As a software and application developer, creating, customizing, maintaining and supporting software programs is the core of your business, and likely the most important asset to your company. Safeguarding that asset is absolutely essential to operation. What are you doing to protect your work and limit your terms of support? When should you use a software maintenance agreement?
In nearly every business relationship you foster, it is essential to protect yourself and your business, especially if you work as a software and application developer.
Custom software development and software maintenance agreements protect your rights during the term of the relationship with a specific client. These agreements will determine the length of the engagement, the level and hours of support and maintenance for which you are responsible, and any updates or enhancements that they may be entitled to. It also states which support, maintenance and installation services that do not fall in the parameters of the scope of work might require additional compensation.
Most importantly, the agreement will limit your liabilities and responsibilities, excluding errors that result from client misuse, alteration or damage, and will prohibits your clients from hiring away your maintenance and support employees.
Agreements will vary based on each software developer’s needs, and reviewing software development and software maintenance agreement samples can provide some perspective on what should go into the contract. Finding a reputable business that supplies software maintenance templates will save you time and ensure all of the necessary provisions are included. Businesses will typically offer software maintenance templates in a package that might include:
* Custom Software Maintenance and Support Agreements: Protect your rights during the term of the relationship with a specific client. It determines the length of the engagement, the level and hours of support and maintenance for which you are responsible, and any updates or enhancements that they may be entitled to. It also states which support, maintenance and installation services are not included in the basic scope of work and that might require additional compensation.
* Employment Contracts: When hiring new employees, these will protect intellectual property rights and confidential information. It also establishes non-compete and non-hire provisions, which prevent employees from taking clients or workers from the company.
* Software Customization Agreements: Clearly and concisely outline the scope of work on all software customization services, and warrants you the necessary licensing rights to permit you to modify the software. It also defines ownership of intellectual property rights and confidential information, as well as price and payment terms. Finally, it limits your liability for damages resulting from your work.
* Subcontractor / Independent Contractor Agreements: These detail the performance expectations of a subcontractor and set the scope of services, price and payment terms, and solutions should you become dissatisfied with the services provided. It will also protect intellectual property rights and confidential information, and give you authority to terminate the agreement.
Software development and software maintenance agreements, and other supporting agreements or contracts, will help guide the relationship between you and a potential client and set expectations for any ongoing service or maintenance and the costs associated with them. A signed, clearly defined agreement will set the relationship off on the right foot and help protect against service-related problems in the future.