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What is a general services agreement?

A service agreement refers to a contract in which one party agrees to provide a particular service or services to the other party in return for payment as specified in the contract. The term “general services agreement” is used to signify that the contract is somewhat generic and can be used in multiple circumstances.

General service agreements are common in the construction industry, where businesses or property owners enter into agreements with general contractors. Similarly, general contractors enter into numerous general service contracts with subcontractors. For example, a general contractor might enter into separate agreements with a grading contractor, framing contractor, electrical contractor, and a painting contractor, just to name a few. An effective general service agreement typically addresses at least the following basic terms:

  • Careful identification of the parties to the contract and who will be providing the services.
  • A description of the exact services to be provided and a schedule of when they will be performed.
  • The price that will be paid and when it will be paid.

These terms represent a bare minimum. Careful contract drafters would likely address many other issues, such as warranties; remedies/damages for breach (including untimely performance); alternative dispute resolution; specifications on the level of quality for materials and services; insurance; limitations of liability; and so forth.

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