We have compiled a brief guide from various sources on hiring a web developer. The article covers issues to consider when writing a brief such as the purpose of the project and the expected users, as well as deciding on whether or not to go overseas, planning and fixing the budget, the scope and specification, and what the contract should cover including a link to our template master services agreement.
Before approaching a web development firm, it is important to build and refine the consensus within your company as to what the web project is for. For example if you are hiring a web developer to rebuild your corporate website, the following questions should be answered:
It is always tempting to go overseas to cut cost. This is most effective if you are developing something simple such as a small app or simple website, especially if your internal resources are plentiful. An overseas firm is likely to require more time at your end to cover for possible language barrier or communication issues, misunderstanding of your intended design, cultural differences or uncertainties affecting your company’s image, and different perceptions of your customer base. For more complex projects, you should decide if realistically the disadvantages of an overseas developer can be managed without too much trouble.
Once you are clear on the brief, you will no doubt be hoping to find a reputable web developer who can do what you want within the budget that you have. It is not necessary to disclose your budget to the web developer. If budget is to be fixed, then typically a web developer will expect the scope and specification to be fixed. This means that on a fixed budget a good web developer will complete a detailed specification and get you to sign it off before starting any work.
The person within your company who is overseeing the project will need sufficient time, resources, motivation and should be properly empowered to work with the web developer during the planning phase. If the specification or scope needs to change during development (because of lack of planning) then the budget will probably change too. A good web developer will be experienced in the planning phase, so look out for this and ask questions about their processes.
Always have a written agreement in place. This could take the form of a master services agreement, which should cover what will be delivered, terms and conditions of acceptance, the fee structure, and various issues of contention such as the ownership of intellectual property. It is worth using a comprehensive master services agreement that allows you to lock down a specification, deadline and fee, so that there can be no ambiguity on either side of the table.
Our template master services agreement can be used for the purposes of hiring a web developer and is downloadable immediately for just £5.99.
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