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How to Draft A Contract For Services: A Comprehensive Guide

Author : Shashwat Srivastava

Updated On : July 27, 2023


Reader's Digest: If you're looking to learn how to draft a contract for services, don't miss out on our essential guide! Crafting a solid agreement is crucial for protecting your interests and ensuring a successful working relationship. Don't take any risks, read on to safeguard your business!

In the business world, it is crucial to have a clear and well-defined agreement when providing services to clients.

A Service Agreement, also known as a contract for services, plays a vital role in outlining the terms and conditions of the service being provided.

Whether you are engaged in construction, coaching, consulting, or any other professional service in India, learning how to draft a contract for services comprehensively is essential.

This article will guide you through the process of creating an effective contract for services in India.

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Understanding the Importance of a Service Agreement

  • A Service Agreement serves as a legal contract that governs the provision of services in exchange for payment or other considerations.
  • It establishes the groundwork for a professional relationship, outlining the scope of work, timeframes for completion, payment terms, and dispute resolution mechanisms.
  • By entering into a written service agreement, you not only simplify the process of resolving disputes but also prevent potential conflicts from arising.

Differentiating Between a Contractor and an Employee

  • Before diving into the specifics of how to draft a contract for services, it is crucial to understand the distinction between a contractor and an employee. This differentiation is essential because different laws and regulations apply to each category.
  • A Service Agreement typically establishes a contractor-client relationship, whereas an employment contract would establish an employer-employee relationship.
  • Determining whether someone is an employee or a contractor depends on various factors, including the extent of control, ability to work with other clients, provision of equipment, and the ability to sub-delegate work.

See: How To Draft Reply To Legal Notice

Using the Service Agreement Template

When drafting a Service Agreement in India, you can use a template that caters to ongoing arrangements or one-off projects.

The more detailed information you include in the agreement, the better it will be in preventing disputes.

Some key details to consider include:

1. Description of the work:
- Clearly state what services will be provided to avoid any confusion.
   - Define the nature and scope of the services in detail to set expectations.

2. Completion criteria:
Establish specific criteria for determining when the work will be considered complete.
   - If applicable, include milestones or specific deliverables that indicate progress.

Read More: Drafting Commercial Contracts

3. Payment terms:
 - Clearly outline the payment details, including the amount, currency, and method of payment.
   - Specify when payments are due, whether it's upon completion, in installments, or based on specific milestones.
   - If there are any payment milestones, clearly define them to ensure transparency.

4. Termination clause:
   - Specify the circumstances under which either party can terminate the agreement.
   - Clearly outline the procedure that should be followed when terminating the contract for services.
   - Address any notice periods required for termination to provide ample time for both parties to adjust.

5. Dispute resolution:
   - Include a clause that outlines the process for resolving disputes.
   - Specify the preferred method of resolution, such as negotiation, mediation, or arbitration.
   - Clearly state the steps to be taken and the timeline for resolving disputes.

6. Mediation and arbitration:
   - If mediation or arbitration is chosen as the preferred method of dispute resolution, provide details on how the process will be initiated and conducted.
   - Specify any applicable mediation or arbitration rules that will govern the resolution process.

7. Governing law and jurisdiction:
   - Clearly state the governing law that will apply to the contract for services.
   - Specify the jurisdiction or the preferred court where any legal disputes will be resolved.

8. Confidentiality and non-disclosure:
   - If confidentiality is essential for the services provided, include a clause that outlines the obligations and responsibilities of both parties regarding the protection of confidential information.

While learning how to draft a contract for services its important to remember that each Service Agreement may have unique requirements, so it's important to tailor the agreement to your specific situation. Consider seeking legal advice to ensure that your contract adequately addresses all necessary aspects and protects the interests of all parties involved.

Also Read - How to Practice Legal Drafting Like a Pro?  

Legal Validity and Stamp Duty

  • One of the more important aspects you need to remember while learning how to draft a contract for services is its legal validity.
  • To ensure the legal validity of the Service Agreement, it must be printed on non-judicial stamp paper or e-stamp paper, signed by both the service provider and the client, and dated.
  • The value of the stamp paper varies based on the state in which the agreement is executed. Each state in India has provisions for the amount of stamp duty payable on such agreements, and information regarding stamp duty can be found on the respective state government websites.
  • Both parties should keep a signed copy of the Service Agreement. It is recommended to have two separate signed copies or photocopies of the agreement for distribution between the parties.

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Applicable Laws and Taxes

In India, when it comes to Service Agreements, there are important legal considerations and regulations that must be taken into account. Here's a closer look at the governing laws and taxation aspects:

1. Indian Contract Act, 1872:

  • Service Agreements in India are primarily governed by the Indian Contract Act of 1872.
  • This act provides the legal framework for contracts, including those related to the provision of services.
  • It outlines the rights, obligations, and remedies of the parties involved in the agreement.

2. Consumer Protection Act, 2019:

  • The Consumer Protection Act of 2019 is another crucial law that applies to the provision of goods and services. It aims to safeguard consumers' rights and interests.
  • Under this act, customers are entitled to various rights, such as the right to be informed about the services being provided and the right to safety while availing those services.

Learn: Draft a Contract of Sale

3. Goods and Services Tax (GST):

  • The Goods and Services Tax is a unified taxation system implemented in India. It applies to the supply of services, including those covered by Service Agreements.
  • GST rates vary for different categories of services and are subject to periodic changes by the government. It's important to be aware of the specific GST rate applicable to your services.

4. Exemptions from GST:

  • While most services are subject to GST, there are certain exemptions in place. These exemptions may vary based on the nature of the services provided.
  • It is advisable to consult the website of the Central Board of Excise and Customs, the authority responsible for administering GST, for detailed information on exemptions and any updates to the taxation system.

By understanding and complying with the legal principles outlined in the Indian Contract Act and adhering to the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act and the regulations regarding GST, service providers can ensure their Service Agreements are in line with the applicable laws and taxation requirements in India. You must remember this while learning how to draft a contract for services.

It is recommended to consult with legal and tax professionals or refer to official government sources for up-to-date and accurate information related to legal and taxation aspects in India.

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Modifying the Template

To create your Service Agreement, you can use a template and fill out a form. As you respond to the questions, the document is generated, and you receive it in Word and PDF formats. This allows you to modify and reuse the agreement as needed.


Drafting a well-defined and comprehensive Service Agreement is crucial for anyone providing services in India.

By clearly outlining the scope of work, timeframes, payment terms, and dispute resolution mechanisms, you can establish a solid foundation for a professional relationship and avoid potential legal disputes.

To master drafting contract for services, use the provided information as a reference, follow the guidelines, and customize a Service Agreement template to suit your specific requirements.

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Frequently Asked Questions

I want to learn how to draft a contract for services. What is a Service Agreement?

Why is a written Service Agreement important?

What should be included in the description of work?

Is it necessary to specify completion criteria?

How should payment terms be addressed in the Service Agreement?

Can the Service Agreement be terminated? If so, how?

What should be done in case of disputes?

Is stamp duty required for a Service Agreement in India?


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