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joined:June 27, 2000
Here is the one from the HTML writers guild, but it is a little out of date.
Here is a site with what appears to be good resources
But by all means SEE A LAWYER after you think you have something. It is worth spending the money to make sure all is well.
There are actually a lot of web design contracts out there to be found, both boilerplace and real ones, but since most of them are at various web designers' sites, I'd rather avoid posting them individually.
Besides, from what I've seen, most will have good points, but will not cover all the necessary area. It's probably best to look at a number, make a checklist of necessary points, and do one up individually, adapting your own wording, based on your research.
An extremely important point is that of functioning as an independent contractor. This is an important distinction vs. being an employee, and is a critical point when it comes to determining who owns the copyright to a site. So, in addition to looking for "web design contracts" at search engines, it's also helpful to do a search for "independent contractor agreements."
There are certain elements that should always be present in a contract, and it takes looking through a lot of them to find. There's an attorney's site that has some excellent information that are real eye openers and can provide a good basis on certain issues, particularly where California is concerned:
Unfortunately, sometimes it takes having gone through situations, or hearing about other people's "misfortunes" to know what should have been put into a contract, after the fact.
A few things I can point out:
Be very specific about what will be done, so they don't have expectations beyond what you're prepared to do for what you're being paid.
With product sites, some photos they send need 10 minutes work each, some will take an hour each and still be unusable. That factor has to be considered and provision made for it.
Will you be using site-ready text provided by the client, or will you be doing editing or content development? I have never yet done a web site - ever - where I did not edit text or actually write text. When I get an email, the keywords are almost automatically are inserted in my mind as I read it. This is a particularly important point, especially when it comes to SEO work by itself or combined with designing a site. What do we do, "give" it to them, or charge for work on text? It is, without a doubt, a marketable skill.
When you price the job, is there a limit to how big a page can be? Text can span one page, say 250-300 words, or can be 1500 words long. Will they be charged by topic for the text, or number of pages. Not a critical point, but if not covered, and they're paying by the page, as in a site update, they may want it on one page to save themselves money. If you're also doing the SEO, you're then dealing with a density and page size issue, as well as a pricing issue.
Is there a time limit for clients sending materials? Sometimes it's like pulling teeth, especially with those who don't have a clue what should go on a site, or when their schedule is busy. Sometimes it's easier to just write the copy yourself - but will you be paid to do so?
How about changes? How many are allowable? I had a client send photos and info to add products to a site, I got the pages done, and then got an email saying to delete all those photos, she was sending better ones.
When they contact you, how soon can they expect to hear back from you? I was recently sent an email, and when I arrived home that night had a nasty email waiting griping about "the service" because the one that morning had not been replied to. I was out for the day with my daughter for her birthday, and it was a Sunday to boot. I could not remember ever promising instant email turnaround 7 days a week. The same now_former_client also sent 66 emails last month, not all responded to, needless to say. That was not the record-setter, incidentally. The record was was set at 93 in one folder alone in one month by another former_client last year.
They are not happy campers when you write and ask them to please go through all the emails they, condense them into one and send them back before you will do their monthly update (or whatever), or you will have to charge them by the hour to do it yourself. It's particularly irritating and difficult for them when all the emails have same subject line - like "my web site". Makes it very hard for them to sort it all out. ;)
What's the time frame in which they can expect work to be done? The design process - the creative part of it - takes a certain amount of time, putting pages together takes a certain amount of time, and there's also a matter of scheduling and turnaround time for site updates. For SEO work, if they send pages of text to be optimized, will they expect it to be done the next day?
There really needs to be a timeframe specified, even if it's approximate.
As for me, I do not do updates, and will do a minimal amount of design altogether (unless it's a site I'm having fun with) during the time of month when Google updates. I figure this into my time planning, so I'll only plan on doing regular site updates (which are not my favorite thing anyway, particularly with products)other times of the month. Besides, I can live without design, but I can't live without SEO. Once it "grabs you" it's there to stay.
Terms of payment need to be specified. Is there a schedule for work to be done, with payment arrangements made? I was fortunate enough to be part of a women's community when I started, and was advised to always get some portion of payment in advance, prior to starting work - which I "almost" always do. I make an occasional exception, like once in a while when I'd rather communicate a few times to see if I'm compatible with the client, and whether it will be a good working arrangement. Occasionally I'll make sure there are a few instances of correspondence and/or conversations prior to giving the actual quote or price. Why? Because sometimes there's a PITA factor that has to be figured into pricing. Also something learned through experience.
So pricing, expectations, and payment terms need to be specified, contractually, so there are no surprises later on.
I'm telling this because (no pun intended) it's part of living in the webmaster world. There are things you can only learn by experience or hearing it from others. These things will not be present in boilerplate contracts, nor will they be found on web design or SEO sites. They may be covered by provisions in sample contracts, but there's reasoning behind it, and experiential information helps in making revisions as we go along, as things come up and they're needed to prevent further occurrences.
Way up top of the screen, the first line should read "Welcome ckizer." On the far right of the second line, it will read "You have mail: (1)" (I just sent you one to help you find it). Just to the left of that is the link for StickyMail.
joined:June 21, 2000
What does "PITA factor" mean?