A web development contract is an agreement under which a designer or developer agrees to create one or more websites or web applications on behalf of a customer. We supply a wide range of web development documents, available for download from our Website Contracts site:
The key provisions in such an agreement are:
- the scope of the services to be provided by the designer or developer;
- the project timetable;
- the specification of the website or web application;
- the acceptance procedure and criteria;
- the payment terms;
- the licence (or sometimes assignment) of intellectual property rights in the site or application; and
- the description of when the agreement may be terminated, and the consequences of termination.
Many web developers do not have written agreements. Other developers use second hand sets of T&Cs, or cobble together their own contracts using materials found on the internet.
These approaches are less than ideal.
Even if you do not have written contracts with your customers, you still have contracts. But you cannot be certain what the terms of an unwritten contract are. Consequently, if you do not have any written contract, you are more likely to get into a dispute with a customer. In addition, unfavourable terms may be implied into your contracts, either by statute or custom.
If you use a second hand set of T&Cs, they will often have been drafted for a business which is very different to yours. For example, UK developers can sometimes be found using terms drafted with US law in mind. Worse, your use of the terms could be infringing someone’s copyright.
Not only do properly drafted terms reduce your risks, they are also very important if you decide to sell your business.
Written contracts are also important from the customer’s perspective. If you are buying a website, you need to be sure that it will be delivered as specified, on time, in full working order. Equally important, you need to be sure that you have all the rights you need to use the website, even if you part company with your developer.