Web Development Contract YES!
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At Webmaster For Hire, we have had a contract in place for 10 years. When we first started our business, everything was on a handshake.
We never had any problems. A contract was created for new web development clients when we started marketing our local business outside of our state. We no longer could shake the hands of our prospects. To our surprise, we had prospects get a little nervous about signing a contract.
Why YOU the Client want a Web Development Contract?
Having a contract with your web development company is crucial to securing your rights as the web site owner. Web development contracts are not only for laying down time-frames, project specifications and payment schedules. They, also, should tell you what you are responsible for, when you should expect reports and how you and your web development company will communicate.
Do You Own Your Web Development Copyright?
A lot of small business owners do not realize that they may not own the copyright to their web site until its too late. It is not a rare occasion for me to meet a prospect who is leaving their current web developer and find out that the copyright (the ownership of the web site) is owned by the web development company NOT THEM!One attorney client had to pay $600 to his previous web development company to get the copyright to his site and the text content he wrote.
Dont start your web site development until you get in writing who owns the copyright of the site and when.
See many web development companies (or web designers) work under the laws of Graphics & Photography. If you hire an experienced graphic designer or photographer, you will be given use rights (right to use said graphic/photo). But the graphic designer or photographer will retain the rights to the actual image or photo. This is why your wedding photographer charges you for the prints and has his/her copyright on the back so no reprints can be made legally.
Not all, but some, web development companies have adopted this way of doing business. They build your site and give you use rights but they retain copyright to the code, the images, and the content (even if you write it). This is where you want a contract and most importantly get your copyright.
At Webmaster For Hire, we point this out to our prospects and clients. Our contract states that we retain copyright until final payment. After we have received the final payment for a project, we transfer, via the contract, the copyright to the client. This is what you want in your contract with your web development company.
Be business smart and business wise get a contract!