As a customer-focused company with clients all over the world, we have found that we do our best work when we provide our clients with detailed plans and agreements.
Among these is a website development agreement that spells out the scope of the work, responsibilities on both sides and confidentiality issues. A website development agreement ensures that everyone’s working toward the same goal, which is to create a website that anchors your branding and drives your profitability. In simple terms, it means we’ve got your back.
A Website Development Agreement Is Your Best Protection
A website development agreement is our way of ensuring that you’re protected from potentially costly, time-consuming problems every time you work with us.
We’ve successfully used website development agreements with many clients. Our clients appreciate knowing that:
- Both sides are on the same schedule regarding progress and milestones.
- Questions about ownership, intellectual property, and work product are clearly answered.
- There is mutual respect for confidentiality and noncompete clauses.
- There is a lower chance of misunderstandings, confusion, and disputes.
A website development agreement works for us and it works for our clients. We include this agreement on every new project.
What Is a Website Development Agreement?
Sometimes called a web design contract, web site contract, web site development agreement or a freelance web design contract, this could be one of the most important documents you sign when you hire a software company.
This document answers the many questions that always crop up in the middle of a website development project. With this agreement, both sides know up front:
- What is the scope of the work going to be?
- Who’s retaining rights to the code, intellectual property, and graphics?
- Who will perform the testing?
- What are the expected milestones of the project?
- When and how will payments be made?
In this article, we explain how a development agreement is your best protection on any contract, and offer a Website Development Agreement Checklist to ensure that your agreement covers the most important issues.
Why You Need a Solid Website Development Agreement
As an independent software design and development company, we work hard to get contracts, to foster strong working relationships and to delight our clients with a website’s functionality, design, and visual appeal.
We want our clients to be fully confident that we’ll deliver what we promise. That’s why we put our promises in writing.
Misunderstandings can cause problems even on the best projects. We’ve seen up close how work can get bogged down by disagreements about:
- Project milestones.
- Copyright and ownership issues.
- Payment plans.
Our website development agreement addresses those concerns and gives you peace of mind.
Protect Your Privacy
We take your concerns about confidentiality, work product, noncompete clauses, and other matters seriously.
Every time you sign on with a website development company or hire a freelancer, you should ask for a well-crafted agreement that includes strong confidentiality clauses.
We provide these on every agreement.
Protect Your Product and Design
Don’t let misunderstandings about ownership and copyright disrupt your project. Our website development agreement covers these issues to give you confidence that you’ll be able to use the product freely and without restrictions.
With our agreement, you’ll find that every project runs smoothly. At the same time, you retain better control of your work life and your work product.
Protect Your Legal Rights
We know that you prefer to focus on the marketing and development sides of your business. Putting together a legal document just seems like more time-consuming paperwork.
We understand that. As a web design and development company, we prefer focusing on the creative aspects of our work. Our website development agreement was created by a Lexidy law firm that is dynamic, digitally focused and involved in the global information marketplace.
Our website development agreement complies with international law and is applicable to any project. You can be confident that your rights will be protected in any legal jurisdiction.
What Should Be In a Good Website Development Agreement
We’ve come up with a checklist that shows how our agreement covers you on every aspect of the project.
No development agreement can cover everything that might come up, but our checklist does a good job of including the major ones that can make or break a good working relationship.
Our 10-Point Website Development Agreement Checklist
Before you sign a website development agreement, make sure it covers the main points in our checklist. If it covers these 10 key subjects, you’ll be in a great starting position on most projects.
You and the design company need to determine if work will be delivered as a fixed specification or as modular development.
Modular development or agile development means producing small amounts of work more quickly. A fixed specification usually refers to a design that is almost final.
You need to clarify:
- The scope of the project
- The expectation from the final product or result
- What are the milestones for progress?
- What is a realistic schedule for completion?
2. Progress Updates and Communication
Make sure you and the website development company agree on the following:
- When do you expect a progress update?
- When and where will these updates take place?
- What happens if the client causes a delay?
- Actions in case of the software developer does not meet the progress deadline?
- What will you expect to see at each update?
3. Client’s Obligations
Many clients ask for specific trademarks, logos, photographs, or graphics on their websites. If you’re asking a software company to use them, make sure you own the copyrights or have permission to use them.
If you ask the website development company to use a third-party software, do you have a licensing agreement for it?
Copyright and licensing problems can be a time-consuming and expensive legal nightmare. Avoid them with a well-written development agreement.
4. Website Designer’s Obligations
Website development companies appreciate clearly worded specifications. The best way to avoid misunderstandings is by setting out clear expectations. You need to convey:
- The exact scope and size of the project.
- The tangible products that you expect to see at the completion of the project.
- How much ongoing support you expect to receive.
- The level and frequency of updates that you need.
In addition, you should address these questions:
- Will the web development company provide training, manuals and tech support for you and your employees?
- Who is responsible for updates and changes?
- How long is the warranty and what does it cover?
- What is the extent of repairs or upgrades during the warranty period?
5. Payment Schedule
Payment issues can be thorny in any working relationship. The best approach is to get everything in writing before difficulties crop up.This section should spell out:
- When is the first payment to be made?
- What is the payment schedule for work as it progresses?
- Under what conditions can you withhold payment?
- What is the estimated total price?
- When should final payment be made?
6. Intellectual Property
Many clients assume that they own the work product we create. Legally, that’s up to the terms of your agreement. Intellectual property law is complicated. Avoid getting into a dispute over this issue with a clearly worded agreement.
Our website development agreement addresses ownership, intellectual property and usage laws that govern website development. We consider the following:
- Who owns the artwork and the website design?
- If we create code for the project, who owns the code?
- Are there limits to where and how you can use the product?
- Does either side intend to use third-party or open-source software?
- Are we transferring ownership of any product to you?
7. Support and Maintenance
Clients and software companies often overlook this aspect of a project. It’s an issue that can create unnecessary misunderstandings, so make sure you get it in writing.
- What level of support does the website development company offer?
- Who is responsible for maintenance of the website?
- When will updates take place, and who is responsible for making them?
8. Confidentiality and Noncompete Agreement
Always discuss issues of confidentiality before you begin working on a project. Working on a new website sometimes means that the website development company has access to sensitive information.
- Will the website development company be able to talk about the project, or do you need confidentiality?
- Will the website development company have permission to use your name in your marketing materials?
- What information about your business do you need to be kept strictly private?
- What are the penalties for violations of your confidentiality?
This part of the agreement should also include a noncompete clause. This means that you won’t try to hire each other’s workers. Most non-compete agreements have a time limit of six months to a year.
To avoid misunderstandings, some companies regularly take audio and video recordings of all negotiations including client meetings, telephone conversations, client instructions and requests for changes.It's usually done to make sure we understand your instructions clearly. We also go back and replay these recordings throughout the project. We want to make sure that even the tiniest detail does not get overlooked. Recording this data prevents misunderstandings and ensures your complete satisfaction with the finished product.
10. Force Majeure Clause
In legal terminology, this term means any unforeseeable accident that makes it impossible to fulfill a contract.The term comes from the French for “major force.” Usually, it refers to extreme events like war, crime, riots, and natural disasters. In some contracts, these are called “acts of God.” This clause frees both sides from any liability for failing to complete the contract.
Our Website Development Agreement Protects Your Business
Your business is all about creativity, innovation and developing great solutions for your customers. So is ours.
Our website development agreement is our written assurance that we’ll perform the job you hire us to do with minimum downtime, disputes or disagreements.
With a solid website development agreement, both of us can focus on the things we enjoy. Contact us today to learn more about our creative, customer-focused solutions for your business.