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You might have read this story on Clients from Hell, where a freelance web developer was sued for not completing a $50,000 project. The client had been dodgy from the start of their collaboration; the developer had seen the red flags, but he chose to give the client the benefit of the doubt. The client even went as far as changing the contract terms seven times over, from paying the freelance web developer by hour to per project basis, but eventually ended up agreeing to pay the developer by the hour weekly.

Things went sour between the two when the client kept excusing himself from not paying what he owed to the freelance web developer. As the timeframe comes closer to end, the developer changed his mind and decided to not finish the project until he was paid.

The client begged but the developer refused and resorted to hiring a legal counselor to settle the matter once and for all. The issue was harbored to the court where the client changed his story by telling the authorities that it was the developer who should owe him $50,000 for non-completion; hence, breaching the contract.

Serious legal matters like this case could have been avoided if the web developer was able to prepare his own service contract. In there, he could have defined his own expectations from the project, what both parties agree to do, work details, legal implications, copyrights, and payment terms, for example. This way, he didn't have to depend on what was stated in the client's contract alone but rather could have established a solid support for his rights to the property (i.e. codes), responsibilities and liabilities with a freelance web development contract.

It’s not the first time we are hearing about such cases. Both freelancers and clients can suffer in case they’re not using a contract. Freelance business is riskier than you think, and so, you’re only safe working with a contract as a web developer. Web development contracts go a long way to protect your freelance business. 

If you’re a newbie in the freelance world, you may not know the nitty-gritty of a good web developer contract. But even then, this shouldn’t worry you as there are several web development contract template PDFs that can guide you through. Depending on the freelance developer contract template you choose, you’ll be able to get a suitable web contract structure and flow that will help you design one. Web development contracts are one of the easiest to design. You can almost do everything with a web development contract template. 

However, not all freelancer developer contract template PDFs will be of help. As such, you have to take the time to choose the best. 

Bonsai can provide you with well-crafted written agreements that also take your client's best interest into account. A contract is an agreement between two people, and, therefore, a good web development contract template should also cover your client’s interests.

These freelance design contracts are derived from a beneficial perspective on both parties that can define expectations and reassurances that are crucial to preventing sensitive issues that may arise.

So, why do freelancers need web development contracts for their freelance business? Well, from the scenario given above, you already have an idea why you need a web development contract template. But even then, we can still highlight some of these benefits. 

Let’s take a look below. 

1. Highlight the scope of service in the web development contract

As a freelancer, you need to define the scope of your services to be on the safe side. With a Web development contract template, you should be able to let your client know the limits of your services. But why do you need to do this? As a freelancer, you’d like to get paid for what you do, including any extra services you offer to the client. However, if you don’t state this clearly in your freelance developer contract template, you risk working for free. Therefore, let your clients know the services they’ll be paying for, and in case they need an extra service, let them know how much you’ll be charging for this. Clients don’t like it when you ask for extra payment that you didn’t prepare them for. It can affect your relationship.

2. Include payment terms on your web development agreement

When do you expect payment from your client, and how much do you expect ate the end of every project? Your web development contract should answer this. After working so hard to meet a client’s deadline, the last thing you’d expect is late payment. Since you don’t want to argue with your client during payment, you better make use of a freelance developer contract template to highlight your terms of payment. This not only protects you from late payment but also ensures you get paid for what you work for. Some clients tend to be stubborn when it comes to payment, and so, the only way to be safe is to ensure your payment terms are well defined.

3. Termination of a web development contract

While you may not think of project termination coming your way, things happen. Your client may just decide that they’re not going to continue with the project due to unavoidable circumstances. In that case what happens? Do you need to be paid for the services already offered or do you need compensation for early termination? Your freelance development web contract template needs to answer this. However, the terms of termination should be fair to both of you. Most of the web development contracts uploaded online will give you an idea of how to go about this.

4. Talk about communication in your web development agreement

Communication is very important in the freelance world. Any communication breakdown can affect the flow of business, and, therefore, it’s something to look at. How do you intend to communicate with your client? Is it via email or phone calls? Your web developer contract needs to highlight this. In that way, you’ll know who to blame in case of a communication breakdown that impairs the functions of a business. However, as you do this, try to be fair to your client. Get to know the mode of communication that works best for them.

