What is a statement of work?

Small businesses and freelancers often use a statement of work to document the work they will do for their clients. Learn more about what it is and how to use it.

A statement of work (SOW) is a document that details the scope of a project or task. It spells out the deliverables, timeline, and cost of a project. A SOW is used in business to define expectations between a client and contractor. It’s a helpful tool for managing expectations and ensuring that both parties are on the same page.

What to include in a statement of work.

Small businesses and freelancers can use a statement of work when they're bidding on projects. A SOW can help you win a project by showing the client that you understand their problem and have a plan to solve it.

When writing a statement of work, be clear and concise. Use language that both the client and the contractor or freelancer will understand. If there is any ambiguity in the document, it could lead to problems down the road.

A statement of work should include:

  1. The reason for the project or the problem that needs to be solved.
  2. The objectives and goals of the project.
  3. A scope of work statement that spells out what work will be done and lists any work the contractor does not include and will not do.
  4. A description of what the freelancer will deliver at the end of the project.
  5. A timeline of when the project will start and end and any important deadlines or milestones along the way.
  6. A summary of how much the project will cost.

The statement of work should be clear and accurate, so there are no misunderstandings between the parties involved. Both the contractor and the client or business representative should sign to show their agreement. Once agreed upon, the SOW becomes an important document that you can then use as the basis of a more formal contract.

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