Contracts for Consulting

Jul. 14, 2020 by

Welcome to the 5th lesson in the Consulting Crash Course

In this section we're going to cover:

  • Consulting agreements
  • NDAs or non-disclosure agreements
  • SOWs - statements of work
  • General contract advice

Consulting Agreement

It's important to sign a consulting contract so there are no disputes over billing and engagement. 

The main points you want to cover are: 

  • the client is hiring your business as an independent contractor
  • how much you should be paid
  • how often you should be paid
  • how you should be paid
  • who owns the rights to the work
  • signatures/dates from both parties.

Here are some sample consulting agreement templates.

DevCo Consulting Template
PandaDoc Independent Contractor Template
DocSketch Independent Contractor Template

Note that the contract is usually biased toward the party that wrote it. If possible, get clients to sign your contract. Rather than you signing their contract.

If you have to sign their contract, read it carefully and make sure things like rate, frequency of billing, and project completion are well understood. If you disagree or don’t understand something in the contact, discuss it with the client.

Minor modifications can be made before signing by clearly indicating the change and initialing it. If the client agrees, the should sign their initials too.

NDAs - Non-Disclosure Agreements

An NDA stands for non-disclosure agreement and is used to make sure you or the client won't share secrets or sensitive information about the project. Many clients will want you to sign one of these before starting work.

NDAs will vary from project to project but here are some NDA templates.

PandaDoc NDA Template
Various Industry NDA Templates

SOWs - Statement of Work

SOW stands for statement of work and it's similar to a consulting agreement but covers the specific work you'll be providing. This helps determine what the billable work is and can be used to settle any disputes. It helps you manage expectations so you're not on the hook for something you didn't agree to or something you think you should be paid for.

SOWs vary from project to project but here are some templates.

PandaDoc SOW Template
Word Templates Online SOW Info & Template

General Advice

It isn't a good idea to create legal documents from scratch. Unless you really know what you doing. Start with a template or ask to see a colleagues contract and modify it for your needs.

Various contract templates can be found at 

It's a good idea to find an attorney if you need help drafting a document that is specific to your industry. You can find an attorney through referrals or online research. More on choosing an attorney from WikiHow. 

That's all for this lesson. In Contracts for Consultants we'll cover ways to find contracts and consulting clients.

If you found this useful, please share it and try HoursLogger if you need time tracking and invoicing for your business. 

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