Hiring The Smart Bear

If you’d like to hire The Smart Bear to design, develop, renovate or maintain your website, please get in touch to discuss your needs.
And, before you hire us, there’s a bit of information about how we work that we’d like to share with you.

We strongly believe in being up front beforehand so there are no misunderstandings or nasty surprises. So, if there’s something you want to know that isn’t covered here, please feel free to ask.

We realise it’s a lot to read but it’s always best to be clear about what you’re paying for, right!?

Quotes are valid for 30 days before a contract is signed and for 3 months after a contract is signed.

We feel contracts are very important and we ask every client to sign a contract of our terms and conditions for the work they are engaging us to complete.

Yes, we take 50% upfront and the remaining 50% is paid off in two installments, after completion of each phase of the website and prior to go live.

We accept payment via BACS, or cheques. And, for website build payments, we accept payment by credit or debit card.

Usually, our clients come to us with a plan or brief in mind. Whilst we’re happy to help you plan your website using our knowledge and experience, we do not provide a formal report.
If you do need a written project plan or a full marketing strategy plan, we can refer you to our associates who offer these services.

To save our customers money, we don’t provide mock ups. We prefer to provide a link to an interactive version of the ‘basic’ design. We feel it’s a lot easier to visual the final product rather than looking at a flat piece of paper. And, the time spent producing one could be better spent elsewhere.

We want you to be happy so we try to ensure you are on board with the design prior to starting building the site, and major changes can be made at the First Draft stage. After that, however, major changes would be on a chargeable basis.

Yes, of course. If during the build, the scope of your project needs to change (for example due to a new marketing plan or a change in circumstances), simply let us know and we will review both the contract and the initial quote.
Scope creep during the project, however, is not allowed and any changes in the project scope must be officially communicated via email to allow us re-quote if necessary.
Example changes to a project:

  • A new service
  • A change in branding
  • A change of client-targeting
  • An additional function
  • A layout change after First Draft Stage
  • Additional pages
  • etc

We do use templates, as building blocks but only the best (premium themes) and ones you have approved in advance. Premium themes usually come with a lot more free after support than bespoke templates but they’re not for everyone.

We’re coders so we can change anything you need us to, however, custom coding is not included with any of our packages unless we deem it absolutely necessary. But it can be purchased separately if you want something bespoke.

If you’d prefer a hand built theme, we’re happy to provide a quote outside of our standard packages, this will include any ongoing maintenance costs if applicable.

We understand you’re probably on a time budget and you are busy running your business so we try and keep meetings to a minimum.
Although, we prefer meeting in person, we’re happy to carry out consultations over the telephone or on a video call.
Usually, we have an initial meeting to find out the requirements, then up to 2 more at various stages throughout the project, the rest being carried out via email.
Face to face meetings are usually held in our presentation suite at our Urmston office.

Our clients are responsible for providing, and proofreading, content but if you need help with this, we can source appropriate copywriters for your field of business.
Generally, it is the same for images but we do have a number of ‘stock image’ accounts meaning we can buy images on your behalf and pass the costs on. This can sometimes work out cheaper for our clients.
Content should be generally more than 300 words and no more than 2 sides of A4 per page and content stuffing is not permitted as this can both affect ranking, give a poor user experience, and slow down the website.
Remember, you should have the appropriate copyright or license for any content or images.

Each package comes with a set number of pages that we will input for you and up to 3 blogs. And, of course, we will provide training on how to add your own pages and blogs.
However, we do not input more than three products or portfolio entries as we feel it’s important you are in control of this aspect from the start. We can, however, bulk import a CSV file for products making life a little easier.

Yes, we can! We’re happy to do the off tweaking and anything we think is critical to the design. There will be a charge, however, for any unreasonable amount of editing or cropping of images.
It’s always best to provide images in the size and dimension you want them to be displayed on the site, and relevantly named to aid Search Engine Optimisation.

Once the site is completely paid for the website and the domain (url) belong completely to the client, to do with what they want. The client is not tied to The Smart Bear and we will provide all files on request.

