When a software developer contracts to create an application, the client and the developer rarely remember to nail down the responsibilities post-release.
For example, is the developer supposed to provide support, maintenance, or upgrades?
And does the parties’ software agreement take these issues into account, including compensation for such services.
Too often, a client who isn’t tech savvy assumes that software development includes perpetual support and maintenance. This means that if an application breaks years after release, the client unreasonably expects the developer to fix it at no additional cost.
If you’re a developer, be sure to set the client’s expectations (in writing) on the front end so you don’t get burned later. If you’re not providing support or maintenance, be sure to plainly say so in the contract.
And if application support and/or maintenance is included, identify the scope of such responsibilities, i.e. what’s included, what’s excluded, and pricing.
If a software developer wants to provide support or maintenance, must it be included in the development agreement? No. Sometimes support/maintenance is covered in a separate contract signed by the parties.
However, for simplicity and cost-effectiveness, it typically makes sense to bundle it all together in the software development agreement…or clearly state in the agreement that maintenance and/or support aren’t included.
Note that these support and maintenance issues are beyond the common developer’s warranty that software will work 30-90 days post-release…and agreement to fix any bugs that come up during that period.
If you need help with your software development agreement, including any support or maintenance issues, it’s probably time to schedule a phone consultation with Software Lawyer Mike Young.