One thing that can get a freelancer and company in more trouble when it comes to web and software development is defining how long the “Warranty” that is included on the project. A development entity could go bankrupt after a few projects if free support is expected for the life of the project. I, myself have been involved in over 1000 websites, and if I had to make these quick fixes and updates for free, I would be working for free for the next 100 years.
Define the Warranty:
I think a standard 30 days is pretty reasonable. This gives the client enough time to test their product and come up with changes that were missed during the final development stages. In any case, it is important to define what the expectation is after the project goes live. It may be that the client is willing to pay for on-going maintenance and updates.
I think verbiage in the contract should go something like this:
______ agrees to any minor edits and bug fixes within the 30 days period after the project has gone live. This does not include any work resulting from software updates after the “go live” date. Any additional requests will be subjected to billing at a rate of $___ / hour until completed.
Another option that might prove good for both the client and the development entity is a maintenance contract after the agreed period of coverage. It will be important to be very clear as to what this does and does not cover to protect both parties. It is important to understand the needs of the client prior to implementing something like this.
What is Included:
What is included is not only the original project, but after the project has gone live is also important to define upfront. This can make the difference between an angry client and a long standing relationship. Most clients just want what they pay for to work and would not understand what is involved to keep it working based on their current need and the rapidly changing technologies involved.