Consulting Best Practices

Contractual Documents Used in Consulting

The worst kinds of arguments are the arguments over money. In order to prevent hostile blowouts over things like money, contracts came into existence. In a post at his blog, Lew Sauder details some of the basic contractual documents with which consultants should familiarize themselves to avoid sticky situations.

Write It Down

Sauder knew a friend who decided to get into consulting, and so that guy consulted for another friend. They had a handshake agreement, and when the time came to pay up, the two had very different ideas of how much they had agreed for the price. A strained relationship and incomplete payment resulted.

One of the many documents that could have prevented this is a master services agreement (MSA), an agreement between a consulting firm and the client at the outset of the work relationship. It dictates things like billing rate, payment terms, and how to resolve disputes across various projects that might be engaged in together. Another document is the statement of work (SOW):

An SOW is written for a specific project to be performed by a consulting firm. It is often a rider to the MSA, referencing any specifics, such as rates. The SOW defines the specific work that will be performed, the duration in which it should be performed, and the deliverables that will be provided.

Other information that may be included in the SOW is the project purpose, scope of the work, and any special requirements that may be unique enough to spell out.

Then of course there are requests for proposals (RFPs), which a client sends out to vendors soliciting their proposals for work to be completed. Lastly, there is the similar request for quote (RFQ), which is mostly just asking for a price. Be knowledgeable of how each of these documents applies in order to best protect yourself as a consultant.

You can read the original post here:

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