Hello there, everybody!
Today we’re releasing our contract that we use here at Studio Ace of Spade. From those that have seen it, we’ve received a lot of compliments on it. It’s simple, straight to the point, and covers everything that designers and web workers commonly run into during projects. We figured that it was about time for us to start giving back to the community, and this is one of the first ways that we can.
Note: This contract is free to use and modify by anyone – companies, freelancers, etc…Also, I feel a bit ridiculous having to state this, but we maintain no legal obligation to provide support or a warranty, and are not responsible for any legal ramifications stemming from your, or anyone’s use of this contract.
With that said:
An explanation of the Contract Terms
As we’re releasing this, we figure that it’s probably a good idea to go over a few of the points with you so that you know exactly what this contract is stating as well as why it’s important to use one.
Payment for work completed
The first elements that the contract covers relates to payment. This tends to be a big hiccup in a lot of projects when not addressed directly and upfront. At Studio Ace of Spade, we believe that honesty is fundamental to business processes. That’s why we lay out the terms in honest, simple, and fair ways. Here’s what the payment terms cover in this contract:
- Payment is due upon receipt of an invoice unless the invoice says otherwise. This is to ensure that payment will still be made if we forget to put terms of payment on our invoices.
- Late fees begin at 31 days, and kick in again at 61 days. The contract does not state the amount so that it’s possible for us to have a little flexibility.
- By not paying, the client is subject to legal action.
- Payment is due for work completed, regardless of whether or not the project is cancelled or picked up.
Keeping the project running smoothly
At Studio Ace of Spade, we’re sticklers for efficiency. We also like to keep an open atmosphere about timelines for projects, but we always provide our clients with deadlines. It keeps both of us accountable for staying up to date with the project, and gives the client leverage if we don’t uphold our end of the bargain. We should probably mention that this contract gives the client as much power as we have. Here’s what this section covers:
- All parties must abide by the set timeline.
- Email correspondence constitutes “in writing” for all purposes of the contract.
- Files and products do not have to be turned over until full payment is made, unless otherwise changed in writing.
- If the client holds up the project, the timeline can be changed.
- Clients will be billed for missing meetings and not cancelling in advanced. As an aside, we’ve had zero missed meetings since instituting this policy.
Copyrights – the fun stuff
This is the big issue that always gets brought up. “Who owns what?” is a question we all too commonly hear. So, in simple terms, we’d like to talk about what our copyright terms are, and the reasons that they’re in place.
Custom code, photographs, and non-brand design elements are property of Studio Ace of Spade. This is the line that people most frequently have questions about. However, the idea behind it is simple. For example, if we build a custom website for a client, they own the license to use it on any singular domain they own. But, if the client would like to sell the code/design, they must get written permission from us. It essentially the same process as one would use if dealing with an architect – if the architect creates blueprints for a house you are building, you are not allowed to resell them to anyone else. The other thing is, if we’re taking photographs for a project, the client can use them wherever – we just don’t want to see them up for sale as stock photography.
Brands and logos are property of the client. Basically, if we create an identity for the client, they have full ownership of the brand. For this reason, we always ask our clients for permission to use their logo in our portfolio, as well as anywhere else on the web.
Wrapping it up
So, as you can see, we keep our contract fairly open. It covers the necessary ‘uglies’ of every project while still providing flexibility to both the client and ourselves. By signing a contract, it allows us deal with some of the uncomfortable issues upfront, and since we’ve started using this contract, we haven’t had a single issue with payment, timelines, copyright, or meetings.
Hopefully you’ll find it as useful as it has been for us.