A few weeks ago I got an interesting question from a designer going through the From Mockup to Code Toolkit. In the Toolkit, we were covering the client onboarding process. We mentioned that when a developer is involved, a contract should be sent over from them.
Our student shared that she was getting ready for an upcoming project with a developer, and a contract wasn’t sent over from their camp. She wondered if since the developer didn’t send a contract, should she send one over?
The answer: YES.
Want to know why? I’ve got you covered.
Contracts are NOT Optional
We’ve all heard horror stories of designers starting a project with a developer and halfway through everything – crickets. They either take months to respond, create a website that doesn’t function properly at all or even worse – completed disappear.
Since these habits are pretty common in the industry, this is why a contract is completely necessary. While contracts help keep your mind at ease, they also protect the developer.
For example, if the client decides to add a significant feature partway through the project, there’s nothing that provides the developer with payment for the extra work. Another way a contract can protect a developer is the timeline portion of the agreement. Agreements can keep both parties accountable.
Clients will not be able to delay timelines, giving developers a realistic overview of their availability for future projects and client work. Contracts are an easy way to set and outline expectations and protect all involved in the project.
Developer without a contract = RED FLAG
Dealing with a developer that doesn’t send over a contract is a huge red flag. It provides you with the impression that they’re not well versed in their business, showing their level of inexperience. A contract provides a level of professionalism to a project. They should certainly have this on hand!
So who sends the contract?
Great question! This is up to you, but I do recommend consulting with your lawyer. They can provide you with proper advice for the situations you come across with your business. As a developer, I always send the designer a contract – always.
Like I just mentioned, if your developer doesn’t have one for you, it’s a red flag. You’re looking for someone with experience and a smooth process for the project. A contract should automatically be a part of that process. Simple as that.
Thanks to how I have my contract set up, it is created for both parties. I make my contract super clear and fair both ways. However, I have had one designer send their agreement to me as well. I am totally cool with that, just double check that the contracts do not contradict one another!
Basically, a contract is non-negotiable. Make sure that a contract is completed first thing before you get too deep into the project! Protect yourself and the others involved.