|Signing a Contract?|
When designing a site for a business, is it mandatory that a contract is signed? If so, are there generic contracts out there for web development companies?
Also, what clauses should the contract stipulate?
As I deal with more and more clients, I'm realizing that they know very little about the net. If the backbone of the net goes down, resulting in a loss of sales for a client of mine, I don't want to be responsible. How do I cover my !ss?
You might find this article useful for you...
In Praise of Contracts [alistapart.com]
[* thought of thin ice *]
If there is no clear agreement/understanding/contract be careful of the downside of the deal if it falls appart. I would want cash up front (at the least, and be ready to return it) if i did not have a clear agreement.
I don't know about the US, but in the UK there is a contract wherever there is 'offer' and 'acceptance'.
Even a verbal agreement can be a legally binding contract.
In the case of a verbal contract, the difficulty is proving that offer and acceptance took place, and proving exactly what was agreed. The more you leave this 'vague' the more you are at risk.
A signed contract (on paper) is the safest way to protect both parties.
(Obviously you should check the law in your own country)
>>>>I don't know about the US
It is the same in the US....why do you think we have sooo many lawsuits. Everyone is held accountable for everything.
Can anyone provide me a specific legal reference (act or case reference) for this?
A company I'm currently arguing with insists that there is no such thing as a verbal contract in UK law.
I have always operated by putting it in writting, 100% of the time. In a long distance relationship, you can hammer (no pun intended ;) ) out the details via (phone, email, fax etc....) but I would suggest a fedx of the final contract, and get it back signed by the legal agents of the company...
And any changes or addendums that come up (which you should figure that it will happen alot ;) ) should also be documented and signed off on also.
I would always suggest 50% down. And work out the payments as neccessary. Sometimes this will be a long term relationship with the individual/company that will require a billing every end of the month for services rendered thus far. You may find that you need to write up a contract for the proposed work, stating the 'estimated' amounts etc... Then the 50% is treated as more of a retainer than anything, and you will bill the customer in the stated manner, and at the completion of the project the retainer will be deducted from what is owed. Make sure you cover your bases, you dont want to end up owing some money, and not have it in the bank. :)
Always include verbage for cancellation of contract penalties. And when any of those 'major' changes that the client comes up with last minute that effect the price substantially, dont feel bad about asking for a payment if that amount is 'real' substantial. Just get it in writting with a signature.
Trust me, it will save your butt sometime.
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