Below is my boilerplate contract that gets modified as needed for consulting work. It’s a version of Contract Killer, the popular open-source contract for web professionals by Stuff & Nonsense. My edits consist mostly of removing all briticisms and some complexities.
Between Casey Gollan
And [client name]
I’ll always do my best to fulfill your needs and meet your expectations, but it’s important to have things written down so that we both know what’s what, who should do what and when, and what will happen if something goes wrong. In this contract you won’t find any complicated legal terms or long passages of unreadable text. I have no desire to trick you into signing something that you might later regret. What I do want is what’s best for both parties, now and in the future.
You, [client name], are hiring me, Casey Gollan, to:
For the estimated total price of $[####] as outlined in my previous correspondence.
The site will launch by [##/##/####]. A prototype will be made available beforehand so we can kick tires and make final adjustments. For several days after launch I will also be on call to make tweaks and help fix problems that arise.
The rate above is based on an estimate of approximately [###] hours of work across a [##] week timeframe.
If the project goes beyond these estimates, I may require an additional budget for alterations based on an hourly rate of $[###]. For a freelancer working on a small projects it’s necessary in terms of time-management to set a hard cutoff like this.
You: You have the authority to enter into this contract on behalf of yourself, your company or your organization. You’ll give me the assets and information I tell you I need to complete the project. You’ll do this when I ask and provide it in the formats I ask for. You’ll review my work, provide feedback and approval in a timely manner too. Deadlines work two ways, so you’ll also be bound by dates we set together. You also agree to stick to the payment schedule set out at the end of this contract.
Me: I have the experience and ability to do everything we’ve agreed with you and I’ll do it all in a professional and timely manner. I’ll endeavor to meet every deadline that’s set.
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to review my work and provide feedback. I’ll share you on my progress via email, Dropbox, Google Drive, Github, and a development site, and we’ll have regular contact.
If, at any stage, you’re not happy with the direction my work is taking, you’ll pay me in full for everything I’ve produced until that point and cancel this contract.
I create designs which adapt to the capabilities of many devices and screen sizes. I work iteratively and predominantly use HTML and CSS so I won’t waste time mocking up every template as a static visual. I may use visuals to indicate a creative direction (color, texture, and typography.)
Unless agreed separately, I’m not responsible for inputting text or images into your content management system or creating every page on your website. I provide professional writing and editing services, so if you’d like me to create new content or input content for you, I can provide a separate estimate for that.
You should supply graphic files in an editable, vector digital format. You should supply photographs in a high resolution digital format.
Browser testing no longer means attempting to make a website look the same in browsers of different capabilities or on devices with different size screens. It does mean ensuring that a person’s experience of a design should be appropriate to the capabilities of a browser or device.
I test my work in current versions of Safari, Chrome, and Firefox on Mac. I won’t test on other operating systems or with older browsers unless we agree separately.
If you need to ensure compatibility with older browsers, I can provide a separate estimate for that.
Mobile browser testing using popular smaller screen devices is essential in ensuring that a person’s experience of a design is appropriate to the capabilities of the device they’re using. I test my designs on iOS 9 Safari.
I won’t test on other mobile browsers unless we agree separately.
If you need me to test using a broader range of mobile devices, I can provide a separate estimate for that.
I don’t offer website hosting or email. You may already have hosting; if you do, great. If you don’t, I can set up an account for you at one of my preferred hosting providers. Then, the updates to, and management of that server will be up to you.
The estimated dates at the beginning of this contract represent the lengths of time I estimate I’ll need to accomplish everything you’ve told me you want to achieve, but I’m happy to be flexible. If you want to change your mind or add anything new after the completion date, that won’t be a problem, but will require an additional budget.
I’ll carry out my work at the standard expected from a qualified person with relevant experience.
That said, I can’t guarantee that my work will be error-free and so I can’t be liable to you or any third-party for damages, including lost profits, lost savings or other incidental, consequential or special damages, even if you’ve advised me of them.
Your liability to me will also be limited to the amount of fees payable under this contract and you won’t be liable to me or any third-party for damages, including lost profits, lost savings or other incidental, consequential or special damages, even if I’ve advised you of them.
Finally, if any provision of this contract shall be unlawful, void, or for any reason unenforceable, then that provision shall be deemed severable from this contract and shall not affect the validity and enforceability of any remaining provisions.
Just to be clear, “Intellectual property rights” means all patents, rights to inventions, copyright (including rights in software) and related rights, trademarks, service marks, trade names, internet domain names, rights to goodwill or to sue for passing off, rights in designs, database rights, rights in confidential information (including know-how) and any other intellectual property rights, in each case whether registered or unregistered and including all applications (or rights to apply) for, and renewals or extensions of, such rights and all similar or equivalent rights or forms of protection which subsist or shall subsist now or in the future in any part of the world.
First, you guarantee that all elements of text, images or other artwork you provide are either owned by you, or that you’ve got permission to use them. When you provide text, images or other artwork to me, you agree to protect me from any claim by a third party that I’m using their intellectual property.
I guarantee that all elements of the work I deliver to you are either owned by me or I’ve obtained permission to provide them to you. When I provide text, images or other artwork to you, I agree to protect you from any claim by a third party that you’re using their intellectual property. Provided you’ve paid for the work and that this contract hasn’t been terminated, I’ll assign all intellectual property rights to you as follows:
You’ll own the website I design for you plus the visual elements that I create for it. I’ll give you source files and finished files and you should keep them somewhere safe as I’m not required to keep a copy. You own all intellectual property rights of text, images, site specification and data you provided, unless someone else owns them.
I’ll own any intellectual property rights I’ve developed prior to, or developed separately from this project and not paid for by you. I’ll own the unique combination of these elements that constitutes a complete design and I’ll license its use to you, exclusively and in perpetuity for this project only, unless we agree otherwise.
I reserve the right to display my work, including sketches, work-in-progress designs, and the completed project on my portfolio and in articles on websites, in magazine articles, and in books.
I’m sure you understand how important it is as a small business that you pay the invoices that I send you promptly. As I’m also sure you’ll want to stay friends, you agree to stick tight to the following payment schedule:
I will invoice on [##/##/####] for $[####], and on [##/##/####] for $[####]. Payments are due upon receipt of invoice.
I issue invoices by email and accept payments online or by check. All proposals are quoted in USD.
Neither of us can transfer this contract to anyone else without the other’s permission.
We both agree that I’ll adhere to all relevant laws and regulations in relation to my activities under this contract and not cause the other to breach any relevant laws or regulations.
This contract stays in place and need not be renewed. If for some reason one part of this contract becomes invalid or unenforceable, the remaining parts of it remain in place.
Although the language is simple, the intentions are serious and this contract is a legal document.
Signed by and on behalf of Casey Gollan Signed by and on behalf of [client name]
Everyone should sign above and keep a copy for their records.
This document is based on Contract Killer the popular open-source contract for web professionals by Stuff & Nonsense. Originally published: 23rd December 2008. Revised date: March 15th 2016. Original post.
Got a project in mind? Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
What is so compelling about this pile of rocks that would inspire me to look at this picture so many times on any given day? (This is the "Monument to Finnish Sisu.")
Sisu is a word from the Finnish language that is “ekphrastically untranslatable*.”
It stands for a combination of resilience, determination, making a plan and sticking to it, and continuing on against the odds. Like "grit" or equanimity but — I love this part — with a “grimmer quality of stress management.”
🌸 Thank you for reading! 🌼