Update: The Shane & Peter Inc. Contract

Published on: October 26, 2009 |Tags: ,,,, | Categories: Articles


2009 Shane & Peter Contract TemplateTwo weeks ago, Peter & I finally stepped out on a long overdue corporate retreat. We have been running in survival mode since my daughter Serenity was born in March. A busy company, little sleep and a smaller (but much wiser) management team caused us to focus upon our clients, but severely limited our time to put thought into the business itself.

Despite all the possibility for disaster, projects went relatively smoothly. We learned a few good lessons and as a result, our terms and conditions grew.  Time to update the old contract.

It Doesn’t Matter What Your Contract Says if They Don’t Understand It.

We may build software and create intricate designs, but we are neither a software company nor a design company. Those are just tools of the trade. We are a service company. The goal is to help our clients be successful. Our business thrives on happy customers and the referrals they generate.

So, when the day comes in which the client understands thing one way and our contract said something else, who is actually correct? Technically our contract is the final word. It is a valuable safety net. But that is its secondary purpose. When it comes down to running a long term healthy business, working with a client is much like being married. It is a long running set of compromises. My wife often says things to me (while I am focused and working) which I never hear. Later when we find ourselves arguing, who is at fault? Is it her fault for thinking I was engaged when I clearly was not? Was it my fault, as I did not take the time to stop what I was doing and giving her my full attention. In one short word: Yes. But does it actually matter whose fault it is? Not really. What is vital is that communication resumes.

The purpose of a contract is to facilitate communication (and be there as a fall back in case it breaks down completely). I am completely indebted to Reid for reminding me that we need to walk our clients through each item in the contract. The greatest value we have ever received from our contract is the discussion surrounding our terms and conditions. It is when the expectations are set, determining how we will work together.

Tricky issues such as response time, hosting up time, getting hacked and more are all things we faced in the last 6 months. Most of them would have easily been resolved with an early conversation and a little documentation for later. We may have had clauses (or not) to address them, but the understanding reached from a discussion is what actually created the sense of trust that a contract should, but rarely if ever creates.

So what changed?

A lot. In some ways, I am a touch sad to have to add this level of bureaucracy to our contract. Not all of these items make it into each contract (hosting for a design gig makes little sense), but forewarned is forearmed.

Response Time

Shane & Peter, Inc. works exclusively with Independent Contractors. The benefit of a flexible team is rapid scalability and a diverse set of services. Due to the nature of the business model, Shane & Peter, Inc. is not set up to support on call services. Within the duration of this Contract Shane & Peter, Inc. will make every effort to reply to inquiries within 48 hours except where The Client has been previously notified of a period of limited availability. Shane & Peter, Inc. will respond in good faith but cannot guarantee any specific action within a given time frame.

Dependencies

In the event that any aspect of this Contract is dependent on a separate third party or the Client’s in house team, the quality and punctuality of the Finished Product(s) may be subject to said party’s ability to meet the required time lines and/or level of quality. Shane & Peter, Inc. is not responsible for any delay or defect caused by separate third party or the Client’s in house teams.

Hosting

Shane & Peter, Inc. does not provide Hosting services beyond temporary internal development environments. The Client is responsible for choosing, paying for, and maintaining any required Hosting solutions and associated services. As a courtesy, Shane & Peter, Inc. may offer suggestions, however, Shane & Peter, Inc. is NOT responsible for down time, poor performance, or loss of data caused by the Hosting Provider. Additionally, Shane & Peter, Inc. is not responsible for any bug caused by changes on the Host after the Acceptance of this Contract, including but not limited to updates to operating system, compile systems, code libraries and languages, or any changes resulting from security violations.

Backups

Shane & Peter, Inc. maintains internal backups of active project code and design files. This backup system is not intended as a solution for The Client, rather as a code archive through the duration of this Contract. While the Shane & Peter, Inc. backup system is fully redundant, it is not guaranteed and does not support any content produced by the Client. The Client is solely responsible for the Backup and Restoration of the Finished Product(s) and any associated data.

Security

Although Shane & Peter, Inc. makes every effort to provide secure Finished Product(s), due to the nature of rapidly advancing technology, Shane & Peter, Inc. can in no way guaranty that the Finished Product(s) will not be subject security breaches. Shane & Peter, Inc. recommends the use of strong passwords and the observance of standard security practices. In order to minimize the chances of security violations, systems should be updated often. The Client is solely responsible for tracking software updates. Any updates during the life of or after the expiration of the Contract can be negotiated as an addendum to this Contract or as an additional Contract.

Review, Expiration or Cancellation

This Contract is valid for the calendar year of in which it was signed, upon which point it expires. Upon expiration, both parties may review and amend the Contract and decide whether or not to renew. This Contract may be terminated by either party with a full 30 day written notice. All payments will be due and all work will be submitted upon the termination of Contract.

Steal What You Like: Caveat emptor

Don’t have a contract of your own or want to steal some juicy bits? Go ahead and borrow ours. OBVIOUSLY, we are NOT liable for whatever mess you get yourself into. Yes, our lawyer went though ours. But her job is to represent our interests, not yours. We just share out of the goodness of our hearts.

In short: Caveat emptor

Download: Shane & Peter Inc Contract Template

Please let us know if you find any errors, have suggestions or things we may have not considered!

44 Responses to Update: The Shane & Peter Inc. Contract

  1. Sara Isenberg says

    Hey Shane and Peter,

    Great post and thanks for sharing your contract! It’s informative to see what you’ve done.

    Sara

    Reply
  2. mike brogan says

    Thanks for posting this. Good stuff.

