Sample contract

Every web or consulting project is different and the most effective way to assure that both of our expectations are met is to clearly define our relationship with a written agreement.

The contract below, paired with your Project Plan, will cover all aspects of the work that will be done, and outline the responsibilities each of us has during our engagement.

Between Sandra Walsh /

And [client name]


I will always do my best to fulfill your needs and meet your expectations, but it’s important to have things written down so that we both know what’s what, who should do what and when, and what will happen if something goes wrong. You won’t find any complicated legal terms or long passages of unreadable text in this contract. I have no desire to trick you into signing something that you might later regret. What I do want is what’s best for both parties, now and in the future.

So in short;

You customer name, located at customer address (“You”) are hiring me – Sandra Walsh / (“me” or”my”) to:

Design and develop a WordPress web site

  • This project will be billed on a per-hour basis at the agreed to rate of $## per hour
  • The details of how we will build your site will be outlined in your Project Plan.

Of course, it’s a little more complicated, but we’ll get to that.

What do both parties agree to?

You: You have the authority to enter into this contract on behalf of yourself, your company or your organization. You will give me the assets and information I tell you I will need from you in order to complete your project. You will do this when I ask and provide it in the formats I ask for. You will review my work, and provide feedback and approval in a timely manner. Deadlines work two ways, so you’ll also be bound by dates we set together. You also agree to stick to the payment schedule set out at the end of this contract.

Me: I have the experience and ability to do everything I have agreed with you and I will do it all in a professional and timely manner. I will endeavor to meet every deadline that’s set and on top of that, I will maintain the confidentiality of everything you give me.

Getting down to the nitty-gritty


I create websites with designs and flexible layouts that adapt to the capabilities of many devices and screen sizes. I create designs directly and iteratively in WordPress and use predominantly HTML and CSS. This saves us both time (and keeps costs down) as I do not create mock-ups in another tool as a static visual. I may use visuals to indicate a creative direction (such as colours and typography.)

You will be able to see my work as I make it, so you will have plenty of opportunities to review my work and provide feedback. We can share a Dropbox or Google Drive folder and we will have regular, possibly daily contact.

If, at any stage, you change your mind about what you want to be delivered and are not happy with the direction my work is taking you will pay me in full for the time I have spent working with you until that point and we will terminate this contract.

Text content

Unless agreed to in in your Project Plan, I am not responsible for inputting text or images into your WordPress content management system or creating every page on your website. I work with professional copywriting and editing associates, so if you’d like me to create new content or input content for you, I can provide a separate estimate for that.

Graphics and photographs

You should supply graphic files in an editable, vector digital format. You should supply photographs in a high-resolution digital format. If you choose to buy stock photographs, I can suggest stock libraries. If you’d like me to search for photographs for you, we will include this task in your project plan, or I can provide a separate estimate for that.

Recurring Costs for tools and services

In order to provide certain advanced features and functions for your website, we may have agreed to purchase premium third-party services and/or plugins. Some of these tools and services may have a recurring fee in order to provide you continued access to the service, access to the latest versions of plugins, as well as technical support. Failure to maintain these accounts in good standing could result in loss of functionality, or your site going down all together.

You understand and agree that you will be responsible for paying the recurring payments associated with these tools and services, as well as the fees associated with your hosting and domain name services.

Technical support

I am not a website hosting company so I do not offer support for website hosting, email or other services relating to hosting other than the initial set-up. If you do not already have professional hosting, I can set up an account for you at one of my preferred hosting providers.

Once your site is complete and you have signed off on our project, the updates to, and management of your website and related hosting plan will be up to you unless you have purchased a site maintenance package. You may also contact me as needed and continue to work with me on an hourly basis.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

I do not guarantee improvements to your website’s search engine ranking, but the web pages that I develop will include an SEO feature that you can manage, and these pages are accessible to search engines

Changes and revisions

I do not want to limit your ability to change your mind. The estimate provided at the beginning of this agreement is based on the number of hours that I estimate I will need to accomplish everything you’ve told me you want to achieve.

However, as your project progresses, you might want to add to or change the specifics of what we have laid out in your Project Plan. If you want to change your mind or add anything new, that won’t be a problem. Since we have agreed that I will work for you on a per-hour basis, you are welcome to request any changes or additions as you require them with the understanding that the total hours estimated for your project may change.

Tracking billable time spent on your project

I use the Paymo app * as my project tracking and invoicing tool. Paymo includes a project timer, so each time I sit down to work on your project the timer goes on. If I take a break, the timer is stopped. If I am trying to implement a feature that I am not familiar with, the timer is stopped while I do my research.

Billed tasks include:

  • Time spent working directly on your site
  • Time spent in meetings, on the phone, and writing emails to you
  • Time spent training or creating “How To” documents
  • Travel time billed at a rate of $35/hour. Travel time covers my on-road time as well as my expenses for gas and parking

Once we get started on your project, I will send you a link to a real-time report that details all the tasks I am working on, the time I have spent on each, and the running costs to date. You can access this report any time to see what I have been working on for you. Invoices are sent electronically as well, and an associated task list is linked to each invoice. I will invoice you at the end of each month.