We’re proud of our work and we like to display it in our portfolio once complete and officially launched. And, sometimes, we include a discreet link back to our website in the website footer. But, if you’d rather us not do any of these things, just let us know.

Training is included with all our packages and we provide access to our support website which holds a knowledge base and video tutorials.
Once live, glitches and bugs are fixed free of charge within the first 2 weeks and after that, charged at our normal hourly rate. We provide a 5 Minute Fix service for small issues or maintenance packages for ongoing additions. Layout changes or adding new content after go live would be on a chargeable basis.

We provide all our clients with access to our Support website where tickets can be raised. Support can be provided over email, the telephone/skype or in person anytime within office hours. Outside of these hours, an additional fee will be applied.

We’re happy to change or amend the site for you at our usual hourly fee. If you want to make major developments, we can provide a quote for you in advance or, if you need us regularly, we can set you up on a monthly maintenance package.

All our packages come with basic hosting for one year (includes email account hosting). However, we’re not classed as a hosting provider and use third party suppliers. We take no responsibility for the service they provide but we will always help you where we can if you experience any issues.

If you prefer to source your own hosting, just let us know – we may be able to get you a discount!

Websites can take anything from 1 week to 6 months to build depending on the complexity and the content being provided in a timely manner.

If there are any lead times due to other projects, or annual leave implications, we will tell you at contract stage so we can plan the timescales around it.

We do stipulate that all websites builds should be completed within their 3 month time slot unless there are any unusual circumstances. The free hosting included with the packages starts from the date the build starts.

To keep things running smoothly, we use the workflow template as below;

Contract signed
50% Deposit
Design agreed
Copy, images etc provided by the Client
First draft review
30% Payment Installment
Changes provided by the Client
Second review
Final changes provided by the Client
Final review
Hosting/Domain/Email acquired/transferred
Website Transfer and ‘Go Live’
Final 20% Invoice
All glitches reported by the Client within two weeks of being ‘live’
Training period

 

We prefer not to rush websites and so we don’t normally agree to tight deadlines. However, if it’s a must (and we’re available to help), we can turn a website around very quickly (the quickest has been 3 days!) but we would charge an additional cost to put our existing workload to one side for you.

We currently don’t work with any other developers. We prefer not to outsource our work as we can’t control or guarantee the quality of work that comes back, and so we’d double check everything which seems like a false economy.

We have partnered with other developers which the client may want to use for part of the project, or was using prior to getting in touch with us, but we find this is a lot more complicated and time consuming with efficient project management.

The Smart Bear Workflow Guidelines and General Terms

OVERVIEW OF WORKFLOW

  • Free initial consultation meeting (usually 1/2 an hour – in person, by telephone or virtually)
  • Determine your requirements
  • Find out more about your business and background
  • Assess any branding, marketing materials and social media
  • Agree terms of engagement
  • Timelines, reviews and payment terms
  • Quotation and contract finalisation
  • 50% deposit invoice
  • Content and data required from client
  • First draft stage review by the client (usually over email but can be in person, by telephone or virtually)
  • 30% invoice installment
  • Second draft stage review by the client (usually via email or telephone)
  • Final review by the client (usually via email, in person, by telephone or virtually)
  • Sign off and Go Live
  • 20% invoice installment
  • Training and handover

