drawing up contracts

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Hi there,

I was wondering if anyone (especially freelancers) might share their experience of drawing up contracts or know of where to get info on drawing up contracts? Of course I know things are going to vary depending on the business and the nature of the work, but in general terms I was thinking of issues such as:

  • Do people use templates?
  • Is payment included in the contract and if so how?
  • What is the process for agreeing the contractual details with the client?
  • Is there any need to see a solicitor at any point?

When I started off designing websites and dabbling in PPC, SEO and social media I was really just doing it as a sideline, but now things are picking up and I really need to get more of a grasp of the business end of things.


New Member
I've tried this so many times with different solicitors. It just gets too complicated. So here's what I've done, based on a loose understanding of Irish contracts

I just set down some really, really basic ideas and developed a contract which is tied to a proposal (which lists the work to be done)

1. Outline both parties (Director of XXXX Ltd at YYY street, Co. Vendor, Republic of Service)
2. I made sure that work being carried out on behalf of a client was at the instruction of the client
3. That the client assumes ALL liability
4. That I am not responsible for ANYTHING (read the Microsoft EULA - its great :) )
5. That the payments are in the contract
6. I outline what I am doing, how often I have to do what and what the contract is

Then I got a solicitor to rewrite it and we settled on 12 points and thats it. They found some more areas of "exposure" and we nailed that.

Basically, if a client misses a payment, regardless of events, they are in breach of contract.

Worth noting for all web developers: if a client starts withholding payment because of x, y, z (well first of all avoid these and fire them when necessary) - they are actually obliged to pay off the contract and then dispute it. To arrive in court disputing it and having not paid it is often seen as a disadvantage - but circumstances differ, just ssaying - that may be of help to someone.

Too many SME types try to act like Consumers and with consumer protection (which doesn't apply). Someone on IWF tried to argue once that they were a "consumer" even though they were a business. The courts are quite clear on this (although it becomes very grey thereafter). Two businesses have to have a contract - and the relationship is judged on that - even if its verbal.

Hope that helps! :)
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