Service Contract

My Usual Service Contract

Updated: January 2020

Between Johann Swanepoel, freelance web developer trading as Swan Design

And [customer name]


I’ll always do my best to fulfil 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. In this contract you won’t find any complicated legal terms or long passages of unreadable text. I have no desire to trick you into agreeing to something that you might later regret. What we 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 us, Swan Design (“I, Me, We or Us”) to:

  • Design and develop a web site, and, or
  • Design a digital product, such as a logo, business card or brochure

For the estimated total price of [total] as outlined in our previous correspondence / quote / estimate / invoice.

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 organisation. You’ll give us the assets and information we tell you we need to complete the project. You’ll do this when we ask and provide it in the formats we ask for. You’ll review our work, provide feedback and approval in a timely manner too. 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: We have the experience and ability to do everything we’ve agreed with you and we’ll do it all in a professional and timely manner. We’ll endeavour to meet every deadline that is set and on top of that we’ll maintain the confidentiality of everything you give us.

Design Services

You can hire me for website development, digital design which includes vector logo design, brochures, company reports, flyers, banners, social media headers, online advertising banners, business cards and printing.

You’ll have plenty of opportunities to review the work and provide feedback. I’ll either share a Dropbox, Google Drive folder, Github repository or development site with you and we’ll have regular contact by either phone or Skype.

If, at any stage, you change your mind about what you want delivered or aren’t happy with the direction our work is taking, you’ll pay me in full for the time I’ve spent working until that point and may terminate this contract.


My quotation or estimate will include the calculated time for me to complete the job. If for some reason additional work or changes are required, an additional hourly (or in some instances, a daily rate) rate will apply.  During normal business hours this is usually R350.00 for webwork and digital design work.

Text content

Unless agreed separately, we are not responsible for inputting text or images into your content management system or creating content for every page on your website. Copywriting and editing services is a separate service , so if you’d like us to create new content or input content for you, we’ll provide an additional estimate.

Graphics and photographs

You should supply photographs in a high resolution digital format. You should supply graphic files in an editable, vector digital format. If you choose to make use of generic stock photographs, we can suggest stock libraries or if you’d like us to search for specific photographs for you, we can provide and purchase these images as a separate line item on your estimate.


You contract me to develop a website for you because you’ve seen some of my existing work that you like or someone told you I’m not too bad at this sort of thing… Whichever reason, I would like to buy you a coffee and discuss your requirements in order for me to come up with a proper solution.

I then present a couple of options and we make sure this ties in with your current branding plan.

Website development and testing no longer means attempting to make a website look the same in browsers of different capabilities or on devices with different size screens. It does mean ensuring that a person’s experience of a design should be appropriate to the capabilities of a browser or device.

I test my work in the following categories to ensure a quality end product:

  • Usability (consistency, appearance)
  • Responsiveness
  • Metadata (images, social, Google analytics inclusion)
  • SEO (crawler index, basic Yoast plugin setup, H1 tags, Google Search Console link)
  • Functionality (no broken links, logo links home)
  • Performance (page & site speed, SEO site checkup, mobileOK, optimised headers & images, enable page caching)
  • Security (SSL installation, spam prevention, site backups, updates if required)


That’s keeping your domain name ( active each month.

You may already have professional hosting and you might even manage that hosting in-house; if you do, great. If you don’t, we can offer you one of our hosting packages to keep your website online.

New hosting services:

  • set up your site on a server, (new domain registration)
  • transfer your existing domain and hosting,
  • activate any statistics software such as Google Analytics
  • setup site security
  • keep monthly site backups
  • take care of the monthly CMS / platform maintenance

We will provide a separate estimate for this.

Hosting & maintenance can be invoiced monthly (in advance), quarterly or annually, you decide.

Hosting & maintenance does not include new or added web work, new blog articles and site changes.

It does include me looking after your site security, updates, backups (last 30 days), fixing sudden issues, analytics tracking and SEO optimisation.

