Starting a website design company and managing it efficiently are two different things. Anyone, who has enough money to invest, can start a design agency, but only a handful of agencies actually make profit in this highly competitive market.
During the early days of a business, the company owner always tries to please the clients and accepts most of the illogical demands. However, if you keep accepting sudden design changes and project cost reduction requests frequently; your business may never be able to make profits.
Every web design company should have a solid written contract to stay away from disputes and payment problems. Make sure that your contract covers every detail and has the terms and conditions to save you from legal trouble. If the contract is not very strict, some clients may take the design and never pay you for your hard work.
Contracts can be modified for small and large projects, but some key elements must not be omitted. Here is a list of the 5 things that must be mentioned clearly in a project contract.
- Scope of Work- Mention the services you are going to offer and the services that you also offer, but not included in the contract. For instance, you may offer web design, logo design and SEO services. If the customer asked you for first two services and don’t want the third one, mention it clearly. Doing this can prevent clients from accusing you for not delivering something.
However, an assignment can evolve gradually and the client may ask you for additional services that are not included in the original contract. In that case, mention the rates for additional services clearly and modify the total project cost after discussion.
- Payment Details- How do you want to charge the client? Point out the payment details clearly and ask the client to read all the terms and conditions. If it’s a small project, hourly rate is more profitable and flat rate is good for large projects. Tell the client to pay 50% amount of total project fee in advance and rest of the 50% gradually in installments.
The payment details should also include the terms and conditions for late payment. You should charge additional 5-10% fine for late payment so that the client will think twice before delaying the installments. Write down clearly that final HTML and CSS files will be delivered after the complete payment is done.
- Deadlines- Before writing the deadline, take an estimation from your team members. If they say that the project can be completed in 12 days, fix a 14 days deadline to be safe. If some problems suddenly appear during the project, these extra days will help you deliver the site on time.
- Duties of the Client- Make a list of the things client has promised to provide you. For instance, if he is going to provide content and images, mention the dates for delivering those items. You should also highlight that if the patron does not deliver the required items on time, project will be delayed and you are not responsible for that.
- Intellectual Property- Clients and design agencies often fight over the intellectual property. If you want to retain the copyright for design or content, discuss the issue with the client in advance and insert the clause in the bond.
You may want to add some other details in the contract as well. These are only the most necessary points. If you think I have missed a few mandatory points, please share your opinion in comments section.