Top 10 Points You Should Address in Your Website Contract

You have decided to redo your site and selected an agency, now you need to execute a contract for the work. All of your engagements should have a contract it defines the relationship between you and the agency. Please ensure the contract is read prior to signing it. If you’re not comfortable or do not completely understand any aspect of the contract have it clarified prior to signing.

Here are a ten items to consider:

  1. Work for hire –  The client should own all the content. This may include associated graphics, videos, stock images (which can be purchased through a third party), programming and video.
  2. Licenses for software – are any software programs being utilized that will need to be active after the site is live?  If so, they need to be defined in the agreement.  What happens if you sever the relationship with the agency?
  3. Software as a service – Software as a service (SaaS) is a software distribution model in which a third-party provider hosts applications and makes them available to customers over the Internet.
  4. Other licenses: Images –  Clients should purchase their images and subsequent licensing directly through such providers as Getty Images, iStock Photo.  This will also allow you to manage the renewal process of all images. Any intellectual property that will be used in the site must be researched to ensure any needed licensing is addressed. Define the ownership and licensing requirements of any images or photos.
  5. Statement of Work (SOW) –  the SOW must be included as an attachment in the agreement. The SOW should clearly list the summary of the projected deliverables and the promised dates of each deliverable.
  6. Service Level Agreement (SLA) –  covers the terms of any ongoing service provided by the agency. If there is no continued service after delivery no SLA is required.
  7. Determining Satisfaction & Acceptance – The general rule in contract cases is that if customer satisfaction is not a specified term in the agreement (either oral or written), then the contractor (or artist) gets paid as long as the contract was actually entered and the work was done in compliance with the terms of the agreement.
  8. Terms – The payment terms should be clearly spelled out in the agreement.  Most agencies will invoice after completing deliverables and the client accepting them.
  9. Review Cycles –  As the client what your obligations under the agreement?  Most web projects require client reviews and feedback.  Who is responsible for the reviews and what is the required time to complete the review? What happens if you the client do not complete the review in the required time?  Does the agency considered it accepted? Can you be charged for another round of revision due to your missed deadline?
  10. Termination Clause or Kill Fee –  This should be defined and there are several options. For example, a termination for convenience will allow either party at either time to cancel the agreement. The monies paid to date must be addressed.  How much will the agency bill?  Will they charge a percentage of the work completed?  Are you as the client entitled to a refund of any fees?
While this list is not fully complete, this demonstrates there are multiple areas to consider when executing an agreement.