OFFICIAL GENERAL TERMS

1.1 Quotations are valid for 30 days. If a contract is signed but then the work is delayed by the client for more than three months then we reserve the right to re-quote inline with any changes to price structure during that time.
1.2 Responsibility of final proofreading of website content lies with the client and any corrections may be subject to additional charges. Changes as a result of an error by The Smart Bear will be corrected free of charge.
1.3 A signed contract is required before any work is undertaken. (This can be in email form too, where the client accepts these terms and conditions in writing in an email.) This indicates that the client accepts the terms and conditions. The Smart Bear will not be held liable or responsible for the end use of any documents or project and we retain the right to reject work which we feel is illegal, immoral or objectionable.
1.4 Unless otherwise agreed, all content and images will be provided by the client. And please note, we will not check the copyright of images provided; this is the responsibility of the client.
1.4.1 Banners/headers/buttons: for websites, simple text-based images can be created, inline with the final design but anything more complex will need to be included in the quotation/contract as it will incur additional charges.
1.4.2 The client will be responsible for all data input over the ‘included pages’ specified in the package, including any blog post data input. Product data input, where applicable, will be solely the responsibility of the client.
1.4.3 The client has two review opportunities during the workflow process at set times. Any changes to design or function after these reviews may incur further charges.
1.4.4 Any meetings, outside the initial free consultation, the first/second or final draft stages, and included training sessions, will be charged at our normal hourly rate.
1.5 Bug and glitch fixing or email support ends two weeks after the completion of a project (‘go live’), unless otherwise agreed or quoted for in advance. Any further support will be charged at my normal hourly rate.
1.6 Support (whether prepaid or adhoc) is undertaken during working hours only in the UK (9.30am to 5.00pm), Monday to Friday excluding UK bank (public) holidays. Emergency Support requested or undertaken after hours, on weekends, or on holidays may be charged at a higher rate.
1.6.1 The Smart Bear cannot guarantee the availability of immediate support but will make every effort to accommodate the needs of clients, where possible.
1.7 Security and Backups: The Smart Bear will do our utmost to ensure that your website is secure, by setting backups where applicable, teaching the client how to take hosting backups where possible, and taking backups prior to starting any upgrades/updates. However, we will not be responsible for the general security and availability of client’s sites.
1.8 Ownership of any work remains with The Smart Bear until all payments are received. We reserve the right to decline further work on a project if there are invoices outstanding, and we reserve the right to remove the work from the internet/public domain if payments are not received. For new builds, we will not provide administrator access until the site has been completely paid for.
1.9 The client will always be the legal owner of their website, hosting, domain name and administrator details, once full payment has been made. We will pass all admin details to the client once a project is complete and all outstanding monies have been settled.
1.10 If a third party works on the website, we will not be responsible for fixing any subsequent errors. And, although we are happy to help fix the problems, all work will be chargeable.
1.11 If coaching, consulting or additional sub-contractors are required to get the client to a stage where work can commence, this will be recommended & quoted for.
1.12 The Smart Bear aims to communicate openly with our clients; we will update you with news of your projects, both good and bad, so that you know we’re doing our best to reach your goals, too.
1.13 Mockups are not provided. However, if you do want one, for an additional fee (paid upfront) we will subcontract a graphic designer for this service, and only after the contract is signed/deposit is paid.
1.14 Any support (outside of any training provided with a package) including calls, emails (or instant messages on social networking sites) which take over 15 minutes will incur a charge.
1.15 We will not be held responsible for the working of any third party software, including plugins, that the client has agreed to use or purchase. Nor will we be held responsible for their ongoing license fees or maintenance.

CHARGES AND PAYMENTS

2.1 We typically require a 50% deposit before work starts and then 2 further installments of 30% and 20% (during the build and on go live, respectively). However, we can set up a tiered payment plan if the client prefers to pay in installments where there is a smaller initial upfront deposit and then small payments after each stage of work, if agreed in advance.
2.2 Payment must be made in advance for any training.
2.3 Payment can be made electronically, cash or by cheque.
2.4 Payment of outstanding balances is strictly 14 days from the date of invoice, unless another agreement is reached.
2.5 Failure to pay within 30 days will result in interest being charged (at a rate of 5%) per month or part thereof on the outstanding balance and the debt will be passed to a debt collector.
2.6 We stipulate that all website builds must be completed within three months unless there are exceptional circumstances agreed in advance.

CONFIDENTIALITY AND DATA PROTECTION

3.1 Confidentiality is guaranteed at all times.
3.2 No information will be made available to any third party, unless required by the laws of England in the case of criminal or other investigations.

If a client is unable to agree to these Terms and Conditions then any quotation or contract (written or verbal) becomes null and void.

This page was last updated: February 2020