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Thread: Contracts

  1. #1
    SitePoint Member
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    Well. . . I didn't really know where to post this, but I figured this would probably be the best place. I just got my first real client and I was wondering: Does anyone know where I could get a good contract?

  2. #2
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    Try
    I can only assume that contracts int he UK would be different to those in the US.
    http://www.morebusiness.com/templates_worksheets/

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  3. #3
    SitePoint Enthusiast Jackman's Avatar
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    Hello Vestige

    Congratulations on your first real client. Very exciting stuff for you, and one of the best ways to build the business is referrals. So one client actually means many more.

    I don't have any idea where you can get a contract but I want to suggest a business approach. This is what we do.

    We tell the client this:

    "We don't have contracts. If you don't think we are worth what we quoted please don't pay. If your not satisfied for any reason, or no reason at all, please don't pay."

    That does two main things. #1: Removes all risk for the client. Fear is the biggest influence upon selecting a designer (or any product/service for that matter). Remove any risk of the client being unhappy about what they pay and you greatly increase your chances of a sale.

    #2: Makes you perform. You don't perform, you don't get paid.

    Because design work is such an intangible thing clients often don't appreciate the creative process. They do devalue it because they don't understand it. Demonstrate that you will perform and your business will grow very quickly.

    People reading this will think "Oh sure. What if the client is a cheapskate who doesn't want to pay?" In my experience, when you treat the client professionally you won't be taken advantage of.

    Give it some thought Vestige. It's just a different view on things to let you see a different perspective.

    Good luck with the business. I'm sure it will be a tremendous success and that business will grow, grow, grow.

    Regards

    Jackman

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard
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    That's a very interesting way to do it, Jackman. I've never thought of doing that...

    Which company do you work for? It seems like whichever is very professional.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Enthusiast Jackman's Avatar
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    Thank you d3v for your kind words.

    I have my own company. My background is marketing but now we are entirely Web Design. I know nothing about designing sites but my guys do. I just get the client and keep them.

    All the stuff we do with the client is geared toward getting an edge over every one else. The client can never be in a position not to pay because we ask toward the end of the project:

    "How happy are you with the site on a scale of 1-10 according to our brief?" We then do whatever we have to to get a 10. It's the old story of disgruntled clients telling 10 people and those 10 telling 4 people each. That's pretty easy. You sometimes do more than you should but the amount of business that a happy client generates is huge.

    We do a "Commonality Survey" every 3 or so months on our client list. It covers such questions as to how they heard of us, what sort of industry they're in, what turnover they have, etc. We find that our clients have a lot in common. We can actually trace 90% of our work over the past 12 months back to one person!

    We know from that that we are a lot more likely to obtain work from these 'kind' of people. If a person doesn't qualify then we don't usually provide a quote. As an example, we get 100% of the jobs we go for when the prospect is referred from an existing client. We know that we can charge these prospects a premium, we know that this prospect, in 90% of cases, won't get other quotes, we know that this prospect pays an average of 6 days after the invoive, etc. And these 'better' clients refer an average of 3 other clients within 6 months. One of our biggest clients actually actively seeks out business for us!

    The unqualified propsect success rate is down to about 35% success rate. That's after all the money we spend trying to solicit an enquiry. They get other quotes, and don't pay so quick. And we spend (or used to!) 2 1/2 times more on these clients for 34% less income.

    It's not going to kill us if they don't pay. We had one client who went bankrupt about a day from finishing his $6,000 site. He rang me and told me to stop the work on it as he couldn't pay. We had received his 50% deposit 6 weeks before. We had a couple of options: take legal action and become one of the many trying to squeeze every last drop out of the guy. Or just forget about it.

    We did something else. I wrote him a letter thanking him for letting me know to stop the work, empathised what a stressful time it must be for him, etc. And we refunded his deposit in cash.

    Now we didn't have to do that. But it was the decent thing to do. We might get a site off him in the future if he gets back on his feet. But who do you think he'll be speaking about in glowing terms whenever anyone mentions Web Design? A cheap ad really.

    Anyway, I've rambled on as usual. Hope the ramblings were of some interest.

    Regards

    Jackman

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard
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    You've certainly got a quite established background in marketing! If you don't mind, I've been eager to see your company's site because if it's half as good as you treat your customers it's better than Microsoft's

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Wow, very good!

    I like that kind of thinking, good work!

    I would like to see your site too

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  8. #8
    SitePoint Enthusiast Jackman's Avatar
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    Thanks d3v and trcfreebies for your confidence in my site!

    We do have a very strong focus on client relationship development stuff. We had a thread going here (http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/Forum1/HTML/000594.html) where we discussed it a little further.

    My business has been going for a year and we use our main designer's page (www.original.com.au/web) as our example page as required. Other than that we show client sites.

    Hope you like it. I'm actually not that keen on it. The typos, etc just about give me an ulcer and I can't do anything about them because it's his site. From a marketing point it demonstrates the expertise okay, but there's no call to action, etc.

    Hope it is of some interest.

    Regards

    Jackman


  9. #9
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    Despite the advice given in the above messages, if you are still looking for some contract templates, you can find that kind of stuff at the www.nolo.com web site. Check out the book titled "Software Development-A Legal Guide". Hope this helps. I take exception to the advice given above. Although it may be good for marketing purposes, it's bad for dispute resolution. And if you have clients, eventually you will have disputes. A good contract goes beyond payment policies and covers areas such as liability, and ownership of intellectual property. As far as I'm concerned, the main purpose of a contract is to protect yourself and your business. This can easily be done without harming your marketing.

  10. #10
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    I thank you all for your feedback, and appreciate all the advice you have given. I would still like more sites however, mainly just so I have a good range of resources.

    Also, I would like to say that I agree in some ways with everyone that has posted about marketing technique and contract use. I have decided that I will be using a contract, however, I am using one that is not quite so binding. The way I work it is this:

    The client agrees to pay 1/3 of the total price upfront. This money is non-refundable (hey I gotta make sure the bills get paid). By paying this, they are giving us the go-ahead to start working on their site. Halfway through the agreed apon time period, the client pays the next 1/3. This money is refundable until the day we recieve the final 1/3. After that the final payment can be refunded up to 30 days after we publish the final site. If the client needs a refund, we do it no questions asked, however, if anything is published we remove it from the internet. Doing it this way, gives the client a sense of comfort and also protects us from getting ripped off. In an extreme case however, such as the client going bankrupt, we would of course give a full refund. It's only right. Anyway, thanks again.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Karl's Avatar
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    May I reccomend the following link to you?
    http://webdesign.about.com/compute/w...bcontracts.htm

    I found it very useful, it has links to a great many resources.

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    Karl Austin
    KDA Web Services

  12. #12
    Confirmed Halfwit
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    Vestige,

    Now that you have a great contract and system in place... would you want to post it somewhere for us all to see?

    Thanks!

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    www.gimmeabuck.com <-- Have you given me a buck yet!?



  13. #13
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    The contract and pricing system, or the link to my site?

  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard
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    I think both of these would help

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