CONTRACTS…OMG. Do they make your heart beat faster? Maybe you wrote yours yourself, and that makes you nervous. Or, maybe your contract is so confusing that you yourself don’t even understand what you’re saying or how to enforce it if needed. Or, the worst… maybe you don’t have a contract at all, and you’re just kinda hoping for the best. Wherever you are — no shame. Seriously. But, I can tell you you need a contract that you understand, is comprehensive enough to protect you, and that is custom to your design business needs.
In this blog post, I’m sharing two website designer contract clauses in particular that you need to have that are very specific to your design business. These are ones you might not think about until it’s “too late” and aren’t ones you see mentioned every day. And even more specifically, these clauses relate to helping you make more money as a designer, which we all want, right?
Please note: I am not a lawyer and cannot give legal advice or be held liable for any advice given. The contracts that contain these 2 clauses I’m sharing are drafted by an attorney for my course, so you can get exactly what to say as drafted by an attorney when you join Booked Out Designer. I’m not giving exact legal language to use in this blog post (because again, not a lawyer). This is just generally what should be included, and I recommend getting the contract inside of Booked Out Designer to use these clauses in an enforceable way.
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1. Requiring Clients to Keep Their Site Credit
This only applies to a website designer contract and it is one of the clauses included in the exclusive contract found in Booked Out Designer. You likely won't find this in many contract templates you can buy for designers. As website designers, we should be putting a site credit on the footer of your clients site. You can link this text directly to your site or a client site page that talks about your services, maybe offering an affiliate discount. Bottom line, it is vital for you to have a site credit as a website designer.
It is an amazing form of marketing. When someone likes your client's site and wants a new website, they'll click on the site credit link and find you. Sometimes designers think we don't have to do this if our client is not business to business. However, even B2C businesses have individuals who run businesses going to their site, loving it, and wanting to know who designed it.
In my own business, I still get leads from custom sites I designed years ago because of site credits. I appreciate those leads and those clients keeping the site credit up since it still is the design I made for them.
I have a requirement in my contract requiring them to do so as long as the design is the one I created. There are nuances to doing this that I teach inside Booked Out Designer. The clause you need will tell the client that they have to keep the site credit up as long as the site is a version you designed. (Exact language is in the contract in Booked Out Designer.)
A quick story to point out WHY you need this clause
Early on in my business, before I had this clause in my contract, or even had a contract at all, I worked with a client who sold essential oils and had hired me to design her website. At one point in the process, I sent her a preview of her homepage as I was working on it, and she noticed the credit in the footer, which freaked her out. She wanted to remove it, and I was confused as to why. She told me she wanted to offer website design one day and didn't want to recommend me.
Clients can have any number of reasons not to want your site credit in the footer. It is important however that not having your site credit should cost extra because it truly is a lost marketing opportunity. For example, let's say you design a site for someone, and you were to just book two clients because of that credit, and you charge $6,000 a project; that is $12,000 loss. That should increase the cost of the design this client bought because you're factoring in that loss. In the contract you get in Booked Out Designer, there is a part in this clause around how much additionally it costs to remove the site credit.
2. The Rights to Claim Work Clause.
This clause applies to brand designers, website designers, graphic designers, really any kind of designer. I call this clause ‘the right to claim work. ' This means that you can share about the project in any way you want. For example, have you ever been working on a project and wondering if you could share a logo sketch or color palette you created? Maybe you want to enter your client project into a design contest or make a Reel with the work in progress design?
This clause basically gives you the ability to share about the project work you're doing, during and after the project, freely. It should state that you can share about the project on social media, enter into design contests, put it on Pinterest, on your blog, and anywhere else you want. Give your clients notice that they have to tell you if any part of the project needs to remain confidential.
There are still times to check in with the client and make sure they're ok with you using a design created for them, but it is important to have this in your contract. It is especially nice to share when it's a work in progress because it is great natural marketing as a designer. Specifically, you could take your Instagram followers behind the scenes of a VIP day. They could vote on what designs they prefer and feel genuinely involved and engaged in the process. You're showing potential clients what it might feel like to be a client, which makes this right-to-claim work clause so important.
October 18, 2022
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