Master Services Agreement and Statement of Work

By on July 14, 2022.

When you’re in charge of managing contracts, the master services agreement (MSA) and statement of work (SOW) are two crucial documents that you’ll come across. While the MSA sets the groundwork for the agreement between the two parties, the SOW dives into the specifics of what will be provided and what will be expected of each party.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the MSA and SOW, what they are, and why they’re important.

Master Services Agreement (MSA)

A master services agreement is a contract that outlines the terms and conditions of a business relationship between two parties. An MSA serves as a framework for the entire business relationship and is typically used in long-term business relationships. Once the terms of the MSA are agreed upon and signed by both parties, it serves as a legally binding agreement for future work.

The MSA sets the groundwork for the relationship between the two parties, outlining general terms such as payment, confidentiality, and liability. The MSA also defines the scope of work, the services to be provided, the timeline, and any specific deliverables.

It’s important to note that an MSA does not contain specific details, such as pricing or deadlines. Instead, it contains the general terms and conditions of the agreement. The details of the MSA are then fleshed out in the SOW.

Statement of Work (SOW)

A statement of work is a document that outlines the specific details of a project or job. The SOW is attached to the MSA and defines the scope of work in detail. It outlines the specific tasks to be completed, timelines, deliverables, and pricing. The SOW is usually written after the MSA is signed and serves as a road map for the project.

The SOW is critical for both parties because it outlines the expectations for the project. It also sets the tone for communication and helps identify potential issues before they happen. For example, if a deadline is missed, the SOW will provide both parties with a clear understanding of who is responsible for the delay and what needs to be done to get the project back on track.

Why Are MSA and SOW Important?

The MSA and SOW are crucial documents for any business relationship, but especially for long-term business agreements. Here are a few reasons why:

1. Clarity: The MSA and SOW provide clarity and ensure that both parties are on the same page. They help to eliminate any confusion, misunderstandings, or conflicts that may arise.

2. Liability: The MSA and SOW protect both parties by outlining each party’s liability and responsibility. They help to avoid legal disputes by providing a clear framework for resolving any issues that may arise.

3. Consistency: The MSA and SOW provide consistency across all projects and ensure that everyone is held to the same standard. This consistency helps to build trust and fosters a positive working relationship.


In summary, the MSA and SOW are invaluable documents for any business relationship. While the MSA sets the groundwork for the relationship, the SOW provides specific details about the project. Together, they provide clarity, liability protection, and consistency, making them essential components of any successful business agreement.