    Reply
  3. MercuryMinds says

    Thank you so much for sharing the contract document. It really useful. – Dongan

    Reply
  4. Abdulhameid Grandoka says

    Thank you!
    it’s just amazing :)

    Reply
  5. Niklas says

    Thanks for sharing! Great work!

    Reply
  6. Pingback: My Stream » Writing the Perfect Web Design Contract

  7. Pingback: Writing the Perfect Web Design Contract | Shadowtek | Hosting and Design Solutions

  8. Kathryn Hathaway says

    Thanks, good reading. Just picked up the link from the .net newsletter.
    I like the information on backups, hosting, security. I really don’t want to be the 24 hour on-call person for an ongoing site.

    Reply
  9. Pingback: Writing the Perfect Web Design Contract | All of Cyber

  10. Pingback: Writing the Perfect Web Design Contract | Zoodoo

  11. Pingback: Writing the Perfect Web Design Contract | Jetcat

  12. Final Cut Studio says

    Did you ever guess that 2 years later, people would still be benefiting from this post?

    Thanks for a great article and sharing your document. I recently wrote my first one from a different example and their lawyer rewrote the entire thing! There are some great nuggets in here and can’t wait to incorporate some of them!

    Thank you!

    Reply
  13. David says

    Thanks very much for posting this and being so generous in letting others download the template for your contract.

    You may have already noticed but you have a typo in 6.11 Security. Guarantee is misspelt.

    Cheers,
    David

    Reply
  14. Pingback: Writing the Perfect Web Design Contract | Zoombug

  15. Pingback: Writing the Perfect Web Design Contract | Tagtype

  16. Mark H says

    Thanks for providing your contract template along with great summary and emphasis on all parts within it! This will be very useful as I’m moving forward with my web design business.

    Thanks, Mark

    Reply
  17. Pingback: Writing the Perfect Web Design Contract |

  18. Katja says

    Thank you very much for sharing. It is so helpful to get a feel for what can be done. Yours looks very professional, too!

    Reply
  19. DavidH says

    I’m just starting out and can I say………… THANK YOU guys… you are amazing and your template will help me so much get my head into framing a great doc for clients… :) )

    Reply
  20. John Nikolakis says

    Thanks for sharing the contract template.

    I was desperately looking for hours for one.

    Reply
  21. ben says

    thanks for the contract its a real cracker!

    Reply
  22. Caron says

    Thanks for this!
    Something I really need to work on….I’m not taking on another job until I have a contract sorted out.

    Reply
  23. Graham says

    Thank you very much for this contract.

    Reply
  24. Pingback: Sweet Librarian Web Design, Phase 1 « Sweet Librarian

  25. Pingback: Managing a Client Web Design Project From Start to Finish

  26. Levi says

    Nice.. there’s lots of things here I hadn’t thought of.

    One issue, the first sentence of 1.20: “This Contract is valid for the calendar year of in which it was signed, upon which point it expires.”

    Firstly, “year of in which” I suppose should be “year in which”. But secondly, doesn’t that mean that all your contracts expire on 31 December? So… if you embark on a project on 1 Dec with a 2 month timeframe, you need the client to sign a new contract on 1 Jan?

    Reply
    • Levi Wheatcroft says

      oh and 1st sentence of 1.16: it’s guarantee not guaranty

      Reply
  27. Sara says

    You have an error in one area of your contract –

    You wrote:
    “Shane & Peter, Inc. can in no way guaranty that the Finished Product(s) will not be subject security breaches”

    Should be:
    “Shane & Peter, Inc. can in no way guaranty that the Finished Product(s) will not be subject to security breaches”

    You wrote:
    “This Contract is valid for the calendar year of in which it was signed, upon which point it expires.”

    Should be changed:
    This should be a time period. What if you sign a contract in December and the work will spill into the next year?

    Reply
  28. Shulamit says

    I would *love* to download your contract template. But the link is not working right. I hope you will get it up and running again! Thanks!!

    Reply
  29. Samantha says

    Thanks for sharing. I caught you at WordCamp Miami. You gave the best presentation!

    Reply
  30. Brad says

    Thanks for sharing the contract doc, for new freelancers these are very handy.

    Reply
  31. Pingback: 10 Freelance Web Design Contract Templates and Samples

  32. Lee Johnson says

    Great post and a big thank you for sharing your contract.

    One query. You wrote: “This Contract is valid for the calendar year of in which it was signed, upon which point it expires. ”

    Should this be: “This Contract is valid for one calendar year from which it was signed, upon which point it expires.”

    This way you could change the time frame depending on what you want to offer.

    Reply
  33. Daniel says

    Thanks for sharing. This is very useful!!

    Reply
  34. Michael says

    Thanks guys! I have been looking for a good template for a while. Found you from tutsplus.

    Cheers

    Reply
  35. Heathyr Chan says

    Thank you so much! This is really great. I did find a few typos though. Let me know if you haven’t corrected them already!

    Reply
  36. Bonnie Kipatrick says

    Thanks for providing this! Great contract!

    Reply
  37. Tammy Sanderson says

    Thank you!!!! I am grateful you share your awesomeness! I used your contract and it makes me sleep a whole lot better.

    Reply
  38. Chris sawyer says

    As a new starter this has come in very handy. Thank you!

    Reply
  39. michael says

    Cheers guys, very generous of you to share your contract with us lazy lot….

    Reply
  40. John Mike says

    Very solid contract, very useful in the design business.

    Reply
  41. Pingback: 10 Free Contract Templates for Web Designers | Sharing Interesting Stuff, Updates News & Free Tips

  42. Pingback: 10 Free Contract Templates for Web Designers | Hihid News

  43. Pingback: 10 Free Contract Templates for Web Designers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>