What Is a Service Contract?
A Service Contract or Service Agreement is a formal written bond between a service provider and its client or customer.
The service provider agrees to provide services, ranging from individually designed to professional, and the client agrees to pay for these services in accordance with the provisions of the contract.
A mutual agreement for services legally binds the parties involved by setting forth their responsibilities towards each other and the penalties for violating those responsibilities. The document protects both parties by outlining the information on payments, the mode of payment, deadlines, and job duties along with clauses on dispute resolution and governing law.
While verbal agreements seem like the easy solution and, in some states, may even be enforceable, we recommend drafting a written and legally watertight Service Contract to protect your rights as either the client or the service provider.
Basic Contractor Agreements (Work for Hire Agreements)
- Independent Contractor Agreement. Use this Contractor Agreement to outline the terms, conditions, and schedule of your work;
- Subcontractor Agreement. Use this agreement to outline your duties, liabilities, and responsibilities as a subcontractor to a project;
- Volunteer Agreement. This agreement can be used to record the expectations and any agreed-upon commitment between an organization and its volunteer;
- Freelance Contract. Freelance workers and independent contractors can use this template to lay out the scope of work they will be performing as well as its conditions and terms.
Art and Design
- Photography Contract. This Photography Contract protects the photographer and their client by outlining the details regarding payment, deposit, schedule, photo editing, and additional services along with penalties for cancellation and late delivery;
- Design Contract. This legally-binding contract for design projects maps out the scope of work, payment details, and schedule for both the freelance designer and their client;
- Decorating Contract. Use this contract to define the terms, conditions, and expectations for every agreement between you and the interior designer performing decorating services;
- Computer Repair Contract. This contract ensures that both the computer technician and their client are clear on the costs, schedule, deliverables, and terms of service.
Construction and Real Estate
- Construction Contract. This contract is a legally binding agreement between two parties - an independent contractor and their client - that records their respective responsibilities and lists the applicable policies and conditions;
- Remodeling Contract. Similar to a Construction Contract, this agreement maps out the terms and conditions of a minor construction job and records the mutual responsibilities of the independent contractor and their client;
- Landscaping Contract. This contract can be used to outline and finalize the terms of service between a landscaping provider and their client. It covers the scope of work, payment details, schedule of deliverables, and any additional mutual responsibilities;
- Property Management Agreement. This legally-binding contract is entered into by and between the owner of a property and the manager of said property. It outlines the duties and responsibilities of both parties along with the terms of payment, work schedule, and a description of services;
- Pool Service Contract. Having your pool serviced regularly is a huge time and money saver. Having a well-made Pool Maintenance Contract is vital to a well-maintained pool. It's a proactive way to save your time when it comes to caring for your pool;
- HVAC Service Contract. Sign this agreement with an independent contractor or company that will be tasked with maintaining the heating and air-conditioning system in your home or office;
- Painting Contract. This detailed Painting Contract includes sections regarding job details, pricing, payment terms, and possible contract termination;
- Lawn Care Contract. Tired of making your service contracts from the ground up? Download this printable template that includes all of the main clauses vital in any lawn service job;
- Cleaning Services Contract. Download and print this Cleaning Services Contract to use with your new or existing clients. The template will help you outline the scope of work and includes clauses regarding payment, schedule, and mutual responsibilities.
- Event Planning Contract. An Event Planning Contract serves to protect all parties involved in an event. This includes the event planner, its clients, vendors, caterers, decorators, and the venue itself;
- Speaker Contract. Download this professionally made Speaker Contract template in order to clearly define the required services, compensation, schedule, and the specifics regarding the use of the speaker’s intellectual property;
- Performance Contract. Use this document when hiring a performer or artist for your event;
- Vending Contract. This contract provides the operator of the vending machine to distribute their products on the premises of the client. The merchandise usually includes, but is not limited to cold and hot beverages, cooked food and snacks, tobacco products, toys, and souvenirs;
- Catering Contract. This contract documents the agreement between a caterer and their client. It specifies the details and schedule of a catering service taking place during a set period of time on a one-time or recurring basis;
- DJ Contract. This easy-to-use contract can be used for any event that requires the services of a DJ. It records the responsibilities of both the client and DJ regarding schedule, services, and payments;
- Wedding Planner Contract. Searching for a cost-effective way to get a professional Wedding Planner Contract? Download and customize our template - it's free to use and yours to keep for as long as you need it.
Sports and Training
- Personal Training Contract. Are you a personal trainer? Working freelance? Download and print this Personal Training Contract to use with new or existing clients. The template outlines the basic terms and responsibilities and includes customizable clauses regarding payments, liabilities, and schedules;
- Martial Arts Contract. Thinking of enrolling in martial arts classes? Read through our Martial Arts Contract to know what to expect and what to negotiate for with your school or coach;
- Coaching Contract. This legally-binding Coaching Contract details all of the vital aspects of the agreement between a trainer and their client. Download this easy-to-use and easy-to-understand template to use with all of your coaching clients.