Monthly hosting service fees differ according to website needs and requirements.  A basic small landing page is much cheaper to host and maintain than a bigger ecommerce site.

Please note that if you are not subscribed to one of my monthly hosting & maintenance packages, you are responsible for website backups, security and maintenance after handover.

I use a reputable third party service provider for hosting services.  I will do my utmost to ensure hosting issues are kept to a minimum and resolve any issues timeously.  Uptime might sometimes be affected by factors outside of my control, such as load shedding.

Search engine optimisation (SEO)

I can’t guarantee improvements to your website’s search engine ranking, but the pages that I develop are accessible to search engines. I do include basic SEO configuration in your website.

Changes and revisions

I don’t want to limit your ability to change your mind. The price at the beginning of this contract is based on the number of weeks that I estimate I’ll need to accomplish everything you’ve told me you want to achieve, but I’m happy to be flexible. If you want to change your mind or add anything new, that won’t be a problem as I’ll provide a separate estimate for those additional weeks.

Legal Stuff

I’ll 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 be held responsible for any third-party incompatibilities causing damages, including lost profits, lost savings or other incidental, consequential or special damages.

Your liability to us will also be limited to the amount of fees payable under this contract and you won’t be liable to us or any third-party for damages, including lost profits, lost savings or other incidental, consequential or special damages, even if we’ve 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 you provide are either owned by your good selves, or that you’ve permission to use them. When you provide text, images or other artwork to us, you agree to protect us from any claim by a third party that we’re using their intellectual property.

I guarantee that all elements of the work I deliver to you are either owned by me or I’ve 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’ll assign all intellectual property rights to you as follows:

You’ll own the website we design for you plus the visual elements that we create for it.  I’ll give you source files and finished files, for digital designs, and you should keep them somewhere safe as I’m 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’ll own any intellectual property rights we’ve developed prior to, or developed separately from this project and not paid for by you. I’ll own the unique combination of these elements that constitutes a complete design and I’ll license its use to you, exclusively and in perpetuity for this project only, unless we agree otherwise.

Displaying our work

I love to show off my work, so I reserve the right to display all aspects of my (or sometimes our) creative work, including sketches, work-in-progress designs and the completed project on our portfolio and in articles on websites and in magazine articles. I also include a unobtrusive link to my email address and website, at the bottom of your new website.

Payment Schedule

I’m sure you understand how important it is as a small business that you pay the invoices that we send you promptly. As we’re also sure you’ll want to stay friends, you agree to stick tight to the following payment schedule.

50% deposit.
Balance on completion of the work.

I issue invoices electronically to your preferred email address.

Payment can be made via EFT into my FNB account for local payments, Paypal  or Payoneer account for international payments.

Hosting services should be paid by the due date or at the latest on the last working day of the month. This service is paid for monthly in advance and is kept active if payment is received. This also includes your domain name which needs to be renewed annually. Should you fail to make payment on time, hosting services will be suspended until such time full payment is made. Failure to renew your domain name will result in you losing your domain name and it is not guaranteed that you will be able to recover the domain name from the registrar.

Annual price increases may be applicable for domain names and hosting services.

Service cancellation

Should you wish to cancel or transfer your domain away from my service provider during the first 10 months of service, you will be invoiced for the registration fees originally covered by my service provider, the cancellation/transfer will only take place once this invoice has been paid.

Cancellation of the domain and/or hosting service, should be given in writing (email) at least 30 days prior to the intended cancellation date. Once a domain is cancelled it cannot be transferred to a different hosting service provider.

But where’s all the horrible small print?

* I do offer a free registration if you use my monthly hosting service for the first 12 months.

** If you use your own hosting service provider, a registration fee of R160.00 (updated for 2020) apply. 

*** Discounted .com-hosting is available if paid annually in advance.

**** Unfortunately I cannot be held responsible for down time causing inaccessibility, loss of income or service disruption caused by Eskom’s loadshedding schedule. That’s out of my hands.

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 need not 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