What you need to have in a Contract for Services

As a self-employed freelancer or contractor working on projects for clients, it’s important to have a contract for services that covers all of the essential clauses needed to ensure you are protected from a legal and tax point of view.

This way, if a client doesn’t pay you on time or they try to say what you have delivered is not what you agreed, you can refer back to what has been stated and signed for in your legally binding contract. This will protect you if ever they try to take legal action and will also allow you to take legal action against them, if they don’t follow through on their part of the deal.

Close up of a contract being signed with a pen


In this article, Markel Direct explain why contract for services are important for self-employed professionals, what you need to have in a contract for services and how you can access a contract for services template, put together by a team of employment law specialists.

What is a contract for services?

A contract for services is a business-to-business legally binding contract, sometimes referred to as a ‘service agreement’.

This type of contract is used between a self-employed freelancer, contractor or consultant (working outside of IR35), and a business they are carrying out services for.

Why are contract for services important for self-employed professionals?

Getting your agreement with a client in writing is crucial as if you only confirm terms verbally, there is no evidence there to back you up if something goes wrong or a client becomes difficult.

Having a contract for services, for each contract you work on, will help to protect you from a legal point of view. If you and a client disagree on something, for example they don’t want the substitute you have supplied to do the work, they want you personally, you can refer to the clause in your contract where you have outlined your right to provide a substitute. Without a contract, it’s your word against theirs. In situations where there is a disagreement, it becomes difficult to prove what has been agreed.

What to include in a contract for services

There are some key terms that you need to have in your contract for services. Including these terms will increase your chances of being protected if something goes wrong or if you have an issue with your client.

Firstly, you’ll need to begin with adding the date and both the name of your limited company and the name of your client’s limited company. Then follow with adding in the key terms outlined below:

  • Time to be spent on the project
  • The work to be delivered
  • How will you be delivering the services?
  • Project delivery dates
  • How and when you will be paid for your work

For more free guidance on what to include in your contract for services, read Markel Direct’s full guide here.

Contract for services template

You can access a contract for services template, put together by a team of specialist solicitors on the Markel Law Hub. Access to the Markel Law hub is free for Markel Direct customers.

IPSE members can enjoy a 10% discount* on contractor insurance from Markel Direct, including professional indemnity, public liability, employers’ liability and more.

As well as having your business protected by an award-winning insurer, you’ll also gain access to the Law Hub, including:

  • 800+ DIY contracts, policies, forms, and letter templates
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  • Over 50,000 users
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IPSE have partnered with Markel Direct, a specialist insurer of contractors, freelancers, self-employed professionals and micro-businesses to offer a 10% discount* on contractor insurance to IPSE members.

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