7 best consulting contract templates for any service

Discover the best consulting contract templates to help you look professional when signing new clients for your service business.

Consulting contract template

When I started selling consulting services for the first time, I made a lot of mistakes. Mainly, I didn’t have a solid contract in place before I kicked off my first project.

I didn’t think it was that necessary. I was working with a non-profit and there was a verbal agreement on what the scope of work would be. Rookie mistake on my part.

I definitely needed a contract in place. As the project continued, the client kept asking for additional requests, “scope creep” if you will. And I soon realized that I actually had no written agreement on the work terms. So in theory, the client had every right to continue asking for extra help.

When the project finally ended, I vowed that I would never start a new project without having a contract in place. But the thing is, I’m not a legal expert. And chances are, if you’re reading this, you aren’t either.

The good news is that there are tons of free consulting contract templates you can use for running your service business — regardless of the type of service you’re providing.

These templates make sure you include all the correct details, agreements, and clauses to complete a successful project without problems. And in this article, we’ll break down the 7 best consulting contract templates in various niches.

Do I need a contract for consulting work?

A consulting contract is critical in any industry or line of work. Whether you're a seasoned consultant or just sinking your toes into the industry, understanding the importance of a consulting contract is critical.

Regardless of the nature, scale, or duration of the project, a well-crafted contract is the basis of the entire relationship.

Here's why:

  • Clarity and expertise: When signing a contract, is there anything more important than clarity? Both parties must know precisely where they stand. Thankfully, a consulting contract outlines the scope of work, timelines, deliverables, and responsibilities; this ensures everyone is on the same page, minimizing the chances of disputes.
  • Legal protection: Consulting contracts are essential for providing legal protection and minimizing the risk of costly legal disputes. Not only do they protect you, but they also protect your client. The contract will define payment terms, termination clauses, and confidentiality agreements.
  • Professionalism and credibility: For your business to provide the maximum professionalism — a key ingredient for success — you need a consulting contract. It instills confidence in your clients, and it shows your commitment to professional standards and transparency. In turn, this means there’s a higher chance of solid business deals.
  • Risk management: There are often many unforeseen circumstances in the business world, some of which can destroy your business if you’re not careful. That said, a consulting contract provides risk management by protecting you from unforeseen circumstances, resolving disputes, and making sure both parties are properly protected.
  • Reference and documentation: A contract is an important reference point for either party. It offers a documented record of the agreed-upon terms and is a point of reference.

A consulting contract is paramount for your business. However, if it fails to include the right things, it could be a waste of your time and effort, which brings us to our next point.

What should a consulting contract include?

There are specific components that should be in every consulting contract, such as the scope of work, payment terms, and much more.

Let’s break them down:

Scope of work

It’s critical to define the scope of work when creating a consulting contract. Many disagreements between parties occur when you don’t define the scope of work, leading to frustrating and costly legal issues.

Therefore, you must outline the specific scope of work. The client should also agree to these terms with you before signing the contract.

Timelines and milestones

One of the biggest disputes that occurs between parties is the timeline of a project. If it’s not defined and agreed upon by both parties—countless legal issues can begin.

However, that’s not an issue if you define the timeline and milestones of the project in the consulting contract.

Payment terms

There can be many frustrating disagreements between companies, but clashes on the payment terms can be the most irritating. After all, who wants to wait for payment after completing a project?

Thankfully, a consulting contract will prevent that if it includes payment terms. You should also define the payment methods accepted for the transaction to guarantee smooth invoicing and payments.

Confidentially and non-disclosure

You must include confidentiality and non-disclosure terms in the consulting contract. That way, you’ll prevent either party from leaking sensitive information into the public domain, potentially causing legal complications.

However, you’ll be fine if your consultancy contract includes the types of information considered confidential and you outline the non-disclose terms in the contract.

Intellectual Property (IP) rights

IP rights can be one of the largest and most expensive clashes between companies when a contract isn’t signed and clearly defined before work takes place, especially between companies with media properties.

A consultancy contract, however, should clearly define IP rights between two parties. That will prevent any confusion, clashes, and legal issues.

Termination and Dispute Resolution

You should ensure that your termination and dispute resolution are clearly defined in the contract. If the work doesn’t run smoothly — which is unfortunately common — you need these terms in the contract to prevent issues.

Therefore, define the notice periods, conditions for termination, and the process for resolving disputes. Likewise, state whether dispute resolution goes through mediation, arbitration, or litigation.

7 best consulting contract templates for any service

The best way to provide a strong consulting contract is to use a contract template. It will include everything you need to avoid disputes, including timelines, milestones, payment terms, the terms of work, etc.

Here are the top 7 consulting contract templates:

  1. General consulting service
  2. IT consulting services
  3. HR consulting services
  4. Marketing consulting services
  5. Legal consulting services
  6. Sales consulting services
  7. Strategy consulting services

Alright, let’s take a look at each template.

1. General consulting service template

General consulting services template

A general service consulting template is an excellent option if you work with clients in various industries.

For instance, this template will benefit management consultants, business consultants, technology consultants, and financial consultants. However, it’s also a superb option if you’re just starting; it lays the groundwork for all the basics without overcomplicating things.

It will include all the critical components, such as rights, data, and intellectual property rights. It will also cover confidentiality and non-disclose terms, tax information, payment details, dispute resolution, and governing law.

A fantastic option for a general consulting service template is Bonsai. You can check this template yourself. It includes dispute resolution, governing law, payment terms, and much more.

2. IT consulting services template

IT consulting services template

If you work in the IT industry, it’s wise to use an IT consulting services template. It will be tailored to the IT sector, offering unique details that are integral for vigorous IT contractual agreements.

