Welcome to our gallery of scope of work templates. You can search by industry to find a scope of work template specifically for your freelance profession.
Scope of work templates are pre-designed documents that freelancers can edit to define the responsibilities, tasks, timelines and deliverables of any project. These templates come with sections you can quickly fill and send to your client before a project begins. The ultimate goal is to clarify the agreed-upon expectations to clients without creating copy from scratch.
A well-written scope of work includes:
Freelancers usually send the scope of work to clients during the project planning phase. It’s usually a section within the proposal. The more organized and detailed a scope of work is, the easier it becomes for a client to approve a budget estimate and start the project.
When editing a template, you should save a master copy using the information that you require every time you share this particular document. For example, this could include your contact details, certain deliverables that span all projects (such as research or client interviews), onboarding activities, and your payment terms and conditions.
A scope of work template should be a document that’s pre-saved, ready to go with this important info. It saves you the time and effort of writing it from scratch whenever you’re outlining a new project’s timelines and milestones.
Instead, you’d simply open the template, make a copy, type in anything that’s relevant to the project (such as dates, budgets, and details of the work to be completed), and then save it with a unique identifier, before sending it to your client.
There are some obvious reasons why you should use a templated SOW document:
But a scope of work is so much more than a simple list of dates and activities.
Firstly, it’s your opportunity to establish your credibility as an expert freelancer. By using a scope of work template, you can guide your client through your plan in a professional and efficient manner, offering peace of mind that you know what you’re doing and that every step is accounted for.
Also, to deliver a successful project, it’s just as important to outline what you won’t be doing as part of the scope. This will save you from the dreaded “scope creep” — where additional tasks are piled onto your original remit and the project balloons in size (but not budget).
If you have a document in place where you can confidently point to it and say “that’s not what we agreed” then it should (in theory) help things run smoothly.
Using a project scope of work template helps you lay the foundation of a project, saves you time, and helps both parties avoid scope creep. Now you know how a template can help, it’s time to understand common mistakes to avoid.
Whether you are creating a master scope of work template for the first time or reusing a template already, here’s what you need to be careful of.
A mistake that’s all-too-common across freelance documents in general, if you’re too ambiguous with your language when you draft your statement of work, it could come back and bite you.
You need to use plain language, avoid jargon, and make it abundantly clear what’s being delivered and when. If you don’t, you’re leaving wiggle room for interpretation on the part of your client, and this could lead to confusion, conflicts, or the entire project being derailed.
Another mistake most freelancers will come across at least once: Putting too much faith in the client to hold up their end of the bargain. By this, we mean assigning clients important responsibilities within the SOW to help successfully deliver the project. This could be something as simple as liaising with other contractors for materials, or something more involved, like writing web copy or taking photographs.
Whenever you delegate responsibility to your client, you’re jeopardizing your deadlines because, in addition to contributing to the project, they also have a business to run. Instead, you should make provisions for delays in the SOW, or find a way to take these tasks off their plate (and bill for them, too).
This harks back to mistake #1 and being vague with your language. But it’s especially important to specify the number of revisions when you draft your SOW template because, if you don’t, it could cost you a great deal of time and effort in the long-run. To protect yourself from eating into the budget, clarify that a set number of revisions are included as part of the scope, but anything over and above will need to be paid for.
Something that’s often overlooked in the haste to produce a scope of work document, the ‘out of scope’ section could be the safety net you need. As you walk the tightrope between keeping your client happy and delivering your project on time, the last thing you need is to be tripped up by additional demands.
‘Out of scope’ gives you an escape if you’re asked to provide web copy for the website you’re designing, or take photos for the brochure you’re writing — and all without an increase to the budget. It’s also a great way to clear up any miscommunications and remind the client of your responsibilities.
This is a common mistake that catches out new freelancers time and again. Failing to recognise that the huge project you’ve landed is actually a number of smaller projects all strung together. So, instead of trying to fit absolutely everything into one statement of work, break it down into its requisite parts. Tackle it in stages, and prepare an SOW for each one.
