How To Write a Statement of Work

Jump to Section

Need help with a Statement of Work?

Post Project Now

Post Your Project (It's Free)

Get Bids to Compare

 Hire Your Lawyer

A statement of work is a critical project management component that keeps all parties on the same page while letting a client know that you’re interested in their project. Effective statements of work outline the relevant project details that protect the rights and secure the obligations of all parties.

In this article, we’ll show you how to write a strong SOW for any business and how to customize it for your organization:

What Is a Written Statement of Work?

Written statements of work , or SOWs, are legal documents used in project management to define the scope of work. These contracts provide project terms and conditions, including payment details, deliverables, and project deadlines. Service providers and contractors most often use statements of work.

What Is the Purpose of a Statement of Work?

The purpose of a statement of work is to give a company more information about how you plan on handling their project. You can also use them when third parties collaborate with your company to provide them with guidance. An SOW is most commonly used in conjunction with other documents.

Other documents that utilize a statement of work include:

A well-written SOW defines a vendor’s or contractor’s responsibilities and deliverables. You should prepare one only after agreeing upon other project details. This will make it easier to prevent disputes during contract negotiations in the future.

How To Write A Statement of Work – Step by Step

Are you ready to dive into the legal drafting process? Let’s take a look at the eight steps when writing a statement of work:

Step 1. Write Your Statement of Work’s Introduction

Start by creating a simple statement that outlines the project’s goal or purpose. Make sure to provide a description of work performed, as well as any other limitations. The primary goal of this section is to capture your target’s attention and let them know how you’ll elevate their company.

Step 2. List Project Activities and Requirements

Make a list of the activities for completion, including any performance criteria and project requirements that the contractor must follow while performing the contract. Get as specific as possible without going beyond the scope of a statement of work document since clients can refer to this information in the future.

Step 3. Create Your Project Timeline

A project timeline is a crucial component of the project. Clients are waiting for deadlines and deliverables since they are the physical manifestations of their projects. Be realistic and detailed about the project timeline and always plan for contingencies.

Step 4. Indicate What Resources You’ll Need

Identify any resources, such as personnel, equipment, or materials required to accomplish the job. Assign who is responsible for paying third parties, vendors, and retailers. You can also outline your proposed procedures should unforeseen circumstances arise and handling a request for additional resources.

Step 5. Specify the Project Deliverables

Indicate project deliverables that the project must meet for completion. In terms of quality, quantity, time, and appearance describe expectations and relevant deadlines. Realistic and essential performance deliverables are vital and can prevent disputes down the road.

Step 6. Point Out Time-Sensitive Milestones

Determine if any milestones or deliverables are time-sensitive. This section is a great place to indicate special or unique timeframes that would otherwise get lost in timeline schedules and project deliverables.

Step 7. Let Clients Know How You’ll Track the Project

Decide how you’ll keep track of the deliverables. Random sampling, frequent inspections, and reporting are just a few techniques. Regardless of your methodology, the emphasis here is to let the client know you are serious about keeping the project on track and in accordance with the original agreement.

The contractor’s ability to produce a thorough document that properly reflects your business and project needs is critical to the SOW’s success. Ensure that your document includes the relevant elements and sections that companies expect to review when submitting a statement of work.

Meet some lawyers on our platform

Jane C.

27 projects on CC
View Profile

Terence B.

24 projects on CC
View Profile

Bryan B.

31 projects on CC
View Profile

Jeremiah C.

9 projects on CC
View Profile

What Should a Statement of Work Include?

Breaking down a statement of work into specific provisions and headers makes sense when creating a contract. Keep in mind that a statement of work’s elements are always proportionate to the project’s scope and depth, which means the length and complexity of your document will vary accordingly.

Here are the elements that a statement of work generally includes:

Element 1. Introduction

The introduction provides a basic overview of the project and the parties involved. It’s perfectly acceptable to write this section last as a summary of the document contained within. Try to sell them on why you are the best choice for the job without making it sound like a sales document.

Element 2. Objectives

This section allows you to communicate what you want to accomplish for the client. Ensure that you account for objective and subjective benchmarks. For example, an objective benchmark quantifies that outcome, such as “increase revenues by X.” In contrast, subjective benchmarks deal in the abstract, such as “strengthen brand performance.”

Element 3. Project Scope

In the project scope section, you’ll include an overview that outlines project requirements, procedures, time, and resources necessary to execute it. These resources can consist of equipment, hardware, software, and tools.

Element 4. Location

Add details about where you or your team will work throughout the agreement. Communicating their location and any equipment utilized on site is critical no matter where your employees are operating.

Element 5. Deliverables

Make a list of deliverables, as well as a clear, mutually agreed-upon explanation of when each item is due. Quantity, color, size, structure, and other details about the final production are helpful here.

Element 6. Timeline

This section starts with the projected completion of deliverables. It contains a comprehensive breakdown of the anticipated timeline for each and every party participating in the project. There may be more or fewer scheduling stages depending on the project’s details.

Element 7. Consideration

Consideration is the value exchanged for your products and services. Outline payment terms, project payment schedules, and due dates. This section is critical to get right since it’s often the source of future disputes, which means you should spend extra time fleshing out the details.

Element 8. General Provisions

The first seven elements in the list are specific to the statement of work service contract. However, there are other general provisions found in most contracts that you’ll want to include as well, including invoice templates , confidentiality agreements , indemnification clauses , and governing law clauses .

