Your client has agreed to hire you for a managed network services project, and you’re ready to start ordering the necessary equipment and software and developing your implementation plan. But before you do, there’s one very important detail you need to take care of first: securing your client’s signature on a network consulting services agreement.
A contract for network consulting services governs the relationship between you and your client, clearly defining expectations on both sides so that there are no surprises down the line. Every time your company provides managed network services involving design, installation or maintenance, you need the protection of a solid contract.
You could hire your own lawyer to write one up, but a more affordable approach is to use an existing template contract for network service providers. Using a template guides you through defining the scope of services that you will perform on an ongoing basis for your client, and helps ensure that you’ve addressed the most common variables inherent in the project.
The idea is to clearly establish the rights and responsibilities of each party over the term of the agreement, reducing the possibility of any misunderstandings that could arise from a lack of communication.
What should your networking consulting services agreement include? First, it should establish clear communication and client expectations by providing a clearly defined scope of work. A scope of work may include initial project setup, general maintenance and repair, hardware and software installation and troubleshooting, needs assessment, systems integration, network security, data backup and recovery, rapid-response service, and 24-hour emergency service.
As a provider of network services, you know you’ll do what you’re asked to do – but you want to be sure your clients do exactly what’s expected of them as well. A network consulting services contract, or customized contract template, typically includes specific things that the client must do or provide in order for you to complete the job. For example, you may need a key-card to gain access to the facility at specific hours, or you may need the client to pay for the required hardware or software by a specific date.
It’s also common to outline in your network service provider agreement all expenses that the client is responsible for and to provide any supporting documentation related to the job.
Your managed network services agreement might also include a disclaimer that you cannot guarantee the stability, safety and security of the network, and state that you are not liable to the client for loss of profit, revenue or data. A contract might also have clauses to protect any confidential information you share with the client and to prohibit the client from hiring away your employees.
Having a legally sound network consulting services contract, signed by both parties, can protect you from financial and material losses. It also establishes price and payment terms, sets a clearly defined term for the agreement, and describes the process that either party must take to terminate the contract.
A network service provider agreement ensures clear communication with your client and gives you something to fall back on if things should get off track. By setting clear expectations at the outset of a project, you’re much more likely to end up with a satisfied customer and repeat business.
Writtten by Brenna Lemieux - check her out at Google+ or Twitter