Do I need a contract? How important is the contract?
Absolutely! Remember - the contract is the only weapon to defend your own interests in terms of the project being executed for you! A serious and self-respecting company feels obliged to keep a proper formulation of contractual terms with its customers in strict compliance to the agreed. By the comprehensive descriptions settled in the contract you can judge how seriously your future contractor perceives itself on the market. On the other hand, contractors who start a project with a clear sense of impossibility to comply with the agreed price and / or time will do everything possible to assure you that in this case you don’t need a contract by stating that the "honest word." is enough binding.
"The devil is in the details ..."
The second very important element is the content of the contract. Do not underestimate the details - they describe every aspect of the work you pay for and the expected results. Read the contract carefully and make sure that it contains all the details of the technical and price quotation, or that the later are inseparable and integral part of it. Do not be complacent - the records of the courts are full of complaints non proceeded futher , because referring to contracts signed by customers- thinking to be ‘law experts’, because they have followed "quasi-legal" standard templates! It is not a big deal to check the website of the Commercial Register before you get to sign a contract to obtain a reference for the owners and the history of the company, with which you plan to establish relations. Furthermore by searching for information online about him / them you will find positive / negative feedback and this will bring you the desired results in not much time.
Shortly - yes! In a brief form I will explore the main actions to be performed by You and by the Contractor upon signing the contract for IT service:
- Make sure that the quotation and the contract are signed and stamped by the same company. If it doesn’t work so, ask to know why is this way.
- Ask that the technical and the price quotations are attached as an integral part of the contract.
- Once again make sure that all the components of your future software/web-site are duly listed.
- Negotiate the ownership rights on the project domain and hosting if you don’t have any when it starts .
You may require licenses for the software to be used by the contractor who will develop your project, as well as copyright on photographs , fonts etc., and any other issue subject of licensing.
- If the contractor will work with open source software, it is appropriate to mention it in the contract. Note that in case you neglect this part, you will be taken responsible for all materials and tools used for the development of your project that are subject to copyright law, or subject to licensing.
- Read carefully the part where the timelines for the completion of the work stages are estimated. Require that each completed stage is covered with a hand over certificate of acceptance for the activities performed.
- Check the due dates for payments, if they are not convenient for you – ask these to be changed.
- The above is valid for the penalties – treat and handle this part the same way.
- Pay attention to the time terms of warranty and after-warantee support services.
- Find out whether the methods for calculating additional works and adjustments to the project are formulated. If during the execution of the project a need for change occurs, describe it by annex to the contract, together with the price and terms for it.
- If you have agreed that the contractor should transfer to you the rights to your project, request this to happen after its completion and before the final payment is done. The Contractor should provide you with the entire project documentation in digital format.
- The Contractor should indicate the location and the size of its logo, to be available on your web-site / software. You may refuse to have its logo there presented, but be aware then it will cost you a higher price.
- The Contractor may require from you to use the product only on the mentioned domain. Do not worry – he only aims to prevent his work from re-sale to third parties.
- The Contractor will certainly require from you to answer always to his attempts to communicate with you in a short time. It is also good to describe these terms in the project.
In any case, require every aspect of your total work to be described in detail in the contract - this is the way for you to keep good relations in any situation in process of project work. Its proper description and adequate expectations are the way that all possible problems can be foreseen and promptly resolved, which will lead to fruitful cooperation and satisfaction of the work done.
The Eterra Systems Ltd. Team wishes you success with your project!