Yet another mistake where a lack of detail is the culprit (are you noticing a theme?), failing to include a clear schedule in your SOW can wreak havoc with your project. While the temptation to be broad and sweeping with dates and deadlines is there when you’re hastily pulling together the document, it pays to pause and consider precisely when you can deliver each stage of the project. “X pages by Y date” just won’t cut it. Remember: For any freelance project to be successful, both you and your client need to be on the same page throughout.
It’s all-too-easy to get swept up in trying to simply please your client when drawing up a statement of work, but the best freelancers know to resist this urge. Often, clients will want to see additional details added to the SOW before signing it, but if these don’t add value to the end-user (i.e., the customer) then this needs to be communicated. Otherwise, you could spend time and resources delivering extra pieces of work that do nothing to move the project forward.
Although the terms are often used interchangeably, some freelancers tend to view the scope of work as a section within a much larger and more comprehensive document called the statement of work. In this case, the statement of work acts as an in-depth description of everything that needs to be completed to deliver a successful project — and the scope of work is how it will happen.
Some companies can be very particular about what they call these documents, so it’s important to understand why different names can be used. However, in truth, whether you call it a statement or a scope, it exists to achieve the same purpose: To set and manage expectations with the client, establish your professionalism, create trust, and ensure everyone is working towards a common goal.
From adding business branding to your terms and conditions, here’s what your SOW should contain.
This is the first section of a statement of work. A project background outlines the key reasons behind a project. Keep it simple and short. An effective project background mentions:
A project overview simplifies and summarizes key project specifics. It paints an accurate picture for clients to evaluate your understanding of project requirements. Avoid adding technical details in this section. Instead, showcase the problems that a project will solve and how.
Proposed services are nothing but the services that freelancers intend to offer. Use this section to clearly mention services you’ll offer and consider adding granular details where you can. This will help your clients understand the value of this project and decide whether they can move the project forward and win a budget.
The project deliverables section defines your output that you’ll deliver during a project. Consider having an in-depth conversation with clients prior to creating the list of deliverables.
Make sure to tie these deliverables to the project goal so that clients see how you add value and help them reach their goals.
When a client wants you to work with internal team members, you should divide the deliverables into two: internal and external project deliverables. This will help you have a clear vision of your duties and responsibilities.
A project schedule is a schedule that summarizes things to do, resources to utilize, and a timeline for completing the tasks. Depending on the client, you may use this with a work breakdown structure to organize a project in a better way.
A project schedule usually includes:
This section helps the client to evaluate whether project goals can be met or not. Completing all the project tasks generates project outputs that are different from outcomes. Outcomes are generally harder to measure and define the reason behind the project.
This is where you outline requirements and essential conditions that you will meet for the client to accept a project submission. Talk to the client beforehand to understand their criteria preferences.
The out of scope helps you set expectations of potential clients. Use this section to outline requirements that don’t fall within the project requirements. Clients may want you to deliver additional items during the project. That’s why it’s best to communicate clearly and set expectations at the onset of a project.
Using a scope of work template for project management makes your job easier. But, there are both pros and cons to consider.
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It isn’t that difficult to find a statement of work template online. But then, why Bonsai? The Bonsai template library doesn’t just offer you scope of work templates but a lot more.
Once you sign up for a free trial, you can create SOWs, connect them to project proposals, and manage SOWs throughout the project lifecycle.
Here’s why freelancers prefer Bonsai’s templates over the rest:
Creating a detailed SOW template takes dedication, expertise, and patience. When you are just starting freelancing, you can’t invest more time in creating SOWs. That’s perfectly normal—you’d want to focus more on different business opportunities. Expert freelancers and project managers prefer to create a master scope of work template and reuse it.
When you create a template from scratch, it may lack important sections or may not look as professional as you need it to be. Moreover, there’s no way to get these templates reviewed by experts.
Don’t worry! Bonsai’s got you covered. Bonsai templates take your freelancing business to the next level with detailed and customizable SOW templates created by experts. Let Bonsai take care of project management documents while you shoot for your North Star goal.