5. Specify ownership of intellectual property in the web development contract

Who owns copyright rights? Both you and your client need to know this before you start working together. Some projects are very sensitive, especially if you’re contributing to copyrighted material. Since you’d like to maintain a good relationship with your client, you need to get down to this. I agree with them first before proceeding with the work. You also need to take into account confidentiality. What wouldn’t they want you to share with third parties? Get to know this and include it in the contract.

Now that you know why you need a contract as a freelance web developer, get a template and design one for your business.

6. How to create a website development agreement PDF

You may have started building websites small time, not really having to worry about comprehensive proposals and agreement templates. But here you are, you’ve come of age in your web development career. The big projects are beginning to trickle in. But wait, these jobs come with some requisite formalities that are good for you and your potential client. One of these is the web development agreement.

As a freelancer, you can’t work without one especially if you’re looking forward to grow in your web development freelance career. If you talk to one of the freelance web design gurus, they’ll tell you that even if you’re a newbie in web design freelancing, you still need a simple website development agreement PDF to sail through your freelancing careers. So, it’s a must have for any freelancer.

Developing such an agreement might be a little too challenging if you’ve never done a similar project before. But thanks to web development agreement PDF templates. You no longer have to scratch your head. Again, we also have web development agreement PDF samples done by some of the well-known freelancers. So, writing one shouldn’t be a mount. With these resources, you can do one within a few seconds.

Web Development Contract Template
Image Credits: slideshare.net

Out of the millions of templates available online, you can download a simple website development agreement (PDF) of choice and just alter it to fit your unique needs. But don’t just get any. Remember, not all the web development agreement PDF templates are perfect for your contract type. It would be better to take a look at the available samples first before settling on a particular template.

While you can use the available templates and samples to develop a freelance web development agreement, it’s always important to know what entails a good web design agreement. Therefore, in this article, we’ll discuss some important tips that every web development freelancer should know before designing a web development agreement.

Now, for the best results in writing your simple website development agreement PDF, check out the tips below.

6.1. Scope of the web development contract

Most web development agreement PDF documents come already loaded with tons of important project details. You’ll, however, need to amend the information so that it speaks directly to your client’s project.

Most web development agreement PDF documents come already loaded with tons of important project details. Whether you're working on design, just front end, or even getting into the backend to work on API's, you should make this explicit in your proposal. You’ll, however, need to amend the information so that it speaks directly to your client’s project. Remember, the web development agreement PDF template is just there to guide you on what to do. So, don’t borrow everything including the project details. Just tailor it to match your client’s project needs. Of course, you’ll have already discussed the nitty-gritty of the project with your client, and so, it shouldn’t be hard for you to fix the necessary information.

Make sure include as much relevant information as possible in this section. This will help you to reduce the chances of conflicts during project implementation. It’ll also make it difficult for the client to keep on switching goal posts without taking responsibility in terms of time, money or otherwise.

Indicate that any change in the scope of the work after the contract is duly signed calls for an independent agreement and that all these changes must be communicated in writing.That’s very important in any agreement. So, not unless you’re ready to be on the receiving end, you shouldn’t leave out such important details.

6.2. Mention the development server on your web development agreement

Most freelancers prefer taking care of the development server for varying reasons. One of the reasons is security, especially where you’re working remotely. However, there are also clients who insist on hosting the project for security or whatever reasons. Since you aren’t sure what the client would prefer, make sure you include this part in the agreement. Most Web development agreement PDF documents may not have this part.

So, if the template you’re using doesn’t have this clause, ensure you introduce it and agree with the client on how to go about it. If you’d like to take care of the development server, let your client know about this. Even so, remember that we always prioritize the client needs. Therefore, if your client wants to take care of the development server, let them do it, but ensure that’s well stated in the simple website development agreement PDF.

6.3. Capture deliverables and milestones in the web development contract

A web development project can be accomplished in clear-cut milestones. A great deal of web development agreement PDF templates are likely to take care of this, but you’d need to do a few edits here and there to ensure it’s ready for use. As we said earlier, the web development agreement PDF template isn’t ultimate. You need to do some adjustments here and there to match the project needs.

If you’re the one taking care of the design, clearly indicate the terms. Your prospective client needs to know this before you start working on the project at hand. If the website has several different functionalities, which most probably it has, ensure that you list them in the order in which you’ll accomplish them and the expected result of each. This is very important.

In some cases, you may want to attach these milestones to the payment schedule, indicating whether you’re to be paid at the start of a project milestone or at the completion. Your client needs to know how you’ll go about the work and when you expect payment. Be sure to include all the necessary information in this section to avoid conflicts during work or payment.

