Episode 182: Defining Your Scope of Services in a Contract

contracts solo show Jul 08, 2021

On today's episode, I continue the Contract Series with the importance of outlining your scope of services as a way to avoid the dreaded "Scope Creep."


Scope of services is what I view as one of the two most important parts of a contract. Typically we enter a contract because we are selling something in exchange for money. The contract needs to define what it is we are giving the client (product, service, etc.) and what they are giving us in return (money, exchange, etc.).


In a barebones, napkin contract, you'd have the names of the parties, what it is you are offering (scope) and what it is you are receiving in return (payment terms).


Scope creep is a very real thing, often happening to service-based business providers when the client starts to ask for more and more things (often little by little) that are not explicitly highlighted in the contract.


If you have multiple packages available, you will want to have a contract template for each level of services. You want to make sure you don't provide anything in a higher package to someone who has a contract for a lower package. The question then becomes, what if someone wants one "small" task that's part of a higher package, but they don't need the full package.


One of the clearest contracts I've seen comes from my book coach, Jodi Brandon. Her scope of work said "this package includes line editing text to correct spelling, punctuation, grammar and usage Stylistic editing for clarity, flow, cohesiveness, tone and readability. Consistent styling of elements such as numbers, capitalization and hyphenation, title suggestions or subheadings and chapters. This package does not include manuscript formatting or fact checking."


It's also helpful to include clear deadlines in your contract, both for you and for when your clients are expected to respond to any edits you send over.


I always recommend including an additional services provision for when clients are looking for services beyond the original scope. And if a client wants more because they love your work, it's a compliment and if you have a pricing list for commonly requested additions, it can streamline your process.


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