I want to start an online business selling my web design services and taking orders online. The prices will be fixed with 3 or 4 different packages to choose form.
Eg: $499, $799, $999 packages.
Can I use a generic, electronic 'Agree to Terms' type on contract prior to submitting order form?
I would be requesting a fifty percent deposit prior to starting work and the final fifty percent at the time of delivering the client approved design.
Pesonally, I wouldn't do that, for a couple of reasons.
First, web design is a professional service, based on a relationship between supplier and client. Any contract for your services should be specific to the client, and presented in a way that engages the client - for example, if they are unhappy with one of the terms, they should have the opportunity to discuss it with you and possibly get it amended. A "tick this box if you agree" contract is fine if you are selling a stanard off-the-shelf product, but not for this kind of professional service.
Second, it's not reasonable to ask someone to agree to a contract before they know more about you, and before they are ready to entrust their work to you.
I would also resist charging a deposit up front. It's a bit like adding "I don't trust you" to your communications. But practices vary in different industries and countries, so do whatever you feel is normal in your case. I would only say that, if I went to an accountant or lawyer for advice, I would be a bit miffed if they refused to speak to me unless I pay half the estimated fee in advance.
As you said, the relationship with your customers is what defines what you can't or can do... but I do encourage for a deposit up front... it may send the wrong message if you don't give any explanation but in my very humble experience, it saves you from customers that delay forever and ever and ever...because they didn't pay anything and, after all, it didn't hurt their pockets... and since they really don't know how their businesses will be affected, they couldn't care less about the whole thing once the exciment of the first month has passed.
It also saves you from those that leave and give no signal of existance once you've done your job and never pay. At least, you got something from them! :lol:
50% sounds harsh. I do 35% at start, 35% at the end, 30% one month after the delivery, so they can test the site properly
I would never suggest using a generic form without very thoroughly analyzing whether it meets your own needs . It is usually a good idea to at least have an attorney review your basic agreement, but if you are starting on a shoestring and feel like you can't afford even an hour or two of a lawyer's time to look over the agreement, at least do yourself a favor and look at a variety of similar agreements. That will tell you what is different between various agreements and give you some idea of the particular areas that you should think about.
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