Will we sign an NDA / confidentiality Agreement?

Website design notes

This is a question we often get asked, usually before we've even had any details about the project. The answer is simply no and here we explain why we dont.

We generally do not sign NDAs prior to establishing a formal working agreement. Once we've outlined the scope and terms of a project together, our standard service contract, which inherently includes comprehensive confidentiality provisions and GDPR compliance, will effectively cover all necessary bases. This means that, upon reaching the contractual stage with us, you can be assured of a robust protection of privacy and data, often exceeding what a standalone NDA might offer.

Our approach to Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs), understanding our stance

We value transparency and mutual respect in all our business dealings, which is why we carefully consider the implications of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs). Here are key reasons we typically refrain from signing NDAs at the initial stages of engagement:

  • Mutual Protection is Essential We often encounter NDAs designed primarily to protect the client's interests. For an NDA to be truly effective, it must ensure mutual protection. Engaging in agreements that are one-sided is not in line with our principles of fairness and collaboration.
  • Legal and Financial Considerations NDAs are legally binding contracts that usually require thorough review by legal professionals, incurring significant costs. At the preliminary stages of a potential partnership, the investment in legal fees for reviewing an NDA—just to explore a project's specifications—does not offer tangible benefits to either party.
  • Practicality and Suitability While your project may present exciting opportunities, there's always a possibility it may not align with our capabilities or current focus. The expectation for us to commit substantial financial resources in legal review, without a clear understanding of the project's fit, poses a significant challenge. We believe in fostering relationships based on mutual respect and understanding, rather than imposing financial burdens even before a project begins.

We are committed to building strong, transparent, and respectful partnerships. While we understand the importance of confidentiality, we advocate for beginning our journey together on a foundation of trust and mutual benefit, progressing to formal agreements that protect all parties involved once a mutual intent to proceed has been established.

We do this for a living! 

At the first stages of the relationship, your project specification should be able to be communicated to us without the need for specific, commercially sensitive information being revealed to us. If you have an existing project you need help upon, we need to be able to see the code and it’s workings to see if we can take it on or not – we don’t need legal agreements getting in the way of this at this stage.

We're professionals in this industry and treat all project enquiries 100% confidentially. Even if the conversation does not go past the early stages, what is discussed goes no further than our offices.

Asking us to sign a significant legal document (yes even your one page NDA is a legal document) before we've even had a chance to have a proper chat with you about the project is a big step and one we cannot afford to undertake.

The agreement may impact on our existing clients

Many confidentially agreements or NDA's have non-compete clauses or broad claims over intellectual property rights included. We work with a wide range of clients across many industries and it's very difficult to guarantee that using industry best practices to design and build websites and applications won't at some point be considered competing with whatever might be involved in your idea or requirements down the line. We don't know at this stage what technology or code we might ultimately use if we work together and how that might affect our existing client base.

Additional information

We hope our potential clients will appreciate our stance is not to be awkward or unhelpful but to remove a level of difficulty and unnecessary legal complexity so early in a relationship but just in case there's any difficulty articulating our reasons above, here are a selection of other well-reasoned articles on not signing NDA's from a range of people in our industry.

Why you shouldn’t care about NDAs (and why we don’t sign them).

Why Most VC’s Don’t Sign NDAs

7 Reasons I Won't Sign Your NDA Before a Coffee Meeting