Creating a service contract: a step-by-step guide to finding the right service contract template for your business
What is a service contract?
A service contract is a contract between a supplier and a customer that governs how the services are to be provided to that customer. The provisions of the service contract will vary depending on the specific services that it relates to.
What types of service contract templates are there and when to use them?
The term “services” is all-encompassing and includes a broad range of service types - from software as a service to day-to-day services for consumers.
Because of the wide range of service types, there are a number of different types of service contract templates for different scenarios - it can be overwhelming to know which one is right for your business. Use our flowchart to find out which service contract template suits your business’s needs - more detail about each of the service contract templates can be found below.
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Read on to find out more about each of the different types of service contract templates:
B2B - where services are provided to business customers, it is in the interest of both parties to document that relationship using a service contract template. No matter what the services are, having a clear contract in place removes any potential ambiguity and reduces the risk of disputes in the future. Our Services Agreement template can be found here.
B2C - where services are being provided to consumers, consumer protection laws require that a contract is written in a certain way and specific terms are included. For example, the contract should be easy to understand, fair and reasonable and include the statutory 14-day cooling-off period. Docue’s Services Agreement template includes an option for it to be used with consumer customers, with the consumer protection law contract requirements satisfied.
Signed contract vs T&Cs - Docue’s service contract template can be used in two ways. It can either be used to produce a written contract between a customer and the service provider (that both parties will sign), or alternatively to produce a set of terms and conditions that the service provider can incorporate into its contract with customers in another way (e.g. by referring to those terms and conditions in its order forms). Where the terms and conditions option is used, you can use our order form template to incorporate the terms and conditions into a contract with the customer.
Where the sale of services is being concluded online (e.g. via the supplier’s website), it is common for a set of terms and conditions for the supply of services to be used rather than a standalone contract that both parties physically sign. For example, customers are often asked to agree to the terms and conditions by ticking a box at the checkout stage. Docue's template Online Terms for the Supply of Services can be used for online sales.
Sometimes services are supplied alongside the licensing of software. For example, these services might include software support, installation or maintenance services. As the services are connected with the supply of the software, it is important that the service contract also includes licensing provisions for the software use and restrictions on use by the customer. Depending on how the software is made available to customers, one of the following service contract templates should be used:
Software Licence Agreement - where the customer is running the software from its own network or systems; or
Software as a Service (SaaS) Agreement - where the software is accessed from the supplier’s systems (or via a cloud-based platform).
Where the type of services being provided are recruitment services (e.g. helping businesses to recruit job candidates), there is a specific type of service contract template that should be used. Docue's recruitment services terms and conditions are specifically designed to provide a legal framework to govern how your business will engage with clients to source potential candidates.
Multiple services or projects
Sometimes, a supplier may be engaged by a customer to provide a range of different services over time. For example, an IT supplier may provide consultancy services, software support services and hardware maintenance and be asked to provide each of these services at different points in time.
Where this happens, a framework agreement should be entered into that allows the customer to engage the supplier on multiple occasions and for multiple services. This can be done by entering into a master services agreement that sets out the overall legal relationship between the parties. Each time the customer wants to engage the supplier, the parties will then agree on a statement of work that sets out the specific detail of the services or project required (e.g. the service scope, the cost and any service levels that apply).
What type of service contract template do I need if I also supply goods / products to the customer?
If goods are being sold to a customer alongside providing services, the type of service contract you will need is a supply of goods and services agreement. For example, if you sell electronic devices to customers, but also offer installation services alongside that, this template would be more suitable than one that just covers services.
This type of service contract contains clauses relating to both the supply of goods and the supply of services and terms for both B2B and B2C relationships.
There are a wide range of service contract templates available for different situations. Find out which one suits your business best using the tips and flowchart above. Still unsure? Contact Docue for more information.
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