5 Things Every Service Provider Needs in Their Client Contract
As a service provider, you’re probably well aware that you need to have client contracts.
Contracts are truly the backbone for a business and keep things running smoothly and efficiently with all client relationships.
Without having them in place, things can get real fuzzy, real fast and that’s just something you don’t have time for!
What makes contracts interesting as a service provider is that sometimes the services you provide can vary from client to client, so it can be difficult to know how to construct your contracts to fit each client’s needs while also not having to create a contract from scratch each time.
If you’re newer in business and aren’t sure what to include, it can be tempting to do a quick Google search and use a copy and paste version, but as your friend in all things legal (I went to school for this so you don’t have to 🤓), I’m here to say that isn't’ going to cut it.
While it might be a good starting point and IS better than nothing, if you want to be fully protected in your business, you want to have LEGIT contracts in place and I’m here to help you make that happen.
If you’re a service provider that’s currently guilty of a Google contract or worse, you have no contract in place at all, it’s time to change that!
5 Things To Include In Your Contracts as a Service Provider
- Statement of Work (SOW)
A Statement of Work is one of the most important components of any client contract, especially as a service provider.
This clause outlines the specific tasks, activities, deliverables and expectations that are required to be fulfilled by you as the contractor or service provider as part of the agreement.
The primary purpose of a Statement of Work is to provide a clear and detailed description of the scope of work to be performed, which helps to prevent misunderstandings or disputes between all parties involved by defining the project's objectives, timeline, resources, quality standards, and any other relevant details.
A few key elements commonly found in a SOW include:
- Scope of Work – this section will be what protects you in the event of scope creep because it defines the specific tasks, activities and services that you will be providing throughout the working relationship. the contractor or service provider is expected to perform.
- Deliverables – this section will very clearly define what the client can expect to receive from you throughout the entire project.
- Timeline – this section will outline the timeframe that your client can expect to receive deliverables and ensures that both parties understand the entirety of the project timeline.
- Payment Terms – this section will address one of the most important parts of a client relationship: payment! Here you will provide details about payment terms and payment schedule, so the client fully understands what is expected.
- Client and Company Responsibilities
As a service provider, it’s common for the client to also have some responsibility in the project, such as providing necessary information, resources or approvals, so you want to make sure that your contracts clearly outline this information so the client is fully aware of how this part of the process will work.
- Intellectual Property Ownership Clause
Intellectual property, also referred to as IP, is a clause in a contract that defines the ownership, rights and obligations related to any intellectual property created, used, or contributed to during the course of the contract.
This type of work refers to any intangible “creations of the mind” such as inventions, designs, literary or artistic works, trade secrets, names, images, etc.
Essentially anything that YOU create as the service provider can be protected with this clause and can make sure that no one steals your work and claims it as their own.
- Cancellation Clause
Another HUGE part of client contracts, especially as a service provider, is a cancellation or termination clause.
As a service provider, it’s very common that clients will work with you for a period of time and then find themself in a season of business where they want to cancel.
Whether it’s because they no longer need or want the service you provide or a budgeting issue, canceling services is very common for service providers, so it’s something you want to make sure you tackle head on.
A termination or cancellation clause in a contract outlines the conditions, procedures and consequences under which either party can end the contractual agreement before its original completion date.
This clause provides a framework for how the contract can be legally and properly terminated if certain events or conditions occur that warrant ending the agreement prematurely.
This is where you can also include a notice requirement for cancellation (such as 30 days notice, etc.) and can outline your minimum commitment period, so that clients are fully aware of expectations.
- Communication Clause
Lastly, you want to make sure that your client contracts include a communication clause, which clearly outlines the methods or channels that your clients can use for communication throughout the duration of the agreement.
This clause helps establish a clear framework for effective communication, which is essential for ensuring that both parties stay informed, make decisions and address any issues that may arise during the course of the contract.
A communication clause is truly one of the things that can keep you from dealing with hundreds of emails if you don’t want to and can keep all of your client communications streamlined so you don’t have to jump from platform to platform each day.
How To Easily Implement Contracts as a Service Provider
Overall, a contract can be the thing that helps you avoid manyyyy headaches as a service provider and make sure that all of your clients are fully aware of all guidelines and procedures for your specific projects.
A contract that includes all of the correct clauses can help you avoid any blurred lines and allow all client relationships to be healthy and happy!
Now that you know what to include in your client contracts, you might still be wondering HOW to actually implement them so that they’re most effective.
While you *could* try to write all of these clauses yourself, there’s an easier route you can take. 😏
Ditch the hassle, headaches and busywork and head to The Boutique Lawyer’s Contract Shop to find any and all contracts you need for your business!
Browse the whole shop, or shop by industry, and grab the contracts that are specific to you and your services.
A few industries featured in the shop include:
- Brand and Website Designer
- Virtual Assistant and other freelancers
- Social Media Managers
- Health and Wellness Professionals
Don’t see your industry listed? Don’t worry – I’ve still got you! This Professional Services Agreement has you covered!
Oh and while we’re on the topic of contracts, make sure you check my list of contract Do’s and Don’ts and save this Quarterly Contract Audit that every service provider needs, so you keep your contracts up to date on a consistent basis!