Any respectable Web Design Company is going to ask to you to sign a contract before they start working on your project. Should you just put your signature on it and let them get started, ignoring the fine print? That’s one option. But a smart business owner knows better than to sign a contract without reading it and (more important) understanding all the legal mumbo jumbo. So let’s look at a few important things which you should know before you sign a contract with a Web Design Company.
#1: The Right to Complete Outsourced Work
Most Web Design Companies will put a disclaimer about “reserving the right to outsource work to 3rd parties in order to complete the project.” Is this something you should be afraid of? That depends on the work you’re having done. The person writing your website’s content and the person building your off page SEO (back links etc) should not be working overseas in a non-English speaking country. Overseas providers, especially those in the Middle East and in Asia, are great choices for programming and coding. But many of them aren’t as well-educated or skilled about online marketing.
If you see something on your webs design company’s contract about outsourcing work to third party providers, ask them what kind of work they’ll be outsourced and to where. It’s important that you insist on having your content done by someone in an English speaking country. Same with the SEO. However, when it comes to coding and some of the design work, a Web Design Company who outsources to overseas providers can save you a lot of money. Of course, you could always hire someone from overseas in the first place and cut out the middle man. Why not? Because you could burn up a lot of time doing this.
Many business owners have tried this and have found it a nightmare to communicate complicated coding and design concepts to overseas providers. But hiring a state side company to manage your web design project gives you some of the advantage of a lower rate, with none of the headaches which would come from working directly with low budget providers.
#2: Ownership of Images
This is a really big deal when it comes to hiring a Web Design Company. Some Web Design Companies use images from the internet to create the design of your website. On top of this, not all of them live in places where the copyright laws are as strict as they are in the US. Many business owners have hired such providers and ended up getting sued for having a copyrighted image on their website. The settlements in such lawsuits can be several hundred of even several thousand dollars.
As for the provider who designed your site using the protected image, good luck trying to collect losses from them. If they live in a country where the court system doesn’t allow you to pursue legal action, you’ll end up hundreds or even thousands in the hole. So before you sign a contract with a Web Design Company, make sure you’re clear on their practices for image use and creation.
#3: Payment Terms and Completion Dates
One of the most challenging things about hiring a Web Design Company is getting them to deliver on deadlines. Many programmers and designers have a relaxed attitude about meeting deadlines and will sometimes quote an early deadline, just to win a job. Later on, you find out that the deadline was nothing more than a theory. This can be frustrating if you’re making payments on time and waiting for days or weeks for milestones to be completed. That said, be sure there’s something written into your Web Design contract about delivery times and payment times.
Don’t ever agree to pay by a specific date unless the provider is also willing to agree to deliver by a specific date. Make sure you have the option of withholding payments on your project if the provider gets behind on their responsibilities. If you manage your relationship with a Web Design Company well from the beginning, there will be much less room for drama later on and you’ll have a much better chance of getting what you want within reasonable time frame.
If you have more questions about what to expect when hiring a Web Design Company, we’d like to help, even if you don’t hire us. Just contact MSI and complete this web design quote form. Good luck, and we hope you make a smart hiring decision.