Creating a Scope of Work (SOW) is one of the most important steps in beginning a new relationship between a vendor and a client. A SOW is the document that provides an in depth and detailed description of the work that will be performed by the vendor, such as snow removal or landscaping. Any question that arises throughout the season or project – Should the contractor be shoveling this sidewalk? When are the spring flowers scheduled to be planted? Do we have a warranty that covers these trees? – will be found in the Scope of Work. It is imperative to comprehensively cover the requirements of the work being completed to ensure straightforward communication throughout the working relationship, as well as to reduce any risks.
A clear, concise, and comprehensive Scope of Work should include the following categories:
What are the goals of the project? A high level overview of the project and the agreement made between both companies is an essential first component of the SOW to introduce the finer points of what work will be done and what both parties are responsible for.
The most important section of the SOW is the detailed overview of what exactly will be completed by the vendor. This part of the SOW should also encompass the schedule. Using a landscaping SOW as an example, the Specifications/Deliverables will lay out the type and number of plants to be planted at each property, when they will be installed with deadlines included, how deep and the spacing of how they will be planted in the soil, exactly where they will be installed with site maps, what fertilizer will be used, what irrigation services and tools will be employed, and the care specifications for the plants themselves. The detail level should be as granular as possible to avoid any miscommunication over the course of the project. A Scope of Work checklist of deliverables with deadlines is also a great addition to this section.
This area of the SOW should include samples of the work being done, including any applicable photos and examples.
If any part of the deliverables being provided by the vendor are covered by a warranty, this is where you specify what is included and for how long.
The General Requirements of the SOW is the section that overviews how the work will be completed: Does the contractor have to consult with the Property Manager throughout the project? When and how? Are there specific requirements for the property itself? Is the contractor required to take certain precautions, like carrying a fire extinguisher in each vehicle, or avoid spillage in certain areas? This is also a good place to include any documents that the contractor must use, such as a snow removal log sheet for submssion, with a description of how they are to be filled out.
It is important to note that a Scope of Work is completely separate from contract work agreements. The SOW is designed to describe the work requirements, time schedules, and quality of the word being done, whereas contracts are designed to describe payment terms, settlement of disputes, insurance requirements, confidentiality and other bargaining specifications relating to two companies engaging in business with each other.
A Scope of Work is the go-to reference document for how a vendor and customer will work together, so including the highest level of detail will ensure that both understand the expectations and requirements of the work being completed.
What other details do you think are important to include in a Scope of Work? Leave your ideas in the comments!