Contracts for services are essential tools for a professional relationship. They provide clearly defined parameters for both the service provider and the receiver or client. Without a contract, misunderstandings can develop, especially if the expectations differ. This could lead to serious consequences including a court case.
There are several reasons why a person may need to create a contract for services. It may be as simple as entering into an agreement with a college student to maintain a garden, or as complicated as consulting for financial or marketing services for a small business. In either case, it’s important that the contract for services be legally binding.
first step to consider
The first step to consider is if the two parties entering into contract are both have the capacity to enter a contract. Each party must be a legal adult, of sound mind and free of mental incapacity that blocks their understanding of the terms of the contract.
There are different laws in different states about minors entering into contract. Being of sound mind means the person is not intoxicated or impaired by drugs or prescription medication.
A contract for services need not be long and involved. Often, a simple basic agreement is the best. It should contain:
- A description of the services that will be performed.
- The timing of the service whether it is to be performed at a certain time each day or whether there is a time limit for the service such as three months or one year.
- A contract termination agreement. The contract should clearly state how either the provider or the client can terminate the contract.
- The names of both of the parties involved. It should give the name and address of the client and service provider
- The payment terms. The terms should be clearly explained along with the provider’s recourse if payment is not made and what will happen if the service is not performed.
It’s important for the payment schedule to be very clear so that neither the client nor provider can make insubstantial claims.
Some of the points that may be included in the contract are:
- Upfront fees
- Milestone fees as the work progresses
- Payment for completed work if the client cancels the contract
- Late fees if the client doesn’t pay as agreed
The contract should be properly signed to make it binding. The first step before signing is to make sure it’s the right version of the required contract. There may be several drafts before the final is written.
The contract also needs to be dated in order to be valid and enforceable. It can state the agreement is effective as of a particular date. Consumers should beware that the contract should be for something legal. If the goods or services are illegal, the contract is also not legally binding.
Below is a sample contract for the services of a dog walker.
Sample Contract For Services
This is a contract entered into by the Client, Name and Address of Client, and the service Provider, Name and Address of Provider that is valid on this date, DATE.
The Client hereby appoints the Provider for the services described under Designated Services. The Provider agrees to deliver the services and be paid according to the description under Scheduled Payment.
The Provider will take the Client’s two dogs, both beagles, for a 45 minute walk every day. The dogs will be on leashes and may be taken to the local park Name of Park.
The provider will go to the Client’s house to get the dogs at or about 11:00 am and return them to the house after 45 minutes. If either dog has a bowel movement, the Provider will clean the area in the appropriate way.
If the Provider is not able to perform the above mentioned duties, the Provider will inform the Client at least 24 hours in advance unless the reason is an emergency.
The Client will pay the Provider thirty dollars $30 at the time the Provider brings the dogs back to the house after the walk. At that time, the Provider will sign a receipt for the payment.
If the Client fails to pay on time, the Client will add five dollars $5 to the salary the next time the Provider walks the dogs. If the Provider fails to walk the dogs, no payment will be given.
This contract is governed by the laws of the County of COUNTY in the state of STATE and any applicable federal laws.
This contract can be terminated by either the Client or Provider one week, seven days, in advance of the termination date.
The authorized agents the Client and Provider affix their signature to the terms of the above agreement.
Signature of Client DATE
Printed Name of Client
Signature of Provider DATE
Printed Name of Provider