Service contracts for businesses

These contract for services templates set out clearly the terms under which one business will supply services to another.

As well as recording the terms under which services will be provided, these contract templates help you comply with data protection law and make clear that the relationship does not fall under the 'IR35' rules.

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Contract for services: self employed contractor, client version

This is a service contract amended to favour the client rather than the contractor. The document is an umbrella agreement, suitable for any number of projects with the same, or with different contractors. The document reinforces the nature of the relationship as business one and not as one of employment and thus reduces the chance of employer obligations arising.

Contract for services: self employed contractor, contractor version

This is a contract for any type of work between a self employed contractor (either a sole trader or operating through a service company) and his client. Use of this contract will strengthen the proposition that the relationship is one of business service provision and not one of employment.

Contract for services: self employed contractor, simple version

This is a neutral service contract that favours both parties equally. The document is an umbrella agreement, suitable for any number of projects with the same, or with different contractors. The document reinforces the nature of the relationship as business one and not as one of employment and thus reduces the chance of employer obligations arising.

Employment agency agreement

This document provides two sets of terms and conditions for a recruitment agency: one for your relationship with applicants seeking jobs, and the other with client employers or hirers.

Use it where the agency advertises positions on behalf of the client, finds candidates and screens them.

The positions to be filled could be temporary or permanent.

Employment business: terms and conditions

These are standard client terms and conditions for any “employment business”. The document strongly protects the employment business but fairly treats the client.

An employment business is one that employs workers and hires them to clients, usually on a temporary basis.

The workers are employed by the employment business and not by the client.

You can use these terms as an agreement under hand, or you could easily adapt them for your website.

Your business might specialise in providing staff for a particular industry or role, or be a generalist provider of temporary workers.

The document includes provisions and options related to:

  • no competition
  • indemnity and limitation of your liability for the work your employees perform
  • payment of fees
  • recording of work completion

Secretary or administrative assistant: terms and conditions

All embracing terms and conditions for a clerical assistant, typist, receptionist, personal assistant or anyone who provides administration services. The document emphasizes the self employed status of the contractor.

Security services contract

This agreement is useful for both, the security service provider and to the client (which may be an industrial unit, shopping center, hospital, residential society, school or any other organisations) on payment of agreed fee and the client who wishes to engage the security agency for the security of its industrial or institutional premises.

Contract catering agreement

Professional terms and conditions for an individual or company caterer, providing a standard form of quotation detailing the client's precise requirements. Ideal for use for weddings, parties, corporate functions and all other events.

Bookkeeping services agreement

This is a comprehensive agreement between a company providing bookkeeping and accountancy services and a client business.

Bookkeeper: terms and conditions

A comprehensive contract for a self employed bookkeeper to present to his or her clients. The template is suitable for a wide range of services that a bookkeeper might provide: from record keeping and accounts preparation to business advisory services.

Cleaning agreement

Comprehensive terms and conditions for a cleaning company to regulate the relationship with the client. Whether you clean carpets, windows, domestic premises or offices, this document will suit.

Speaker contract

This is a contract between an organiser and a speaker to talk or to present at an event. It is a comprehensive yet flexible document suitable for a wide variety of engagements, from after dinner speeches, to corporate training events, to conferences and trade shows. Use it to clarify the terms of the agreement including the responsibilities of both the organiser and the speaker, and to give you a high level of intellectual property protection.

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What is a contract for services?

A contract for services is a legally binding agreement for the supply of services by one business to another.

The service supplier may be an individual working as a self-employed, independent contractor on a freelance basis or they may be a larger business whose employees carry out the work.

Contracts for services are often contrasted with contracts of service. A contract of service sets out terms of employment between an employee and a business, whereas a contract for services maintains an independent business relationship.

A contract for services may also be called a service agreement or a service contract.

Why use a service contract?

A written services contract makes the agreed terms under which the services are supplied difficult to dispute later.

In other words, if there is a issue later (such as in the service supplier being paid on time) it should be much easier and faster to resolve the problem because you can point to what was clearly written in a legally binding contract.

Because precisely what was agreed can be found out by reading the contract, disputes are less likely to occur. Both parties understand their obligations.

What are the key terms that a service agreement should contain?

Key terms of a service contract should include a description of the services that will be provided, price and payment, limitation of liability, confidentiality and ownership of intellectual property (ownership rights to both IP created before the services are supplied and to that created in the course of the provision of the services) and termination of the agreement.

There may also be alternative dispute resolution procedures specified, such as using mediation before litigation. This can be beneficial to smaller businesses that may not be able to afford litigation to resolve problems relating to relatively lower value services.

There may also be other legal requirements that need to be addressed within the contract in order for it to be compliant with the law. For example, you might require that the contract is GDPR compliant - that is that it complies with the requirements under data protection law to set out how personal data is processed by the two parties.

If you are a self-employed contractor, making sure that the relationship does not fall under the IR35 rules is also likely to be important. While the terms of your contract cannot ensre that the relationship is not one of 'disguised employment', a services contract is one good indicator that the relationship is not employment, particularly if it specifically addresses the features of a relationship that tend to indicate independence (such as provision of your own equipment).

What is a service level agreement?

A service level agreement (often abbreviated to SLA) are the terms that define the level of service that the provider will give, such as the quantity or volume of the work, the quality and speed. It may also address what happens if the agreed minimum standards fall.

Service level agreements tend to be used where the level of the service provided can be measured and varied.

A service level agreement may be part of a broader services agreement if the services provided can be succinctly described, or it may form a schedule or addendum to the main agreement, or it may be a completely separate document.

The advantage of breaking out the service level agreement from the main contract is that if the level of service is likely to change more frequently than the general agreement to provide those services, the SLA can be reviewed, and if necessary amended, without affecting the other contract. It may be that the client expects standards to increase over time or it may be that there are discrete pieces of work to be carried out and later ones will only be defined and/or awarded on the completion of earlier ones.

What is a statement of work?

A statement of work is similar to a service level agreement in that it is a statement or schedule separate to the main governing agreement that sets out the specifics of a particular piece of work. It may reference the main contract so that if further work is carried out, instead of having to prepare and agree all contractual terms, the terms of the original contract apply to a specification of new work.

Like a service level agreement, using a statement of work reduces the administrative burden of changing the main umbrella contract for new pieces of work.

The terms under which you work

Service agreements are usually the non-negotiable terms and conditions under which the service provider works. That isn't to say that the customer cannot ask to change them (particularly if there is an SLA or statement of work), but it is the provider that usually drafts the terms and puts them to their client.

By and large in a business to business relationship you are free to set the terms you want.

That means:

  • the rights and obligations of the customer can be defined by the provider, including obligations such as to provide equipment and materials, to have gained any necessary permissions for the work, and to have access to the premises when required

  • the contractor can insist that additional expenses incurred in carrying out the work are reimbursed by the customer (such as travel expenses to premises), although the customer may want those over a certain amount to be pre-approved and for receipts to be provided

  • payment terms could be anything, including full or partial payment in advance and a deposit

  • rights to change the services rate, most likely within limits and with reasonable notice

  • limitation of liability of the service provider for damage or loss the client's business as a result of the work carried out (where it would be reasonable to do so)

Similar contract templates

If the services you provide are consultancy services, one of our consultancy agreement templates is likely to be more suitable.

If you are providing services through a website or app, you may want to look at our website terms and conditions templates.

All these types of agreements are contracts for services.

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