Terms of business
Terms and conditions are often tedious, and money can be a bit of an awkward thing to talk about. Before we go any further, in an attempt to not waste anyone’s time, it’s a good idea to let you know how I work.
I love what I do and take pride in having invested time, money and a great deal of energy into developing my skills as a user experience designer, frontend developer and accessibility specialist. I’m constantly reading up on the latest developments in the web industry, brushing up my skills and challenging myself wherever possible.
In recent years, I’ve been taking on fewer and fewer projects. I’m absolutely open to chatting about yours, but it’s only fair to let you know that I may not be in a position to take it on in the immediate future.
I work in a very consultative manner in order to deliver your content to your users in the most effective way possible. I care about the final product and this means I often question or challenge ideas clients bring to me (very politely and diplomatically, of course; I’m far from the argumentative type!). Having said that, please don’t be shy with your ideas: you know your business better than anyone!
The initial website project delivery is just the start. Your website should be evolve as:
- you find out more about your visitors’ needs
- web browsers introduce new features
To accommodate this shifting landscape, I work with my clients on an ongoing basis to make improvements and maintain their website’s code-base. Long lasting, collaborative relationships between website owners and web designers produce the most effective websites.
Finally, if it’s not the right time to start your website I’ll tell you. I’ll even give you guidance on how to prepare things properly. Your money, wherever possible, should remain in your pocket; there’s no sense investing in work that won’t bring you a return.
I am happy to augment any design, frontend development, or multi-disciplinary team, either by integrating with the team, or by picking up work they don’t have time for.
As well as delivering website projects and working as a freelance, I also provide consultation, and tend to focus on my specialist area of accessibility, where I can:
- audit a product or service, finding accessibility issues, pinpointing the cause, and providing direction for a solution
- steer design and/or frontend development teams in accessibility best practices
- give advice and direction for positive change in accessibility on a departmental or organisational level
Presentations, workshops, and training
I have been giving talks, workshops, and training for years to groups, large and small; my presentation style is informal and engaging.
Ways of working
I have worked with people all across the world on projects of all sizes.
I generally work remotely. Where absolutely necessary I will travel to your location; otherwise I will participate fully via video calls like Zoom, and messaging services like Slack.
Working remotely is not just about location; it’s about being timezone agnostic and asynchronous:
- Replies to emails and other messages will be timely but not immediate
- Calls should be pre-agreed
- Work should be tracked via tickets in a service like Jira or GitHub
My fee depends on the type of work you’d like me to do and length of contract. When outlining what your project is, please give a clear expectation of what you would like me to do, when you’d like it to be done by, and the budget you have available.
To give you a very rough idea of my prices:
- Start to finish small website projects are usually costed as a project, which usually comes in at between £6,000+VAT to £12,000+VAT
- For consultation/freelance projects, my day rate starts at £550+VAT
I do not work on an hourly basis.
As mentioned, many projects require some ongoing maintenance. This covers things like:
- Keeping the codebase current, removing or refining older code that may be deprecated
- Keeping up with browser advances
- Keeping up to date with the latest search engine requirements
As well as maintaining your website, I often work with clients on a regular basis to chip away at their to-do list. I usually set up a Trello board, or something similar, where we can add ideas, discuss them, then carry out work steadily each month.
I’ll sometimes have some expenses for your project, such as travel costs, hotel costs (if early starts or late nights are needed), subsistence costs if away from home, and any project-specific equipment or software.
These expenses are usually included in the project price, but if you prefer these to be explicit, they can be itemised on your estimate and invoice.
Licensing costs that you may incur, for example web-fonts and stock image licenses, will be paid by you directly.
If anything unexpected crops up during the project I’ll let you know as far in advance as possible so that you can approve it.
I’m yet to come across a project with unlimited funds, so I’m well accustomed to working within the constraints of a set budget.
If your budget won’t stretch to the total estimated project price, I’m happy to work with you to reduce the scope in a way that will allow us to work together.
A limited initial budget may mean a reduced initial amount of work followed by a series of regular monthly ‘retainer’ payments, allowing you to spread the cost (and the work) over a longer period.
It’s not unheard of that a client comes to me wanting
C and it turns out that
C isn’t necessary or will detract from
B, somehow. If I see that this is the case, I’ll let you know and we can reduce the scope of the project to just
B. Having assumed
C was going to be part of the project, you may have budget remaining that you’d still like to invest, in which case I can help advise you to maximise the return on revenue spent.
Discounts and volunteering
If I were to work at a discounted rate I’d be unable to dedicate as much time to working on paid projects and my own professional development.
That doesn’t mean I’d never discount or waive my fee if the project is something I feel strongly about and is a genuinely unique opportunity, so if you are unable to pay a reasonable fee and have valid and compelling reasons why, then please let me know. I may choose to involve myself with the project if I’m able to without it interfering with my paid work, but please:
- don’t expect me to agree to unpaid work
- don’t be offended if I turn down an opportunity to work with you
Grants and funding
I am unlikely to accept commissions that are wholly or partially funded by grants. In my experience, I’ve found that clients who aren’t spending their own hard-earned cash are often less invested in their project, which can have negative a knock-on effect on my other clients.
Where funding is involved and I agree to provide an estimate, the time to produce the estimate will be billable in advance.
I believe that speculative work (where a designer is asked to work as part of a ‘competition’, where only the ‘winner’ is compensated for their work) can have a place for aspiring designers/developers, but as an experienced professional I work with others, not in competition with them, and require a deposit to be paid before I can begin any work.
I draw up a contract for every job I undertake. My contracts are in plain English (as little legalese as I can get away with!) and ensure there will be no misunderstandings. They cover, among other things, what materials you’ll give me so that I can do the job for you, a breakdown of the job itself, payment terms and details of copyright ownership.
The first contract I send you isn’t necessarily the one we’ll both sign. It’s for you to read through carefully and make sure you’re happy with everything. I’m happy to consider any amendments, so if you’d like to see any changes just ask and I’ll see what I can do.
Once we have agreed the project scope and price, and we’ve both signed it, we’re nearly ready to book a block of time in my diary! Just one more thing…
I require a deposit for every piece of work I undertake, large or small. This is typically 50% of the estimated project cost or a block of time in advance.
Once the deposit has cleared in my account and the contract has been signed, we’re ready to go!
Sometimes the requirements and scope of a project are not known. If this is the case, I can work with you to produce them. My time for this is billable by the day, must be paid for up front, and is separate to any potential future project costs.
So I hope there were no surprises there and everything was what you were expecting. If it all sounds good and, in principle, you’re looking forward to us working together, get in touch and we can talk about your project!