produced until that point and cancel this contract.
We’re not responsible for writing text copy. If you’d like us to write new content for you, we can provide a separate estimate for that.
You should supply photos and other graphic files in a suitable format. Logos should be in an editable, vector digital format that we can work with. You should supply photographs in a high resolution digital format. If you choose to buy stock photographs, we can suggest stock libraries. If you sign up using our affiliate links, we’ll earn commission from that. You also give us permission to make purchases from your stock library account(s) on your behalf.
Browser testing no longer means attempting to make a website look the same in browsers of different capabilities or on devices with different size screens. It does mean ensuring that a person’s experience of a design should be appropriate to the capabilities of a browser or device.
Desktop browser testing
We test our work in the current versions of major desktop browsers including those made by Apple (Safari), Google (Chrome), Microsoft (Internet Explorer), Mozilla Firefox and Opera. We won’t test in older browsers unless you specify otherwise. If you need an enhanced design for an older browser, we can provide a separate estimate for that.
Mobile browser testing
Testing popular small-screen devices is essential in ensuring that a person’s experience of a design is appropriate to the capabilities of the device they’re using. We test our work in the current versions of Safari, Google Chrome and Opera Mini.
We currently don’t test Blackberry OS or Blackberry QNX, Opera Mobile, Symbian or other mobile browsers. If you need us to test using these, we can provide a separate estimate for that.
Changes and revisions
We know from experience that fixed-price contracts are rarely beneficial to you, as they often limit you to your earliest ideas. We don’t want to limit your ability to change your mind.
The price at the beginning of this contract is based on the length of time we estimate we’ll need to accomplish everything you’ve told us you want to achieve, but we’re happy to be flexible. If you want to change your mind or add anything new, that won’t be a problem as we’ll provide a separate estimate for that.
Site Software Maintenance
If we supply you with a content management system (CMS) for your website, we would advise that you keep the software and associated plugins up-to-date. This ensures you benefit from any developments in the software and you keep your site as secure as possible. If you would like us to maintain your site, we can provide a separate estimate for that. If you don’t maintain your site, any problems that occur due to out-of-date software, will be your responsibility.
We’re not a website hosting company so we don’t offer support for website hosting, email or other services relating to hosting. You may already have professional hosting and you might even manage that hosting in-house; if you do, great. If you don’t, we can set up an account for you at one of our preferred hosting providers and set up your site on a server. If you sign up using our affiliate links, we’ll earn commission from that. Then, the updates to, and management of that server will be up to you.
We can’t guarantee that our work will be error-free and so we can’t be liable to you or any third-party for damages, including lost profits, lost savings or other incidental, consequential or special damages, even if you’ve advised us of them.
Finally, if any provision of this contract shall be unlawful, void, or for any reason unenforceable, then that provision shall be deemed severable from this contract and shall not affect the validity and enforceability of any remaining provisions.
First, you guarantee that all elements of text, images or other artwork you provide are either owned by your good selves, or that you have permission to use them. You also give us permission to use them to do the work for you.
Then, when your final payment has cleared, copyright will be automatically assigned as follows:
- You’ll own the visual elements that we create for this project. We’ll give you source files and finished files and you should keep them somewhere safe as we’re not required to keep a copy. You own all elements of text, images and data you provided, unless someone else owns them.
- We’ll own the unique combination of these elements that constitutes a complete design and we’ll license that you, exclusively and in perpetuity for this project only, unless we agree otherwise. Bear in mind that if the design isn’t completely bespoke, some or all of the elements in the design may be generic, open source or commercially copyrighted to other people and they will of course remain that way.
We love to show off our work and share what we’ve learned with other people, so we reserve the right, with your permission, to display and link to your project as part of our portfolio and to write about it on websites, in magazine articles and in books.
We’re sure you understand how important it is as a small business that you pay the invoices that we send you promptly. As we’re also sure you’ll want to stay friends, you agree to stick tight to the following payment schedule.
Payment for your project
The site will take us 4 weeks of actual work to complete, so we’ll be charging 50% up front to start work and 50% when your website is complete or in 4 weeks time, which ever comes first.
The time it takes to actually launch the site and make it “live” will depend on how many changes you request and how quickly you’re able to sign-off on the completed work.
Upon receipt of your final payment, the website will be launched and website files will be delivered to you.
If you choose to subscribe to a maintenance package, maintenance starts the day the website is delivered.
Payment for additional work
For additional work outside the scope of your project, we’ll agree to charge you our $[rate] per quarter hour rate, bill you in 15 minute increments, invoice you monthly in arrears, and to allow 15 calendar days net for you to pay. These four things mean as follows:
Quarter hour rate – This means the amount we charge you for a quarter hour’s work (15 minutes), by any of our staff, for any work we do for you.
15 minute increments – Our time keeping software logs 15 minute blocks of time. If we use part of a block, we’ll bill you for the 15 minutes. So, for example, if we spend 20 hours and 10 minutes on your project, we’ll charge you for 20 and a quarter hours.
Monthly in arrears – We will send you an invoice at the end of the month for the hours we’ve worked that month, plus any fixed charges (e.g. maintenance packages). If we’ve agreed to a deposit, then of course we’ll invoice this beforehand. We use our invoicing vendor to email the invoice to you, and this counts as us having invoiced you.
Days net – This means that you will pay our invoice, in full, within that number of calendar days after the invoice date. If we have to buy items specifically for your project, such as special software licenses, you must pay us for these more quickly – either up front or immediately on invoice, as we agree.
Payments may be made by credit card via the online invoice.
But where’s all the horrible small print?
Just like a parking ticket, you can’t transfer this contract to anyone else without our permission. This contract stays in place and need not be renewed. If for some reason one part of this contract becomes invalid or unenforceable, the remaining parts of it remain in place.
Although the language is simple, the intentions are serious and this contract is a legal document under exclusive jurisdiction of Hawaii courts.
The dotted line
Signed by [me]
Signed by [you] and on behalf of [your company name]
Everyone should sign above and keep a copy for their records.