When an individual or business hires a contractor to perform services, the party should sign a service contract agreement. The service contract agreement will define the terms of the individual or business’s work for a client. The contract should include the scope of the work, the fees, and the deadline for when the work should be completed. Some service contracts also define the terms of an extended warranty on a product.
Discuss Your Service Agreement With a Pittsburgh Contract Attorneys
The experienced contract attorneys at Jones Gregg Creehan & Gerace have helped clients review, draft, and negotiate many different service contracts in various industries. We can help you draft a clear, legally enforceable service contract. Alternatively, if you are involved in a dispute over a service contract, we can effectively and assert your legal interests. Contact Jones Gregg Creehan & Gerace today to schedule your initial consultation.
What Is a Service Contract or Agreement?
When a client hires a contractor to perform a service in exchange for compensation, the service contract defines the specific terms of that arrangement. For example, a business owner who would like to expand and add several offices to their office building may hire a construction company to do the work. Before starting the work, the business owner and the construction company owner would sign a service contract. The contract would explain what services will be performed, the price for the services, and a deadline, if any, for the completion of the project.
Common Types of Service Contracts
Sometimes service providers are called freelancers or independent contractors. They may be in business for themselves and seek payment on a job for job basis. These independent contractors are not employees of a company. Instead, they work for themselves and sign service agreements with all of their customers before starting a project. Service agreements are common in all of the following types of service industries:
- Adult daycare or nanny services
- Web programming or development
- Writing, editing, or translating
- Graphic illustration or design
- Website design
- Marketing, branding, public relations
- Special events services such as bartending, live entertainment, catering, and serving
In addition to these industries, many other businesses rely on service contracts. Professionals can use service contracts to outline the scope of their work, ensure that they are paid the proper amount, and protect their interests. Service contracts are straightforward and relatively affordable ways to formalize a service agreement between a client and a service provider.
Drafting a Legally Valid Service Agreement
Today, many business owners and individuals are turning to online legal services to purchase boilerplate contracts. While purchasing a boilerplate contract can be less expensive than discussing the contract with a business law attorney, it can also have negative consequences. Boilerplate contracts are called boilerplates for a reason. These types of contracts will not take the individual facts of your case and your unique needs into account.
One of the most important aspects of a service contract is the description of the services to be rendered. If this section is overly vague, the party seeking the work may be disappointed and unable to enforce the contract. If you are a service provider, and the section discussing the work you will be doing is overly vague, a dispute could arise. Instead of risking a potentially expensive legal dispute down the road, it’s wise to work with an experienced contract attorney who can review your service contracts and ensure they are up to par.
Remedies for Breach of a Service Contract
Unfortunately, not everyone follows the provisions of service contracts. When one party cannot or chooses not to fulfill their obligations under the service contract, the other party may have a legal right to sue them for breach of contract. Service contracts are legally enforceable in Pennsylvania courts. Sometimes the parties can work out an agreement outside of court. Suppose a startup business hired a graphic designer to finish their logo by a specific date, but the graphic designer could not finish the logo on time. In that case, the business owner could agree to give an extension for the graphic designer to reduce the fee proportionately.
In other cases, the parties cannot come to a solution to the breach of contract voluntarily. When a party engages in a material breach of a service contract, the other party can sue to recover damages. The party suing for damages will need to show that the damages were reasonably foreseeable when the parties entered into the service contract and reasonably certain. The victim of a breach of a service contract can recover lost profits, lost rental income, increased rental costs, increase labor costs, and increase material costs. If the party that breached the contract acted egregiously, they may be entitled to additional damages.
Arbitration and Service Contracts
If you are involved in a breach of contract matter, it’s wise to reach out to an experienced contract attorney as soon as possible. Depending on the terms of the contract, you may be required to enter into arbitration. For example, the contract may say that if a dispute arises, both parties must submit themselves to an arbiter. Arbitration isn’t required in the contract. The aggrieved party can discuss the case with an attorney and file a lawsuit. In most contract dispute cases, the court requires one party to pay damages to the other party.
Discuss Your Case WIth a Pittsburgh Service Contract Attorney
Pennsylvania residents sign service contracts every day. Most of the time, service contracts come and go without any issues. However, disputes involving service contracts can and do arise. Are you involved in a service contract dispute? Would you benefit from a skilled attorney reviewing your service contract before signing it? If so, contact Jones Gregg Creehan & Gerace. One of our skilled Pittsburgh contract attorneys will carefully review your situation and offer you skilled, experienced legal advice. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.