I’ve heard enough web designer horror stories to emphatically tell you to ALWAYS sign a web design contract. Verbal agreements are for sucker wanna-bes, whether you're the client or designer.
What Should Be In Your Web Design Contract
I’m not a lawyer, so do NOT take this as legal advice. But, based on my professional experience, a good web design contract should at least specify:
- Estimated project cost (in terms of hours or dollars)
- Payment terms
- Estimated project completion date (or something related to timely progress towards project completion)
- Cancellation policy
- Who owns the completed design and related graphics (logo, stock photos, etc)
- Who owns the domain name (make sure it's YOU, not the designer!)
- Non-disclosure terms (so your competitor down the block doesn’t see the final site before you do!)
Even if the web designer or client is a close friend or relative, you'd be wise to have a signed web design contract. That way everyone is starting on the same page -- literally!