Five Things To Include In Every Scope Of Work


You've just secured your first client and have been asked to write up a scope of work (SOW) outlining details for the deliverables you've agreed to - congratulations! This is where you will list out the tasks you'll oversee, the time you will spend working on these tasks and how you will be compensated (hourly, retainer, project fee). Beyond these basic areas, there are a few additional things you'll want to cover off in your scope of work to help proactively manage client expectations and create accountability for yourself. Here are five things to include in your scope of work.

If you're not entirely sure what a scope of work looks like, we've got you covered! Download our free freelancer starter kit when you sign up for our email list, here.

Office Hours

Yes, office hours exist for freelancers! If your client is in the same time zone as you, this may not be too big of an issue but it's still important to share if you have a timeframe you work within each day. This is especially the case if you have daily obligations like doctor's appointments, a side hustle or kids to pick up from school. While we all will have to work outside of our desired times here and there, it's beneficial to express when you will be available for emails and phone calls with your client up front. If you work with clients in a different time zone, let them know when you will be available during their daily working hours and beyond in your scope of work.

Days Off

To echo the office hours section - yes, freelancers take days off! If you have a family vacation, previous commitments or just need some personal time, include those dates in your SOW. So long it doesn't conflict with any of your deadlines or obligations promised to your client, this shouldn't be a problem, but it's always better to communicate upfront.

Billing Expectations

It is so important to put any billing expectations you have into the scope of work and even more important to have an actual conversation with your client on these expectations either in person or over the phone. Talking about money is an uncomfortable topic for some people but believe me, you want to be crystal clear when it comes to your finances as a freelancer. If you expect to be paid every 30 days because it's what you and your client agreed to, put it in the scope of work and ask your client what you need to do proactively to make sure that happens. Once the SOW is signed, I usually follow up asking if there's anyone in accounts payable I should connect with to get setup as a new vendor. That way when I submit my invoice at the end of the month, everything is already in place. 

Number of Revisions

This doesn't necessarily apply for every type of freelancer but if you work in any form of creative field (graphic design, copywriting, video production, etc.), you will want to include instructions for the number of revisions you're willing to provide. This will help prevent you from spending extra hours going back and forth on minor requests and instead encourage your client to be very clear and detailed with their expectations and needed edits the first time around. 

For more on managing revisions, read this: How many client revisions is enough?

Extra Work

This is by far the most important line to include in every scope of work... *clears throat* 

Any work requested by the client outside of this agreed upon scope of work before, during or after the project dates will be billed at an additional hourly rate of $(your hourly rate).

Why is this so important to include? Because you are destined to be asked to do something outside of the original scope of work; and if you are on retainer or working on a project fee, you need to be compensated for the extra effort! Freelance isn't free. Remember that. 


Audrey Adair is a freelance communications consultant and founder of 'The Scope'. She's based in Los Angeles, California and specializes in working with clients throughout the video game and esports industries. Follow Audrey on Instagram and LinkedIn.