Tips for writing a good service contract
So to be honest, I've never written a service contract before . We've thought about it, we've discussed it, but we've never done it. There is some debate as to whether this should come from the supply side, or from the maintenance side. Nevertheless, I am hoping to find some suggestions and tips from some of you concerning how to write what you feel is a good service contract with a contractor. How do I provide responsibility? Accountability? Your thoughts would be appreciated!
Through my career I have learned that you need to have cristal clear definitions of each of the words in the contract, that are agreed by both parties. Be very specific regarding the scope of the service you are hiring, what is "successful" delivery, what happens when the supplier does not deliver, Liability clauses, insurance if required, SLA, etc. I suggest you get a Lawyer firm to draft one for you (given the criticallity of the service it might be worh paying for that). If you accep
t a draft from your counterparty, you expose yourself that it will be more favourable to them than to you and then need to fight back on those clauses that are tougher towards the customer. Good Luck!
A good service contract will have, at a minimum, the services that are to be provided spelled out as well as what that service is defined as. For example, if you contract for restroom cleaning, it is not enough to just say that the vendor has to clean the restrooms... the definition of "clean" needs to be spelled out because what you think clean is and what I think clean is can be very different. Important information would also include who is supplying the cleaning products, who / how are you going to measure the cleanliness, how many times a day / week the cleaning will occur and at what levels (m -f clean counters, refill consumables, once per week mop etc.)
Once you have that outlined you have a basis of measurement to see how well they are performing. You should also have some sort of structure in the contract for correcting deficiencies and spell out key contacts and contract performance review periods.
I find it very helpful to have key stakeholders involved at the beginning so as to capture everything they would feel is important in the contract.
Hope that helps!
Ask your service provider(s to provide their draft and then work on it. The good service contract has a lot of important features to take care but it all depends on the duration of the contract, the sector, the type of service, etc