App Development Series: Legal Concerns

“Don’t make me have to settle this in court.”

When you decide to enter into an agreement with your app developer, one of the first things you would have ideally done is laid out the terms of the deal.

If you decide to get a contract (please!), you first need to decide who draws it up. There are lawyers who can write contracts up for you, as explained here. Or, there are ways that you can draw a contract up yourself, if you’d prefer to keep a third party out of things and save the expense.

If you and your developer arranged an hourly bid or hybrid bid, the contract could be as simple as an agreement on two pieces of paper. In the case of a fixed price bid, there may be a single master agreement and several statements of work, colloquially called SOWs.

Although both parties want a contract to protect their interests, you should hope to never rely on having a contract. If you have to read your contract six months after you signed it, the relationship between you both has deteriorated to the point where a lawsuit is potentially in the cards. When you have to get a lawyer – which cost considerable money, to boot – involved, the relationship between you and your developer may be irretrievably lost.

When you and your developer are bound together by contract, you both have the ground for taking legal action against each other, which hopefully will never happen. If your developer doesn’t produce what you believe you asked them to make, you would have a basis to seek remedy. Similarly, your developer now has the grounds to come after you if you neglect to pay them what they feel they’re owed.

Again, your contract is a contingency, to be used in the eventuality that something goes wrong. You never want to have to bring it out and use it. The day that happens means that something really bad has happened and one party is angry. But if you have a really good relationship with your developer and you both communicate well, then that day will never come.

This entry concludes the App Development Series. We’d like to thank you all for reading along these past few months. We hope you’ve found this series informative and useful in equal measure.

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