6.4. List the roles of each party in the web development agreement

Of course, mild conflicts may arise in the course of work, but you can always minimize them by writing a detailed agreement. As a freelancer, the best way to avoid conflicts along the way in a web development project is to clearly indicate who does what and when so that the implementation process runs seamlessly to its conclusion.

Let the client know what they should expect from you, and what you expect from them. In this way, you can always revisit the contract in case you aren’t agreeing on one or two things. Even so, don’t give conditions. Just express your requirements and responsibilities in a simple language. Remember, it’s a contract, and so, the two of you must agree to it.

Make sure your simple website development agreement PDF answers the following questions.

  • Who’s going to provide website content such as text, images, and videos?
  • Who’s going to handle the design work?
  • If some tools are needed for either development or testing, who’s taking care of them?

Both you and your client should clearly agree on this.

Don’t downplay anything when doing this. If all parties to the contract know their roles, it’s easier to call out anyone who’s not living up to expectations.

Ensure that you draw clear deadlines for every role so that each party to the contract knows what to do and when. In that way, the project will run smoothly with minimal conflicts along the way.

Web Development Contract Template Sample
Image Credits: pinimg.com

6.5. Confidentiality, intellectual property and copyrights sections of your web development contract

In web development, the client may share some sensitive information with the developer. How the information is handled must be defined in the simple website development agreement PDF. Does the web development agreement PDF template you’re using as your guidance include this? If not, please insert it so that matters of confidentiality are addressed before the implementation of the contract kicks off.

Your web development agreement should answer the following questions.

  • How about rights to the original works by either party?
  • What about the rights of third parties?
  • Who gets what rights at the end of the contract?
  • Are rights whole or split down based on every party’s contributions?

Some web development agreements omit third party rights, yet this is a very essential; component. In some cases, a client would provide plagiarized content to the developer and vice versa. What happens in such a case? The best way to go about it is to clearly indicate in the contract that the party that provides content is the one to answer to any third-party who lays claim to the rights on such content. The web design agreement PDF document you’re using may not include this section. So, make sure it’s there in your agreement.

6.6. Talk about project testing, delivery, and training in the web development agreement

Most web development agreement PDF templates for big projects already have clauses for testing, delivery and staff training. All you’ve got to do is to edit them to make them relevant to your current project.

For instance, your agreement should answer the following questions:

  • Who is going to test the final product?
  • After testing is done and the client is happy, how is the project delivered?
  • How long is the staff training if it’s required?

Both you and your client need to agree on this, and, therefore, let your contract take care of all such details. In the preparation of the agreement, there might be some back and forth communications between you and the potential client.

At the end of the day, it’s crucial that the contract is watertight at all levels. This will ensure that your rights and those of your potential client are correctly taken care of.

7. How to create a freelance programming contract template

So you're a programmer entering the freelance business and looking for a work contract template for yourself and your clients. Great for you, and congratulations because not all programmers are willing to go through a treacherous road that is freelancing! For one, executing the tasks related to marketing and business accounting is almost synonymous with hassle. You may not be even business savvy enough to negotiate rates and close deals with potential clients, so you'll like accept the first offer laid out to you.

Unfortunately, this could potentially lead to an unsatisfying journey because underestimating the project scope in the beginning would make you believe that an entry-level rate will suffice till the end. To be fair, the project goals and expectations could have been clearer if you only knew the right way to approach it. This is where getting a Freelance Programming Contract would come in handy.

Whatever you call yourself i.e. a coder, computer scientist, hacker, or a developer, you will have to have a freelance programming contract to uphold your own Intellectual Property rights, Copyrights, non-disclosure agreements, Privacy Policy, or any other guidelines you'd want to clear up with your client(s).

Does this sound too complicated yet? Fret not, because there are ready-made templates for you to use once you sign up on Bonsai. You can then choose a contract, write your own service terms (i.e. hourly rate, fixed rate, expertise, work procedure, etc.), sign the contract electronically, and secure payment with an online payment service platform.

Once you have the contract ready, you can finally tick it off of your list-to-do! Don't forget to update it once in a while though, depending on the type of project you're going to work on. For example, as advised by SitePoint's Craig Buckler, defects and bugs in a website you've previously programmed can happen as algorithm changes over time, so clearly state in the contract that you're capable of fixing these issues rather than letting the client take the legal settlement course.

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