Consulting Contract Guidelines and Examples


Quick Summary
Guidelines for creating consulting contracts, including typical information covered (work description, payment terms, intellectual property ownership) and two sample contracts. For project contractors, consultants, or the project managers or functional managers hiring them.


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What this is

The legal language of project management contracts can seem obscure, but the provisions it outlines are often critical to healthy contract relations. Veteran consultants have learned the importance of clauses detailing payment terms, termination agreements, intellectual property ownership, and other sticky situations. These guidelines discuss typical elements of PM consulting contracts and example contract language that may be used by people contracting on a project, consultants providing advisory services, or project managers and functional managers hiring consultants or contractors to work on their projects. It also includes advice on due diligence to perform before signing on the dotted line. Two sample contracts are provided.


Why it's useful

This guideline was prepared with the following learned-from-experience facts in mind:

  • The legalese of contracts can look obscure but contains very important provisions related to ownership of the intellectual property used in a consulting engagement.
  • Veteran consultants have learned to put in particular clauses related to payment terms, termination agreements, and so forth to deal with sticky real-world situations.
  • Expectation-setting can take different forms in the contract, from a basic one-sentence description of the consulting job, to a list of contract deliverables, to a full multi-page Statement of Work. It's critical to get it right for your situation so that everyone agrees with the deliverables and results the contract should provide.

The guideline also provides 2 examples of full legal consulting agreements which can be modified to create your own contract.


How to use it

Read the guidelines material starting on page 2, including Typical Standard Contract Items and Other Items for Due Diligence When Considering an Assignment. Consider which terms are appropriate for the type of consulting work you are considering (or that you are engaging a consultant or firm to fulfill on your project). Then review the sample contracts provided, both for the total set of terms included for the two different situations represented, and for how the typical contract terms have been translated into a legal document. The two examples included cover:

  • General time and materials by an consultant with a general description of consulting work.
  • Engineering development contract by a consulting firm with a detailed statement of work.

Use all or parts of the example contract wording as desired, adjusting the typical terms as appropriate for your situation.


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