- Bookkeeping Contract. Are you an independent accountant, a bookkeeper, or a representative of an agency that provides bookkeeping services? Use this Bookkeeping Contract template to record the responsibilities of all parties involved in the agreement;
- Accounting Contract. This document may be useful in providing an outline that protects your business when outsourcing the services of an accountant;
- Agency Agreement. An Agency Agreement is a document that defines the relationship between a principal and an agent. Use this printable template to give another person or entity the legal resources to act on your behalf;
- Consulting Agreement. A Consulting Agreement is perfect for freelance consultants and independent contractors looking to legally enforce their rights and responsibilities. This printable template is easy to customize and free to use with your consulting clients.
- Retainer Agreement. A Retainer Agreement can be useful both to freelancers that wish to have a guaranteed income and to employers that want to keep a professional on hand for services that may be required at a later date;
- Marketing Agreement. Looking to market your company’s new product? Are you a freelance marketer looking to offer your services? This watertight Marketing Agreement is the tool you need to market your products or services;
- Payment Agreement. This Payment Agreement includes a payment plan - a document outlining the important conditions of the loan that needs to be repaid and lists the responsibilities of both the lender and the borrower;
- Sales Contract. Looking to document the sale of personal property? This easy-to-use Sales Contract provides details about the terms of sale, delivery details, schedule, and a description of the required services;
- Settlement Agreement. A Settlement Agreement is used to bring a disagreement or dispute between separate parties to an end. Customize the template to suit your specific needs and use our how-to guide to help you through the process;
- Commission Agreement. Use this Commission Agreement to provide your employee or contractor with an outline of the terms of earning a sales commission;
- Referral Agreement. A Referral Agreement is used when one party wishes to refer prospective clients to another party in exchange for compensation. A referral is used as a recommendation or an act of providing information about the company or the goods it provides.
- Contract Termination Letter. This letter is a formal declaration from one party to another notifying the latter that a mutual contract has been canceled. The document services as a legal record that the other party has been officially notified about the cancellation and the end date;
- Addendum to a Contract. Add additional clauses to an existing contract with this free Contract Addendum. This universal template is customizable, printable, and easy to use;
- Breach of Contract Notice. Feeling that a party to your mutual agreement has breached the contract? This legal document can help you notify the other party about the potential breach and provide guidelines on how it can be corrected.
- Dog Walking Contract. If you're a freelancer offering dog walking services to pet owners, then this ready-made contract will help you demonstrate that you're a professional and is bound to save you lots of time in the process;
- Pet Sitting Contract. This document lays out the animal's needs, lists the expected responsibilities of the pet sitter, and what to do in case of an emergency;
- Nanny Contract. Need to hire a nanny to provide additional care for your kids? Download and use this printable Nanny Contract to provide guidelines for the potential employee;
- Child Care Contract. A Child Care Contract outlines the details of the partnership between the client and the child care provider. It can help prevent potential misunderstandings and provides a clear guideline for the child care provider to follow.
Service Contract Terms and Conditions
Most Service Contracts will include the same general clauses and provisions regarding the scope of work, the general schedule of deliverables, working hours (if set), total cost and upfront fees, termination conditions, and a clause regarding governing law.
There are three main ways to structure a basic Service Contract.
- Time and Materials. This is the simplest type of Service Contract. The agreement is entered into strictly by two parties, where the service provider logs their hours and gets paid according to the hours worked
- Retainer-Based Contracts. A retainer-based contract is similar to the first type in the way it is set up. These agreements propose a certain set amount of work time (per week, per month, etc.) with a flat rate paid for that time regardless of the actual hours that end up being used.
- Fixed Scope Contracts. A fixed scope or fixed bid contract is a more risky and more elaborate contract. After a period of in-depth estimation and research, the service provider ends up with a work breakdown structure - the top-down decomposition of a project. These separate components are then estimated and the estimated price is presented to the client. The parties then agree on a fixed price for the entire scope of the service provider's work and set a fixed schedule of deliverables.
How to Write a Service Contract?
There are several vital points you have to cover when drafting a contract like this.
- Gather detailed identifying information about both parties. This includes full legal names, mailing addresses, and contact information.
- Provide a clear and accurate explanation of the services that will be required on the part of the service provider. Let’s say you hire an independent contractor to install tile flooring. Will they be responsible for moving the materials? Will they need to install a subfloor? Are you expecting them to do the cleaning or handle quality assurance after the work is done? An accurate description of services helps eliminate the chance of misunderstandings.
- Outline a payment schedule, decide on a method of payment, set the total cost of the project, and discuss an upfront fee.
- Add clauses regarding severability and the terms for termination. Include a set period for written notice and the conditions for receiving compensation in the event the contract is actually voided.
Both parties must sign the contract in duplicate in the presence of each other and keep copies for their personal records. A signed contract between two individuals with the capacity to contract is enforceable under the law and will hold up in court.
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