Contracting with Web Developers
Are you looking for someone to help you build your website? Here is where to start…
Regardless of who develops your website, be sure that there is a written contract in place that both parties have agreed to. This should also apply to friends who are doing you a favour.
Hiring a website developer often means that you are providing extensive information about your business to the developer, so you want to be sure that your information is protected.
The developer is also either giving you permission to use their work, or transferring ownership in their work to you, so he or she wants to make sure that you are not using that work improperly. It is a delicate relationship that works wonderfully when everything is going well, but both parties should be protected if the relationship breaks down.
The following is a short list of tips to help with any web developer relationship. This information is not extensive, so contact us today if you need help setting up a web developer contract.
Every contract should include an overview of the project that the web developer has been hired to complete. It should include the specific work to be delivered, due dates, and what happens if things change. It should outline the duties of each party (i.e., the company will provide the content, and the web developer will create the framework for that content). It should also include an overview of the liabilities involved if either party does not fulfill those obligations. After the basics, look for the following:
1. Protect Sensitive Information
The information that the web developers obtains about your business varies a great deal. If you want your web developer to create new content out of existing materials, you may not be concerned about sharing that information. However, if information goes beyond standard web content, be sure that your web designer is restricted from sharing that information with others, particularly competitors. This is especially important for new product launch information or pending product or service ideas.
2. Allowing the Web Developer to Use the your Website in their Portfolio
Many web developers want to create an extensive portfolio to attract new customers. Most experienced web developers will likely assume that they have this permission. If, for any reason, you do not want your website featured in their portfolio, be sure to include that clause in your written contract.
3. Ability to Terminate the Project
Sometimes the web developer’s vision and yours will not mesh. The written contract needs a clause that allows either party to terminate the contract if things are not working out. Build in a notice agreement so that both parties must provide reasonable notice if they want to terminate the contract. Without a termination clause that clearly sets out what happens if either party wants to end the relationship, unnecessary arguments are likely to arise.
4. Resolving Disputes
Contracts often contain a dispute clause that specifies what will happen when a dispute arises. The contract can require negotiation, mediation, arbitration or state a specific district or location for a court action. Web developers could be in a separate district from your business, so this type of clause is helpful in ensuring any dispute is resolved in a place convenient to you.
5. Product Testing and Alterations
Be sure that your contract includes that you’d like the website tested on a variety of browsers and formats – pc, tablet, mobile etc. You also want the ability to tweak the final product as well. Although it is rare, web developers may give you a final product without these options, so be sure that those final touches are part of the agreement.
In summary, know what you expect form your web developer, put it in writing and get agreement before you start building anything. Contact us today if you need help reviewing or putting together a contract with a web developer.