Web Design Contracts

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!