The Importance of an Client Agreement

In my experience (and at the risk of inviting your wroth) some of the best designers don’t spend too much time formally learning, but seem to spend most of their life working and working and working all the hours God made to become a great web developer – so hopefully no wroth.

Many of those same people go on to run their own web development agencies too and spend just as much time dragging their fledgling business together by the scruff of its neck, somehow finding even more time than they did before, but what if after everything their Clients do not want to or can’t pay?

Importantly and in a word, “contract”. You need a contract and a contract that lays out many things. It may seem all very formal and a bit of a nuisance at first, but here’s a number of thoughts that you might like to consider before drawing up a contract or agreement.

Before I progress though, let me stress that what I’m saying here is that we recommend, indeed strongly recommend that you have a more formal agreement between you and your Client and that you retain a good solicitor to help you create such an agreement.

Before you retain a solicitor, ask for a price for their work and ideally get a fixed price so you know what to expect. Now, when you’ve retained your solicitor you will need to explain what you want to achieve and here (as I said earlier) are a few pointers for you to think about:

  • How much is the Client going to pay for the finished project?
  • How will the Client pay? By that we mean, will they pay in stages and if so, what are those stages? At what point will you be able to say “could I raise our invoice for stage two? Initial template, wireframe , sitemap etc.
  • What is the finished project? A brochure style website? The design of a page? An e-commerce site?
  • If you produce a design and the Client doesn’t like it, what happens?
  • What evidence of progress would the Client expect to see and at what stage. Indeed what evidence will you be able to show?
  • Ensure that the client signs off each stage.
  • What guarantee are you prepared to give and for what period after the project is finished?
  • What will you need to achieve for it to be clear the Client has to make the final payment?
  • Who will host the finished project and if there are problems with uploading the site to the server, who will be responsible?

Well we could go on, but we hope these ideas give you food for thought and prevent misunderstandings

avatar Name: Alex Eager
About: Alex has worked as a Financial Controller and Finance Director for many years for a variety of companies across a range of industries but more recently she has moved away from accounting working for an internet marketing agency as Finance and Operations director, primarily overseeing the finance functions and search engine optimisation (SEO) for clients. Follow Alex on G+ and on Twitter @Alex_BusDirUK Alex runs her own company with two fellow owners developing a suite of e-commerce web sites and promoting them directly. “I found that SEO and finance were quite compatible both needing an eye for detail, research and analysis as well keeping up with new developments and changes.” Visit Alex's G+ Profile. and Twitter
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