As a website designer, you need a solid agreement template you can use again and again with clients that contains terms specific to your services. Let's go over some must have clauses for your Website Design Agreement.
First, your contract must include what services you will provide for your client. This should be more specific than simply "website design." Instead, you want to outline exactly what you will do.
New website on the _____ platform, containing 6 pages.
Mobile and Tablet responsive design and optimization
Client Website Training ____ hours
Social Media integration
Email list form integration
Site Speed Optimization
SEO & Keyword Optimization
Or, if you have your own package containing a description of your services that you use in your marketing materials or sales page, you can take that package and include it here.
Most importantly, you want the description to accurately capture the services you will provide for the client so that you are both on the same page.
This section outlines how much you will be paid and when. Most website design agreements have a similar pay structure with fees delivered in 3 installments.
You're paid initially with a deposit to begin the services. A 2nd installment will be due perhaps midway through production and a 3rd and final installment is due to you upon final client approval and prior to the delivery of client’s completed website.
That said, if you have a different payment arrangement in mind such as a 1x flat fee or being paid hourly, include that instead.
As with the description of services, the important thing here is to be clear about what is owed and when.
And speaking of payments, what about refunds? Should you provide a refund to a client after you've already started website design services?
That is completely up to you when it comes to how to craft your agreement. Many website designers will not provide refunds for work already completed.
For example, if you've received a deposit and the 2nd installment and completed two-thirds of the design work when your client suddenly terminates the arrangement, you may wish to keep the monies received for the work performed.
This can be stated in your agreement. Website design services take a significant amount of time, resources and effort and the time you reserved to perform certain work may be rightfully compensated.
However you choose to handle refunds, have your policy explicitly stated in your website design agreement so that the client is aware of any risks related to sudden cancellation.
Milestones / Deliverables
As you know, building a website takes time and may be done and a few steps.
To set expectations for your client, include a schedule to show what you will deliver and when.
Provide anticipated dates for completion of each stage.
And if you need your client to submit materials to you so that you can fulfill the services, you can list those items and due dates as well.
As a creative endeavor, it is a collaborative effort that requires the cooperation of both parties.
Having a schedule of deliverables in the contract helps keep everyone on track.
You work with clients so you know the importance of a cooperative and responsive relationship.
Insert a clause in your website design agreement that requires the client to communicate and respond to deadlines and requests for reviews and approvals.
Delays on their end causes delays on your end which can affect your overall business. It affects the delivery of their product and potentially your schedule with other clients as well.
What if they stop responding altogether?
Time to activate the part of the clause that allows you to terminate if a client is unresponsive for a certain amount of days allowing you to keep monies paid for the work completed prior to your termination.
Will you provide site maintenance? If so, include your hourly fee in the contract so that you can be compensated for additional work.
And speaking of any additional work, it's a good idea to have an hourly rate included in the agreement just in case services are added that fall outside of the scope of what's outlined in your services section.