For instance, a key component of an IT consulting services template is technical specifications. The template can outline the specific technologies, platforms, and systems used in the project. As a result, that provides alignment between the two parties.

Data security and compliance are also incredibly important in the IT industry, such as data protection measures, compliance with regulations such as GDPR or HIPAA, and responsibilities for data breach notification.

Another important aspect of an IT consulting services template is service level agreements (SLAs.) Incorporating these will outline performance metrics and service expectations, reducing disagreements between the two parties.

If you work in IT and you need an IT consulting services template, look no further than PandaDoc. It includes all the key things you require: confidentiality, IP rights, indemnity, governance and dispute resolution, and acceptance.

3. HR consulting services template

HR consulting services template

If you’re an HR consultant, you must adhere to strict privacy regulations and agreements between both parties. That’s why an HR consulting services template is a brilliant option for protecting you and your client.

For example, HR consulting services templates typically include HR policies and procedures. These include advising clients on the development, implementation, and revision of HR policies.

In addition, HR consulting services templates often have employee relations and conflict resolution terms for sensitive topics, such as employee relations issues and grievances within the client’s business. It’s important to cover these in the agreement.

Another key component of an HR consulting services template is performance management and training. An agreement beforehand outlines your responsibilities for performance appraisal tools, conducting training sessions, and evaluating training effectiveness.

An excellent option if you need a consulting contract template for HR is eForms. The form outlines important terms, such as services provided, compensation, payment, expenses, and the length of the term.

4. Marketing consulting services template

Marketing consulting services template

In the marketing industry, you may need a marketing consulting services template. It will guarantee clarity between both parties in many ways, such as brand positioning and messaging and digital marketing campaigns.

For instance, a marketing consulting template may include marketing strategy development, such as market research, competition, and target audiences. That will make sure the scope of work is defined between both parties.

Digital marketing campaigns are also critical in modern-day marketing — including social media marketing, SEO, email marketing, content marketing, and much more. A marketing consulting services template could also outline your role in the digital marketing side.

In many cases, you’ll also need to consult your client on marketing analytics and measurement. The marketing consulting services template may include provisions related to marketing analytics, reporting frequency, and much more.

A great option if you need a marketing consulting services template is Legaltemplates. The template includes details about the parties, including name, address, and contact information.

Legal consulting services template

If there’s any industry you need to protect yourself in when consulting, it’s the legal industry. There are many possible disagreements in the legal field, so using a legal consulting services template that’s directly focused on the legal industry is critical.

For example, you may consult your clients on contracts, drafting, and negotiation. These can be expensive disputes if not outlined in the consulting contract template. Some legal consulting contracts, however, will cover details around existing contacts, possible legal risks, and contract amendments.

In addition, IP rights are hugely important in the legal industry. You may need to assist your client on IP issues like trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets. A legal consulting services template may detail your involvement in these issues.

If you provide corporate governance and compliance to your clients, you may need to state this in the legal consulting contract. It could include your agreement in preparing legal documents and providing legal advice in these highly complex matters.

If you’re looking for a legal consulting services template, LegalZoom could be your best friend. It covers your responsibilities, confidential information, warranties, compensation, representations, and reporting. It also includes termination terms, conflict of interest, and return of property.

6. Sales consulting services template

Sales consulting services template

If you’re in the sales industry and consulting clients on sales, it’s crucial to use a sales consulting contract template. Consulting clients on sales can be complex and costly for your client if the work doesn’t go as planned. That’s why a sales consulting services template is essential.

Many sales consulting service templates include the scope of work required. There’s a strong chance you’ll need to offer sales strategy development, sales training, and market analysis. If so, a sales consulting services template will define your role in these matters.

In addition, many sales consultants, due to the tough nature of sales, may require KPIs to measure effectiveness. If you don’t agree on KPIs with the client in the consulting contract template, it’s a recipe for disaster.

You may also need to use sales enablement tools, technology platforms, and digital channels to boost your client's sales. If so, you should outline your role with these tools in the sales consulting services template.

A brilliant sales consulting contract template is Prior Illegal. It provides you with the key sales contract fundamentals, including notices, governing law, the scope of work, confidentiality, and termination details.

7. Strategy consulting services template

Strategy consulting contract template

If you’re a strategy consultant, a strategy consulting services template is fundamental to protect you and your client from conflicts. If the work doesn’t go as intended and the strategy isn’t successful, you’ll need full security.

It’s critical to detail the scope of work when you’re delivering strategy direction. Many strategy consultants will offer market entry and expansion strategies, organizational design and restructuring, and mergers and acquisitions. Clarifying the terms in the consulting contract template is fundamental.

Furthermore, it’s important to lay out the terms of KPIs before you advise clients on strategy. The agreement can define the KPIs, the metrics, and the benchmarks for success. Therefore, your responsibilities will be clearly explained.

You also need to understand the client's vision and goals, which could be laid out in the strategy consulting contract template. For example, it will define their mission, vision, values, and strategic goals. It can also determine how your role will help them achieve these goals.

There are many strategy consulting services templates, but TemplateLab is a fantastic option. The template includes key details like payment terms, the scope of work, notices, termination, governing law, and much more.

Create and send contracts with Copilot

Sending contacts can be stressful, complicated, and time-consuming — especially if you’re working with clients in various sectors. That said, creating and sending contacts with the Copilot contracts app is the most straightforward method.

The app gives you everything you need to sign contracts rapidly. Better still, you can go beyond contracts and offer messaging, billing, and share files directly with clients.

It will make creating those all-important consulting contracts far much easier. Find out more today!