Like many professions today, web designers are required to complete a well planned out and detailed contract to ensure that all parties get exactly what was agreed to, and paid for. We think anyone who has been in business for a while, has probably run into a customer who demands more and more of your time, even though the contract clearly defines the amount of hours being billed for, or amount of edits and deadlines that are stated.
Luckily, CryoDragon has always had a very detailed proposal which completely lays out the timeline, features purchased or not purchased, where the hours will be going, and cost for each part of the project or breakdown of the hours required. Our transparency has always helped in providing clear guidance on what is acceptable and what is not, during any part of the project from start to finish.
Some people are fine with an oral or verbal agreement and a handshake, and to each their own. As an incorporated business, we have always operated with a written contract, and therefore have always been able to refer back to the contract to show what was agreed to and signed off on, in any type of dispute. After all, it is proven that what one person remembers as being discussed, another can remember as being agreed to. So if both remember differently, and money and reputation is on the line, who is right? Since verbal contracts are enforceable, you may be looking at legal costs to battle over who is right or wrong.
Some benefits to written contracts are:
- Proof of terms and conditions that you can always look back on. This prevents or rectifies any misunderstandings at any point in the project.
- Piece of mind is a great thing when your reputation is on the line, or if you are worried about lawsuits. When things are written clearly, there is no room for interpretation; and when both parties have listed out their objectives and guidelines, things go much smoother. There is always room for an addendum if further work is requested post-contract and is related to the current project.
- A good contract provides ways out of a contract if the agreed terms are not adhered to. If someone breaks the agreement or disappears after you have done a significant amount of work, wouldn’t anyone want to be paid for their time provided? A contract can insure that no deposits are returned if the client disappears for 2 years and then comes back wanting money refunded. Or if a contracted business person fails to complete the job at hand in the time period that was clearly defined, then the contract can be broken without penalty to the customer.
For a contract to be legally binding in Canada, there must be an agreement. For the agreement, this means that there must be an Offer, and an Acceptance. Once in writing, you should include, terms and conditions, performance, payment clauses, obligations, and breach of contract guidelines.
So if you are thinking about covering yourself and keeping things simpler in your life, we would suggest creating a written contract. Either a do-it yourself with research, or with a lawyer to help make it more secure. It may allow for much more of that piece of mind we mentioned earlier.
At CryoDragon, we spend a lot of time making sure our proposals and contracts are as detailed as possible. As web developers/designers as well as graphic designers, we need to make sure that our clients understand that at the end of the project, they own 100% of whatever we do after full payment. We also make an effort in detailing all the work that will be done, and how many hours go into each aspect of the project so that our clients know where there money is going. Although a contract can be daunting, we truly believe it is necessary to form a long-lasting B2B partnership.
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