Service Agreement Solicitors
As a business owner or employer, it is essential that you have a legally sound service agreement when buying in services or supplying them.
Whether you are hiring a contractor or consultant to assist with the day-to-day aspects of your business, or it is a one-off commission, our employment law solicitors can provide the straightforward advice that you need.
How Barcan+Kirby’s employment lawyers can help
Our employment law solicitors have proven experience in advising employers and business owners on drafting employment contracts and service agreements.
There is not always a one-size-fits-all solution to these documents and our solicitors ensure that they are tailored to your business’ needs, as well as being drafted to avoid pitfalls or disputes further down the line.
Our employment law solicitors can advise you on:
- Consultancy agreements
- Contractor agreements
- Cleaning agreements
- Commission agreements
- Self-employed and worker agreements
- Employment contracts
Contractor agreements and consulting agreements
A contractor agreement, also known as a consulting agreement, formalises a working arrangement between a client and a freelance or self-employed contractor who provides services for that client.
A common example of where such an agreement would be used is where a business hires a freelance web designer to create a new website (in this case, the agreement may be referred to as a freelance services contract)
Who is a contractor?
A contractor provides services to another person or business on a self-employed basis. Examples of independent contractors or consultants include:
- Tradesperson, e.g. an electrician or plumber
- A handyman
- A photographer
- A cleaner
- A gardener
- Personal Assistants
What should be included in a contractor agreement?
A contractor or consulting contract typically contains:
- What the consultant is being hired to do
- How often the contractor will be paid, e.g. hourly rate or fixed fee, including any understandings regarding tax
- Whether the contract is on a fixed term, for a specific project, or on an open-ended basis
- Whether the consultant’s expenses will be paid for, and if so, how and when they will be reimbursed
- Who will provide what work equipment and facilities
- Whether the consultant has a duty not to disclose confidential information outside of the working agreement
- How any agreement can be terminated
Do I need this type of agreement?
In short, yes. A contract for services agreement clearly sets out the terms of a working contract and reduces the chances of any misunderstanding or conflict between parties.
Written service and employment agreements are also needed for taxation and auditing purposes within a business.
A commission agreement or contract sets out the terms and conditions for an artist who is creating a commissioned piece of work. Commission agreements will normally specify dates for the project or work, payment dates or schedules and any requirements or limitations.
Do I need to set up a commission contract?
If you have asked an individual to create a specific piece of work, or been asked to create one, particularly if it’s a significant project or of a higher value, it is advisable to draw up a commission agreement. These contracts keep all parties accountable and define both your expectations as a business owner and that of the artist.
Commission agreements protect business owners in the same way that any other contract or agreement would when working with individuals or suppliers. However, they also protect the artist as it ensures that they are paid on time and have the knowledge that they will be legally protected should the professional relationship break down or in the unlikely event that there is a dispute.
What should be included in a commission agreement?
A commission contract will generally include:
- A summary of what the project is, who the artist is and what work will be carried out.
- Payment terms and plans. Sometimes, an artist will be expected to pay a certain amount upfront for their materials and this is reimbursed once the project or commission is complete.
- Who owns the work once the project is complete, details on reproduction or usage rights and whether the work is allowed to be loaned or re-sold.
There are various advantages for employers hiring self-employed contractors. The main one is that they only pay that individual for a set project or length of time for their expertise and skills, rather than employing someone on a continuous basis and for a salary. There is also no obligation for an employer to provide benefits such as a pension, as they would for an employed individual.
However, hiring someone on a self-employed basis does come with its challenges. Although self-employed individuals have more control over the work that they choose to do, who for, and at what cost, self-employed individuals do not benefit from the level of legal protection that employed people do.
To protect both you as an employer and a self-employed individual, having a self-employed agreement in place is vital. This document can set out the specific services the individual has been contracted to carry out, a clause about sharing confidential information and the process for invoicing. A self-employed agreement can also specify whether the individual is permitted to sub-contract their work or not and what notice of termination is required.
Need advice on service agreements? Get in touch with our employment lawyers
For expert advice on writing a service agreement or contract, our employment lawyers can help. We advise employers and businesses across the UK from our offices in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, in Bedminster, Bishopston, Kingswood, Queen Square and Thornbury.