Web Design Business

  gurnmaster 11:42 01 Sep 2004

I am hoping someone can give me some advice.

In the future say 6-8 months I plan on starting up a web design business and design wise I am fine and confident in my what I can do.

The only part I am not confident is with all the legal and technical requirements.

Are there any websites which explain to you all the requirements in setting up a web design business and how to provide your customers with the correct documents etc?

Any help would be really appreciated.

  Forum Editor 18:12 01 Sep 2004

published to servers that are in the UK are subject to UK law, and you will find that there are many acts of parliament which apply in part to published media - a web site is no different from a magazine or newspaper as far as many legal requirements are concerned.

There is too much legislation to discuss (or even list) in a forum thread, but if you
click here you'll find a wealth of valuable information.

  Taran 18:28 01 Sep 2004

I don't know of any single online resource that can walk you through the whole process.

Many designers go through life with little or no documentation at all, which always raises my eyebrows, and my hackles.

You need a variety of paperwork to give a measure of protection to both you and your clients.

Some things you may like to consider could include paperwork to cover requirements analysis, your recommendations and/or proposals, request for proposal form (paper and online), terms and conditions and/or design agreement ( click here for an example) a good privacy policy never comes amiss and so on.

Sitepoint offer a starter kit which some people have given favourable reviews: click here

I've never seen it or its content so don't think I am recommending or endorsing the product in any way.

A simple Google search throws up millions of possibly helpful links, and since you intend making your living from the web I'm surprised you haven't tried this. Using this as your search query:

"web design"+agreement

returns some 882,000 possible page links, and the second link down in the list, click here offers you an example of one web design agreement. Don't for a moment think I am suggesting you copy it for your own use; it does give you an interesting basis to work from though, and similar Googling will produce more information than you will know what to do with.

It can often boil down to who you intend working for. Without appearing to be snobbish, the larger your client the more complext the necessary paperwork often (but not always) becomes. Smaller clients or one person businesses often prefer as little paperwork as possible and often require quite modest, static sites, but you still need certain minimums. The man or woman behind your typical one person business has their own business to run and often they won't want to sit and work through several pages of your agreement document. You should still provide one though, and stick to it.

Designing is by far the easiest part of being a web designer, so you are most comfortable in the simeplest aspect of the job. Where web design is concerned, either you can or can't. You can learn the skills up to a point but at the end of the day you need a certain feel for it to be able to consistently produce a site that is sympathetic to a client and their services and/or products. The best looking layout in the world is useless if it does not blend in with the client image. I've lost count of the amount of people who shoehorn content into an unsuitable layout.

All I can really do is wish you the very best of luck. The market is well and truly saturated and things are getting worse all the time. Fees for web designers are dropping like a stone down a well and every year colleges and universities are producing far more very capable designers than there will ever be enough work for. To succeed you need to offer diverse skills and specialise in something that gives you some sort of edge. Database programmers, for example, are often in demand and worth their weight in gold for larger dynamic web projects, so you may want to choose either ASP and/or .NET, PHP or Cold Fusion, just for the sake of argument. I mention this because content management and e-commerce is becoming more and more in demand and providing suitable solutions often requires either bespoke programs or modifications to existing applications. Just a thought.

Best of luck with it.



  Taran 18:31 01 Sep 2004

Forum Editor posted while I was typing (again) *sigh*

Message to self:

"Remember to refresh the page BEFORE posting"


  gurnmaster 20:07 01 Sep 2004

Taran thanks for the detailed post.

I have actually done research on google and found really good information and tips etc but I always like to hear other people views so that is why I asked the question as I did in a way that sounded like I had done no research.

Looking at some web design services out there , some are shocking and what is even more shocking is that it seems they actually get customers AND charging fairly high rates for very badly designed work.

I know what my ideas are and where I am going to market my business but I am also prepared for the fact it might never take off due to the fact like you said the web design market is saturated.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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