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Web Design Contracts


I am in the process of launching my Web Design business as a freelance starting next year, What kind of things do I need to include in the contract? Also how many 'revisions' from the client do you guys normally allow because I have heard some stories of clients taking advantage :( Also how many if any face-to-face meetings do you have with your clients obviously geographic location will be an issue

Thanks in Advance
Contracts are tricky - you can find some free ones around the net, but you're going to want to customise the heck out of them. If you can afford to, get a solicitor to draft up a solid generic contract for you.

Revision allowance is usually around three or so - state that further revision work would be charged by the hour. "Unlimited free revisions" is tempting to offer, but it'll drive you mad.

Face to face depends on client size, what you're doing for them, where you both are... I've had many clients who I've never met, as the majority of my clients are US based (and to a lesser extent, Australian).

This does depend on what market you're trying to get into... are you going after local or regional businesses, aiming to be a nationwide company, or international as an online-only business? The further afield you operate, the more potential business there is... and far, far more competition.

Sounds like you're going to be looking for local work... if so, its a good idea to set up a face to face and go over everything before you commit to a contract. You'd be surprised how little most businesses understand about websites, what their purpose is, what works and what doesn't, etc. In these meetings you're also acting like a consultant or advisor, as its a lot harder to explain things over the phone or via email.

Sorry if I rambled on a bit there!


Active Member
Hi Chris 1791,

Welcome to Design Forums by the way :)
There's a great article over at Freelance Switch regarding design contracts, and I recall listening to a podcast over there about all the issues surrounding contracts for web design, it may be a bit more American based, but I'm sure the main principles remain the same - Legalese for Freelancers: Creating a Contract - FreelanceSwitch - The Freelance Blog

There's also the AIGA Standard Form of Agreement for Design Services, this is again American based but will give you an idea of what to include - AIGA Standard Form of Agreement for Design Services: Design & Business: AIGA

and one more link for good measure, a great little article over at Digital Web Magazine which runs through the various points that should be included and the reasoning behind them - Digital Web Magazine - Web Design Contracts: Why Bother

I hope that helps, and if I find any more UK specific advice I'll be sure to post it up... the Design Council may have some info on their site, so could be worth checking there too :)




Speak to the ladies at Lime One they are super good at what they do and their prices for standard contracts are really reasonable.

I'd strongly advise against using another company's contract especially if you don't fully understand it. These things have a habit of coming back to bite you.


Junior Member
Second on the AIGA contract. It's available for you to pick apart and put together as you choose. Make sure you include information about payment and file transmission, and it probably wouldn't hurt to have a "kill fee" clause for those clients who decide to drop you mid-design. Also, and this is extremely important, put something in your contract about what to do once the project is finished and what the client's responsibility should be. You don't want to do a great design only for them to mess it up with their own "design" and then ask for a refund.
Set up a draft contract with points you feel comfortable with, like "maximum of X revisions", "X hours of consulting time, after that charge X amount". When you're happy with those points, find a lawyer and let him/her read it. It would probably cost a little bit, but it saves a lot of bullcrap when you don't have a legal contract.
Definitely be very careful with contracts and make sure you do use one every time and include everything you are comfortable providing your client with in the details. From experience, I have worked with clients that I did not specify certain things in a contract and some of them will definitely pound the revisions on you over and over to the point where it gets a little ridiculous and even overwhelming. Also sometimes, depending on the clients, they will try to get more out of you even if specifically it's written in the contract that its not provided, so be cautious of them too.
Another thing my business includes in the contract are stages of payments in relation to various stages of the development process. This means if the project gets scrapped by the client, you can still legally get that 'kill-fee' and not left with nothing. Certainly has worked for us on about 3 occasions.