How To Read Your IT Consultant Contract: The Essentials
Dan Levenson August 25, 2015
While working as an IT consultant (or any other kind of consultant, for that matter), it’s imperative to have an understanding of basic contract essentials for your legal safety. Even if you already know your client well and think problems won’t occur while you work for them, things can still go awry. And for any job you do where you’re new to a business, the list of things that could go wrong is potentially endless.
A more detailed contract only helps protect you and your client in the long run since any litigation over disputes could cost you both in legal fees. Excessive litigation only leads to losses for everybody other than the lawyers representing you.
That’s why you need to look at every aspect of who you’ll be working for, your contract with them, and what entanglements could occur. While you can add those items as general provisions at the end of your contract, you have some important contractual elements to work with first. Many of these are obligations that apply to any type of consultancy work.
NOTE: Please keep in mind that we are not attorneys. While the information below will help point you in the right direction, you should always contact your attorney to review and approve any contract you receive before signing.
Details About the Services
The first section of your IT consultant contract should always outline the services you’ll render and what it entails to avoid any contradictions. Your first subsection here should include a detailed account of the type of services you’re expected to do, no matter how many paragraphs it takes. Creating an outline is more organized so you can break some of the services down into separate parts if it involves multiple tasks.
IT consultancy services most likely mean dozens of different tasks to help make the business you’re working for run more efficiently.
Afterward, mention applicable billing rates, which should include any service fees. This is where some of the biggest contractual disputes occur, so it pays to have a separate section later more clearly outlining who gets paid and when.
To end this section, detail any terms or conditions. You can additionally make this a separate section that more specifically indicates terms and conditions acceptance for both sides.
Obligations and Termination
In the middle section, indicate what you’ll do with the services you and your client agreed to. While it may seem redundant to state this in a contract, it confirms you both agreed to what the services are and for the time frame allotted.
How long an IT consultant contract is in effect also matters, which means you have to indicate when the contract is officially terminated. Make it clear what dates the contract starts and the exact end date. Don’t get careless with dates; it only creates longer disputes about when the contract was actually executed.
Keeping Information Confidential
When you work for businesses, you inevitably tap into databases and see private information on hundreds of employees or customers. It’s important to list confidentiality agreements in your contract so you promise not to disclose any private data to which you’re exposed.
It works the other way as well, where the business agrees not to maliciously use any private information incurred from your consultants. Indicate how any breach of private information terminates the contract immediately.
Warranties and Extra Provisions
You no doubt have warranties on your work, and you need to state this in clear form on the contract. Businesses will rely on warranties because sometimes technical mishaps get discovered weeks or months after the work gets done.
Adding any extra provisions at the end of your contract is up to you and the business’s particular situation. Elements like contract modifications or how you communicate with your client can go here for more refinement of how you’ll both work together.
Companies that hire consultants or independent contractors will likely require a proof of insurance certificate before any work can begin. This should be laid out clearly in the contract so that both parties know what documentation is expected and what type of coverage will be required. You should contact your insurance professional to help you get the paperwork in order.
We at InsureYourCompany.com work with many tech consultants and IT companies to ensure that they have the proper insurance coverage and documentation for their work. Find out more about how we can help you and your company cover all of your bases to that end.