another_designer — 2012-08-29T10:04:53-04:00 — #1
I'm curious as to how many people work on design projects without a contract?
guido2004 — 2012-08-29T10:08:01-04:00 — #2
No I don't.
Why do you want to know? Do YOU work without a contract? And why?
another_designer — 2012-08-29T11:00:52-04:00 — #3
I have always worked with a contract. I know of one designer who claims she never worked with a contact and always got paid.
However, I am currently doing work for my wife's employer and am not using a contract. I find most contracts so complicated, at least the ones I find online. I think I will just draft up my own one. An easy one should be just as good as a complicated one in court as long as I have all the bases covered.
mikl — 2012-08-29T11:56:13-04:00 — #4
Are you referring to a contract for work done or service performed, such as when a website designer does work for a client?
If so, be aware that, in most jurisdications, a contract will be deemed to exist, even if it's not expressly stated in writing. So, if you say to your client: "I can do your website for X", and he replies: "Fine, go ahead", then that's your contract.
It's really no different from going into a shop and saying "I want to buy a can of beans" and the guy behind the counter saying "Here you are". A contract will automically exist for the purchase of the beans.
Of course, in these cases, you are not setting out any specific terms for contract, other than perhaps the price and the general scope of the work. So, if it came to a dispute, you would have to rely on what a reasonable person would expect the terms to be for a contract of that type. If, for example, it's normal in your country for the client to be given all intellectual property rights for a website they commission, then they will have that right, unless you specifically agree otherwise.
I'm not saying yo can get by without a written contract. I'm just saying that you can't argue that no contract exists, just because it's not in writing.
tangobit4 — 2012-08-31T06:20:54-04:00 — #5
its a easy way to do your work without any contract because you can jump from your job anytime without any boundations.
guido2004 — 2012-08-31T06:54:00-04:00 — #6
Really? No duties? No rights either then I guess? What do you do if the client doesn't pay you?
sogo7 — 2012-08-31T15:13:54-04:00 — #7
Clients screwing over newbie designers is common tale of woe across many forums largely because the legal side of things is simply not mentioned at all in many training courses or tutorials.
It is important to remember that were no physical contract exists and all you have is the verbal agreement over the phone or email then the Distance Selling Regulations come into play in the UK, other Countries will have their own Laws. In short the client has a cooling off period and can pull the plug without warning up to seven days after they told you to go ahead.
To negate this period of uncertainty I use a contract that asks for a third of the quoted price as a non-refundable payment before any work starts. This weeds out the time-wasters plus I can afford to eat and pay the bills while building the site.
Of course even with a contract in place getting paid in full upon completion is often no simple matter but that is something for another thread.
datadale — 2012-08-31T15:41:02-04:00 — #8
exactly. I prefer having contacts so I protect myself and the other person. The good thing about not having a contract is that you can easily get out of the project and not be committed to something if in the end you don't like it. However, it's just a safe procedure to take should anything go wrong.
dojo — 2012-08-31T15:46:09-04:00 — #9
I usually work without a contract on Elance (which handles my payments and client work, so I don't have the 'chance' to get scammed. The private clients I have pay before each stage in our web design process (mockup design, theme coding, theme release), so I don't have any problems.
mikl — 2012-09-01T04:29:59-04:00 — #10
That's not quite right.
The Distance Selling Regulations only apply where the customer is a consumer. It has no effect on sales to businesses. So, unless you are selling your services to a private individual, the cooling-off period does not apply.
Also, there's a clause that says that the right to cancel does not apply to "customised products". It could be argued that a bespoke website (for example) is a customised product.
By the way, the regulations are based on an EU directive, and so are EU-wide.
jdizm — 2012-09-01T04:59:15-04:00 — #11
It depends on the relationship with the client, these days with services like echosign a digitally signed contract is pretty easy and quick
wittyk — 2012-09-01T16:19:18-04:00 — #12
I agree, although you can work without a contract with some clients contract serves as your security and legal basis of work. It also makes you and your client's work experience strong as it is bond by the contract (rules and etc).
felgall — 2012-09-02T17:56:05-04:00 — #13
Which part of this is being left out by those who are working without a contract? I can't imagine that anyone would start work without the "Fine, go ahead" part of the verbal contract and you are not going to get that part of the contract without the "I can do your website for X" part.
techmichelle — 2012-09-03T20:22:39-04:00 — #14
Found it interesting that most everyones first thought was payment, my first thought was copyright liability. The main part of my contract is that if one of my clients provides me or adds any copyrighted item I am not held responsible. The number of times I have caught clients not reading fine print, not free for commercial use, makes me really happy that paragraph is in my contract.
eddi_weed — 2012-09-04T02:44:59-04:00 — #15
i think is more easy to work without a contract
guido2004 — 2012-09-04T05:44:25-04:00 — #16
lieto — 2012-09-04T07:17:57-04:00 — #17
I would only demand written contract in case i work for a new client which is less then 5% of my total projects these days.
Dont feel like going to court with the contract anyway, its easier to just let the money go and do something else if the project wasnt huge. If it was huge however its likely that client payed on weekly basis so its not a huge loss regardless.
I mean, if he doesnt pay he wont get to use the design and if he doesnt want the design that badly i think i can handle not getting the money. It happened once or twice in the past 5 years i think and i could tell its going that way from the very first time i spoke to client so it wasnt a surprise even.
mikl — 2012-09-04T12:43:50-04:00 — #18
I take your point, but it's not just a question of going to court. Often, you can use the contract to clarify the way you work with the client, perhaps in a friendly discussion. For example, if there is an issue with copyright, you can point out to them that the contract says ... whatever it says. This doesn't have to be a dispute. In fact, one of the main aims of a clearly-written contract is to help avoid disputes.
lieto — 2012-09-04T12:54:39-04:00 — #19
You are probably right, i guess i can say that i use project brief as a contract. Everything that is relevant is usually stated there at least.
system — 2012-09-04T13:07:38-04:00 — #20
no i always work with a contract.
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