Good Contract for Web Designers

When you are getting started as a web designer, finding a good contract can be a real obstacle.

Now, I am not a lawyer, but here is a contract for web designers that I used to use when I did consulting and web design projects for less than $10,000.  It’s a great contract for those small brochure-type websites in the $0-$5,000 range (we used a different contract for engagements over $10,000).  Why is it a good contract?

1) it describes the process
2) it puts onus/responsibility on YOUR CLIENT – VERY IMPORTANT
3) it is short
4) it is easy to understand
5) it breaks down gracefully

Over 6+ years I found this was all I needed for small web design projects.  In fact, it worked very well for me early on in my contracting career when a dodgy client tried to take advantage of me.

Feel free to use this contract if you like.  Please note that you ought to include a detailed description of the work you are going to do (i.e. number of pages, description of the functionality, etc.).  So without further adieu, here is the contract:


Additional Costs:
* Copyediting: $***/hour
* Additional graphics and HTML: $***/hour
* Programming: $***/hour
* Significant updates to site and/or database: $***/hour (minimum $*** fee)
* Search engine optimization consulting: $***/hour

Payment Schedule:
* 50% to commence design and development
* 40% upon delivery of completed site – certified cheque required
* 10% hold back for 30 days to ensure the site operates in accordance with project specifications

Upon, but not before, delivery of the completed web site and upon payment in full, all HTML and programming and finished graphics will become property of YOUR CLIENT. YOUR COMPANY’s liability will be limited to replacement of any defective works.  YOUR COMPANY will not be held responsible for any consequential damages resulting from errors in the work. It is understood that YOUR CLIENT is legally responsible for all project content (including, but not limited to, text and images).

YOUR CLIENT is responsible for the provision of all site content in a timely manner. A two-week lapse between a request for content and the corresponding delivery will constitute a termination of the contract, in which case YOUR CLIENT will be invoiced for the services performed to date. The fee for services is based on three rounds of design as detailed in Section 3 above.

Additional charges will be incurred by YOUR CLIENT at the rates outlined above for further revisions. Revisions/feedback will only be accepted in written form.

Please sign here to signify your acceptance of this Statement of Work:

Signature: __________________________   Date: ____________________


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about the author

Co-Founder & CEO, FreshBooks Mike is the co-founder and CEO of FreshBooks, the world’s #1 cloud accounting software for self-employed professionals. Built in 2003 after he accidentally saved over an invoice, Mike spent 3.5 years growing FreshBooks from his parents’ basement. Since then, over 10 million people have used FreshBooks to save time billing, and collect billions of dollars. A lover of the outdoors, Mike has been bitten so many times it’s rumored he’s the first human to have developed immunity to mosquitoes.