Your SOW is a key part of your contract. In many cases, it’s the first thing your client reads (and maybe the only thing). More than just explaining project details, if used correctly the SOW can be an important tool for avoiding scope creep, controlling the client, and getting paid. 

Here is outline of key sections to include in every SOW.

  • Project Background and Goals. Use what you’ve learned from the client to communicate your understanding of the project and its goals. Before signing, go over this section with your client and ask Does this describe your goals for this project? Do you have other goals?” Scope creep and unhappy clients are often due to unstated expectations. This step will help flesh out those details.
  • Scope of Work.
    • Included Work. When describing your deliverables, also describe the services you’ll use to create the deliverables. Be reasonably detailed here. The more detailed you are the easier it will be to identify a client request as out of scope.
    • Excluded Work. Sometimes the best way to say what something is, is to say what it isn’t. So, include a section of work that is expressly excluded from scope. Did you pitch something that the client said no” to? List it here. Do clients always seem to mistakenly assume that certain work is included? List it here. Are there things you simply don’t or won’t do (e.g., IP clearance searches, regulatory compliance)? List it here.
  • Specifications. If the client has any technical or functional specifications for the work, include them here. You can also include testing criteria to better identify when something is done.
  • Client Obligations. List all the things you are assuming the client will do to keep the project running smoothly. This can include things like delivering content by a particular date, providing feedback within a certain amount of time of any request, or providing access to a particular service. Make clear that if the client repeatedly or materially fails to fulfill its obligations, that you can stop work or, in dire situations, get out of the contract.
  • Fees and Payment. Everyone knows to include these things in an SOW. But don’t forget things like: termination fees if the client bails on the project early, restart fees if the client pauses the project, and details to consider in drafting a retainer clause.
  • Signature. Yep, this matters. Get it signed. Doesn’t have to be a wet-ink signature. Online signature software is fine as is a picture of a printed (and signed) page. 

Does your SOW need a tune up? Look us up. We can help.