Legal stuff

I will carry out my work in accordance with good industry practice and at the standard expected from a suitably qualified person with relevant experience.

That said, I can’t guarantee that my work will be error-free and so I can’t be liable to you or any third-party for damages, including lost profits, lost savings or other incidental, consequential or special damages, even if you’ve advised me of them.

Your liability to me will also be limited to the amount of fees payable under this contract and you won’t be liable to me or any third-party for damages, including lost profits, lost savings or other incidental, consequential or special damages, even if I have advised you of them.

Finally, if any provision of this contract shall be unlawful, void, or for any reason unenforceable, then that provision shall be deemed severable from this contract and shall not affect the validity and enforceability of any remaining provisions.

Intellectual property rights

Just to be clear, “Intellectual property rights” means all patents, rights to inventions, copyright (including rights in software) and related rights, trademarks, service marks, get up and trade names, internet domain names, rights to goodwill or to sue for passing off, rights in designs, database rights, rights in confidential information (including know-how) and any other intellectual property rights, in each case whether registered or unregistered and including all applications (or rights to apply) for, and renewals or extensions of, such rights and all similar or equivalent rights or forms of protection which subsist or shall subsist now or in the future in any part of the world.

First, you guarantee that all elements of text, images or other artwork that you provide me are either owned by you or that you have permission to use them. When you provide text, images or other artwork to me, you agree to protect me from any claim by a third party that I am using their intellectual property.

I guarantee that all elements of the work that I deliver to you are either owned by me or that I have obtained permission to provide them to you. When I provide text, images or other artwork to you, I agree to protect you from any claim by a third party that you’re using their intellectual property. Provided you’ve paid for the work and that this contract hasn’t been terminated, I will assign all intellectual property rights to you as follows:

You’ll own the website I design for you plus the visual elements that I create for it. I will give you source files and finished files and you should keep them somewhere safe as I am not required to keep a copy. You own all intellectual property rights of text, images, site specification and data you provided unless someone else owns them.

I will own any intellectual property rights I have developed prior to, or developed separately from this project and not paid for by you. I will own the unique combination of these elements that constitutes a complete design and I will license its use to you, exclusively and in perpetuity for this project only, unless we agree otherwise.

Displaying my work

I love to show off my work, so I reserve the right to display your completed website project on my portfolio and in articles on websites, in magazine articles and in books. If you do not wish me to display your project(s), let me know and we can include that in our agreement.

Payment schedule

I am sure you understand how important it is as a small business that you pay the invoices that I send you promptly. As I am also sure you’ll want to stay friends, you agree to stick tight to the following payment schedule. (See the timeline and payments page for details of how our project will progress.

  • Deposit to start: Once I have received your email confirmation indicating that you wish to move ahead with your Project Plan, I will send you an invoice requesting a deposit equal to 30% of the estimated hours at the agreed upon hourly rate. A deposit indicates your commitment to your project and allows me to move forward with confidence. Once your deposit is received, we are ready to start building your site!
  • Subsequent billing: At the end of each calendar month, I will generate an invoice from your Paymo timesheet and include any out-of-pocket expenses I might have incurred for your project on items such as premium plugins, hosting, domain name purchases, etc.
    • Your first invoice will include a credit against your deposit for time spent, but any out-of-pocket expenses will be invoiced in full.
    • If costs for time spent in the first month are less that your deposit amount, a credit against your deposit will be included in subsequent invoices until costs for time spent exceeds your deposit amount.

Payment details

    • Invoices are issued electronically. You will receive a link to your invoice by email
    • My payment terms are 21 days from the date of invoice.
    • You will be invoiced at the end of each calendar month, and/or at the end of the project
    • You may pay by
      • Email transfer. This is the preferred payment method.
      • PayPal
      • Cheque payable to Sandra Walsh
    • Canadian clients are billed in Canadian dollars
    • Non-Canadian clients are billed in US dollars
    • Payments will be made in the currency indicated in your invoice.
    • I reserve the right to charge interest on all overdue debts at the rate of 2% per month or part of a month.

But where’s all the horrible small print?

Just like a parking ticket, neither of us can transfer this contract to anyone else without the other’s permission.

We both agree that we’ll adhere to all relevant laws and regulations in relation to our activities under this contract and not cause the other to breach any relevant laws or regulations.

This contract stays in place and does not need to be renewed. If for some reason one part of this contract becomes invalid or unenforceable, the remaining parts of it remain in place.

The dotted line

Signed by and on behalf of Sandra Walsh / ……………………………….

Signed by and on behalf of [customer name] ……………………………….

Date ……………………………….

Everyone should sign above and keep a copy for their records.


* This link is an affiliate link. When I share a link to a product that I really like and you choose to purchase that product from my link, I might earn a small commission. I only do this for products that I use myself and believe would be of benefit to my clients.

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