Examples of When To Use a Statement of Work

The most common use for statements of work is in the commission of the project bidding process. The SOW must utilize a simple structure versus a lengthy document. If this is not accomplished, it’s less likely that the project’s needs will go unmet.

Concreate examples of when to use a statement of work include the following:

  • Example 1. Bidding on the construction of a building
  • Example 2. Responding to requests for proposals (RFPs)
  • Example 3. Inserting in a master services agreement (MSA)
  • Example 4. Indicating serious interest in a client’s website bid request

If you need legal help and advice, speak with business lawyers when creating a statement of work. They’ll ensure that your document meets expectations while protecting your rights throughout the bidding and service process.

Post a project in ContractsCounsel’s marketplace to get free quotes from lawyers to review and compare. All lawyers are vetted by our team and peer reviewed for you to explore before hiring.

How ContractsCounsel Works
Hiring a lawyer on ContractsCounsel is easy, transparent and affordable.
1. Post a Free Project
Complete our 4-step process to provide info on what you need done.
2. Get Bids to Review
Receive flat-fee bids from lawyers in our marketplace to compare.
3. Start Your Project
Securely pay to start working with the lawyer you select.

Meet some of our Lawyers

ContractsCounsel verified
9 years practicing
Free Consultation

I'm a business legal and finance professional with a deep passion for leading businesses through growth. I bring a practical no-nonsense approach to my work.

ContractsCounsel verified
8 years practicing
Free Consultation

I help start-ups, small businesses, and people realize their potential by leveraging my legal and technological experience. Legally skilled in employment law, intellectual property, corporate law, and real estate transactions.

ContractsCounsel verified
11 years practicing
Free Consultation

Ryan A. Webber focuses his practice primarily on Estate Planning, Elder Law, and Life Care Planning. His clients range from young families concerned about protecting their family as well as aging individuals. Ryan provides Estate Planning, Trust Planning, Special Needs Planning, Public Benefit Planning, and Estate Administration. Ryan focuses on the holistic approach to the practice of elder law which seeks to ensure clients are receiving good care when needed and that they preserve enough assets with which to pay for such care. Many families and individuals also come to Ryan for preparation of their wills, power of attorney, and healthcare guidance documents. Additionally, Ryan assists small and medium sized business owners with their organizational and planning needs. From starting or winding down a business, Ryan provides quality business advice.

ContractsCounsel verified
8 years practicing
Free Consultation

Small Business Attorney licensed in Texas and Colorado. Based in Dallas, appointments available in DFW area.

ContractsCounsel verified
6 years practicing
Free Consultation

I am an attorney with six years of experience drafting and negotiating a wide variety of business contracts, in industries including technology and software, finance, professional services, hospitality, and non-profits.

ContractsCounsel verified
General Counsel (Commercial, Tech & IP Focus)
9 years practicing
Free Consultation

I am a seasoned attorney with years of experience at leading startup and VC firm Gunderson Dettmer & international firm Cleary Gottlieb, and now serve as general counsel to a variety of dynamic businesses. Sample clients include Google, Samsung, the NHL, Morgan Stanley, Zocdoc, Grailed and Common Living.  I most recently completed a longer term position with PricewaterhouseCoopers as Senior Manager, Technology, Product and IP Transactions. I have extensive experience advising clients on a wide variety of corporate matters and would be delighted to bring this experience to the table for you

ContractsCounsel verified
5 years practicing
Free Consultation

Attorney Joshua K. S. Cali is a respected business, estate planning, and real estate attorney based in Ashland serving Middlesex County and other nearby areas. Joshua graduated summa cum laude from Bentley University in Waltham, MA, and from UCLA School of Law in Los Angeles. Before starting his own firm, Joshua practiced estate planning for high net worth clients at a boutique law firm in San Diego, CA.

ContractsCounsel verified
Associate Counsel
3 years practicing
Free Consultation

A business-oriented, proactive, and problem-solving corporate lawyer with in-house counsel experience, ensuring the legality of commercial transactions and contracts. Michael is adept in reviewing, drafting, negotiating, and generally overseeing policies, procedures, handbooks, corporate documents, and more importantly, contracts. He has a proven track record of helping lead domestic and international companies by ensuring they are functioning in complete compliance with local and international rules and regulations.

ContractsCounsel verified
14 years practicing
Free Consultation

Businesses, Contracts, Operating Agreements, Corporate, Real Estate, Start-Ups, Cannabis

ContractsCounsel verified
Managing Member
23 years practicing
Free Consultation

Drew is an entrepreneurial business attorney with over twenty years of corporate, compliance and litigation experience. Drew currently has his own firm where he focuses on providing outsourced general counsel and compliance services (including mergers & acquisitions, collections, capital raising, real estate, business litigation, commercial contracts and employment matters). Drew has deep experience counseling clients in healthcare, medical device, pharmaceuticals, information technology, manufacturing, and services.

ContractsCounsel verified
Managing Attorney
8 years practicing
Free Consultation

Daniel is an experienced corporate attorney and works closely with corporations, privately held companies, high-net worth individuals, family offices, start-ups and entrepreneurs. Daniel graduated from the Gonzaga University School of Law and is licensed to practice law in Illinois.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call