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Updated: 8 hours ago

Improve your contractual relationships by using a Master Services Agreement (MSA) and Statement of Work (SOW) or Work Order (WO) when engaging contractors and freelancers.


Ready to start working with a freelancer, independent contractor, or vendor? You’ll want to make sure that your company develops both a Master Services Agreement (MSA) and a Statement of Work (SOW) or Work Order (WO). Both of these contractual documents are essential when working with freelancers, contractors, and vendors.  


Master Services Agreement (MSA)


The MSA (or independent contractor agreement) serves as the overall contract between your company and a freelancer, contractor, or vendor. It establishes the legal terms between the parties to the agreement. MSAs identify the parties to the agreement (using legal names), specify how long the MSA is valid and how it can be renewed (if applicable), and includes legal terms such as payment terms, ownership of intellectual property, confidentiality, and termination rights.


Using an MSA saves you time and money, as you do not need to negotiate legal terms every time you start a new project. Multiple SOWs or WOs can be attached to an MSA during the period governed by the MSA. The MSA is the “master” document, which controls the terms for all associated SOWs / WOs.


For more advice on creating an MSA, review our tips for writing an independent contractor agreement. Liquid users can use our pre-existing MSA templates for freelance contractor agreements, in addition to making it easy to onboard, manage, and pay freelancers / independent contractors. 

Download Liquid’s Freelancer Compliance Risk Checklist to access your current risk level.

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Statement of Work (SOW) or Work Order (WO)


The SOW or WO should be used to define each project. SOWs should be as detailed and specific as possible regarding the project deliverables, how and where they will be provided, and how to measure the completion of the deliverables. For each SOW / WO, you should indicate which MSA it is attached to as this will indicate the legal terms governing the project. One advantage of using an SOW / WO is that if you need to terminate one project, you can cancel only that particular SOW / WO, without disrupting other projects.


For more advice on creating SOWs / WOs, review our tips on how to write a Statement of Work. For Liquid users, Liquid allows you to create SOWs in minutes, instead of hours

Ready to simplify managing your independent contractors, freelancers, and vendors? Try Liquid today!

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Q: Why do you need a Master Services Agreement and a Statement of Work?

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