What is an app development contract?
An app development contract is a legal document in which an app developer agrees to provide their app development services to a client. Different from an iOS app design contract, this document will outline the details of your mobile app agreement and will serve as a general consensus on the terms of the project and its completion.
Note: sign up here for free to start editing this mobile app development template
Why you need a freelance app development contract
A freelance app development contract serves three main purposes:
- Outline the details of the contracted services
- Outline each parties' responsibilities and roles
- Protect both parties in the case of a disagreement
It's a must for freelance app developers following the initial quotation, as your written agreement is what the project is built from.
What should be included in a mobile app development agreement
Below we've listed the essential contract elements of a mobile app development agreement, however, you may need to make some adjustments to the contract by adding or removing sections. This will all depend on what was initially agreed to in your specific project proposal.
Once all parties are in agreement, the document should be signed, with each party receiving a copy.
Here are the contractual elements you should look to include in your software development contract template:
This should include the roles, responsibilities, and expectations of respective parties upon commencing the project. It ensures everyone is on the same page and ready to take control where they're needed.
Scope of work
This is where you include the detailed specifications of the project at hand, what you as the developer promises, and how each step will be handled. You’ll also include any deliverables, milestones, and the general route towards the final product—including a termination date.
Make sure to be as detailed as possible here, as any missing details won't be bound by law. Any schedules or dates set out here will be contractually binding, so ensure they're achievable.
Payment and term of payment
Here is where you set out the payment structure and fee you're charging for the services rendered—whether that be a fixed rate or an hourly fee. If it's the former, it's essential to lay out exactly what your services include and when the client pays. Using a quote template early on will help you to figure out everything you’ll be charging the client.
Alongside these details, you'll also need to include information on when the developer's payment is expected and what happens if the client does not pay.
Intellectual property rights
This is a really important part of your app development contract, it needs to be carefully considered and discussed. Essentially, this is where the ownership information is laid out.
Here you'll need a licensing agreement to use pre-existing code,background intellectual property rights,and terms on the ownership of the bespoke code for your client's specifications—this is the foreground of intellectual property rights.
Whether it's you or the client; sole ownership or part—it's paramount you agree and outline what is the developer's intellectual property, when the developer transfers ownership, and what belongs to the client.
Security standards, functionality, and compliance
In this section, you'll detail the requirements necessary with data protection, software performance, and compliance with any relevant bodies. For example, the guidelines for Apple’s app store state the app needs to comply with certain regulations and applicable laws to be hosted on an app store.
It's essential to get this in writing, both for you and the client, as expectations need to be set and met successfully. Discuss what's required beforehand and lay it out clearly in the contract to avoid any problems further down the line.
Here you'll detail any follow-up support you will or won't be providing to the client. This includes services such as:
- A warranty period
- Usability testing
- Maintaining technical data
- Keeping the app maintained
You can also include a support period, during which the client can get in touch with any issues. The app developer is only responsible for certain areas of the process, such as back and front end development. This may not be applicable for others, such as SEO recommendations and branding advice.
In the unfortunate case that the contract must be terminated, both the client and the developer need to agree on what will happen. This helps both parties, but when looking at it from the app developers perspective it safeguards you if:
- The client isn't paying for your services
- The client isn't cooperating and you're unable to finish the project
Here's where you can include any other information that pertains to the project. Depending on what you're working on, this could be various development tools or software that's required or coding languages used.
You can also include a clause that covers liability if the app is a failure. Discuss this with the client—they're typically liable for this sort of thing.
What's the benefit of using Bonsai, instead of editing a template yourself?
Ensuring you've got all bases covered is essential for a successful tech project, and stressing that you've missed something helps nobody.
Bonsai ensures you've got all the right information in one place, so you don't have to worry about anything but creating a quality mobile application.
How to create an app development agreement with Bonsai
Creating an app development agreement with Bonsai is simple and easy:
- Sign up for free to the platform
- Select your desired template
- Fill in the blanks with your projects' specifications
Once it's complete you can swiftly send it over to the client for approval and a signature, all without leaving Bonsai.
Mobile app development contract FAQs
How expensive is it to make an app?
Due to the wide array of variables at play, an app can cost anywhere between $5,000 and $500,000 to make. It depends on the specifications and development process.
How much do app developers earn?
App developers in the U.S can earn an average of $90,000 per year. Of course, this will vary if you’re an iOS or Android developer, and be dependent on what country or state you’re in, as well the client involved with the project. Our freelance rates explorer for developers can help you understand what to charge.