As the sole proprietor of The Design Vault, LLC, I cling to a single policy: project specifications must be detailed in a signed contract before any work will begin. Implicit with this policy is that any specifications that are added or removed to the detriment of the project may require a change-order, and thereby an amended contract.
I've let this slide in the past, and I'm sorry to say that I've learned my lesson. I'm not in the habit of quibbling over minor details, and I don't intend to give the impression that moving a couple of images around or changing the order of menu links will necessarily result in a change-order. I lean toward flexibility with my clients because my goal is usually aligned with theirs: to produce a quality, relevant website that meets their requirements and exceeds expectations. However, adding to or removing from project specifications in mid-production of any product has the potential to prolong development, which directly effects the cost of production.
To date, I've written three change-orders; this speaks both to the clarity of my clients' vision, the quality of our communication, and our mutual willingness to be flexible. As with most policies, mine was born out of a single incident with a client. It's a shame that future projects should be treated with any measure of skepticism, but that's the way it goes.
With all that said, I am happy to guarantee my work. Any malfunction or behavioral glitch associated with erroneous programming or design will be repaired at no cost within the first year. Considering the rate of browser obsolescence, that's a pretty bold statement; what works today may not work with tomorrow's technology. I take pride in my work, and I want my products to be a lasting testament of my dilligence. Unfortunately, it turns out I'm human, and therefore imperfect; I'm not ashamed to admit that I fat-thumb code at times, or that some projects dang near eat my lunch. In real life, developing a quality product has its ups and downs. It's easy to admit because I'm not afraid to do what it takes to make things right. The key--for me and my clients--is to communicate and be flexible. And when the dust settles, we get to share the glory for what we've accomplished.