What Is a Master Service Agreement?

there is notebook with the word master service agreementRunning a business requires much time and energy but can be worth every moment. However, there are many repetitive tasks that can be avoided, allowing you to focus on other essential elements. One such task you can avoid is continually renegotiating service agreements by having a master service agreement in place. Learn more about the benefits of this step and how a San Francisco business attorney can help below.

Master Service Agreement

A master services agreement – also known as a framework agreement or MSA – can be a major benefit to both the client and the services provider. This contract outlines the terms of service delivery for as long as the business relationship lasts.

How Does a Master Service Agreement Help?

Each time you begin a working relationship with a client, you will need a service agreement and contract in place. For some clients, this will only require one contract upfront.

However, for other clients you work with on a steadier basis, you might need several contracts and service agreements during the working relationship. Working out all the terms and conditions for each of these can take a great deal of time away from other important tasks.

A master service agreement can significantly cut this time down. By discussing and laying out the terms and conditions for future agreements in the beginning, you already have much of the groundwork taken care of.

What Should Be Included in a Master Service Agreement?

The details of an MSA can vary according to the industry, clients, and service provider. However, most include the following at a minimum.

  • Expectations: An MSA typically outlines what is expected of each party. For example, what and when the services will be provided and when payments will be made.
  • Dispute resolution: If there is an issue, the agreement typically outlines how it should be resolved.
  • Confidentiality: Both parties agree not to divulge any company secrets to others.

Depending on the nature of your services and industry, you might also lay out intellectual property rights, where the work will take place, any warranties, limitations of liability, business ethics, social responsibilities, network access, and property access. MSAs can be very versatile, according to the needs of the parties involved.

Who Needs a Master Service Agreement?

An MSA is not typically needed for a one-time business arrangement, as all details will be negotiated during the contract. However, it is wise to have an MSA in place when there is an ongoing business relationship, one with no specified end date, or even a long-term project that will require several steps or transactions.

Can a Master Services Agreement Be Changed?

An MSA can be changed at any point as long as both parties are looking for and agree to new terms. As businesses change and evolve, it is not unusual for modifications to be needed for an MSA.

And MSAs are intended to lay the framework for the working relationship, not all of the details. Therefore, delivery dates, pricing, and other details can still be negotiated along the way.

Have a Working MSA With the Help of James Braden

MSAs can be very beneficial to your company, but they must be drafted properly. Otherwise, either party might be uncertain of the terms and conditions, potentially failing to meet their part. Having a San Francisco business lawyer by your side can mean the difference between success and failure with an MSA.

Attorney James Braden has been working with businesses for more than 35 years. As a San Francisco business attorney, he can work with you through the entire process – from negotiating the terms and conditions to drafting the master service agreement and ensuring the terms protect both parties. Put the most effective master services agreement for your business in place by calling us today to schedule a consultation.