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Consultancy Agreement

What Is an Independent Consultant Agreement?

Negotiating a consulting agreement is a critical phase in establishing a productive and mutually beneficial relationship between a consultant and their client. This blog talks about the art of negotiation in the context of consulting agreements, offering practical strategies and insights to help both parties reach favourable terms.

We all know how things have changed. In today’s “gig economy,” remote labour is the norm. In the United States and elsewhere, freelance work is growing increasingly common.

Independent contractors (ICs) are non-employee workers that provide services to a company on a contract basis. The businesses they work for do not hire independent contractors. All full-time employees should access health insurance and workers’ compensation through their workplace.

What Is an Independent Consultant Agreement?

In terms of a consultancy agreement between an employing company and an individual contractor, their working relationship is established. Binding legal written contracts intend to develop clear and explicit expectations, safeguard both parties’ interests, and prevent employment categorisation misunderstandings.

What Is Included in the Independent Contractor Agreement?


Consultant undertakes to perform “Work” as specified in Annexure A on the above terms and circumstances.


A suitable format must be provided for delivery to the Client. The Consultant is accountable for this. The Consultant may continue with the Work as long as the Client’s needs are met, as stated in Annexure A or otherwise communicated to the Consultant in writing. Only if both parties expressly agree to do so in writing can either party request a renewal of the Consultant’s contract for another project.


  • Only ₹/- shall be paid to the Consultant for the Services, and no further fees or expenses shall be given to the Consultant unless the Client has accepted such fees or costs in writing.
  • It is up to the Client to determine whether or not the Services and work product are complete. The Consultant agrees to make any changes, additions, or adjustments the Client requests.
  • Compensation payments are due every month.
  • All levies, state welfare obligations or contributions, disability insurance, unemployment insurance and other payroll-type taxes or other relevant laws applicable to such remuneration or the Consultant shall be the exclusive responsibility of the Consultant


This agreement states that the Client will supply the Consultant with all the materials necessary to complete the Work stated herein. Podcasts on the client’s goals and other materials are examples of this information, but they are not exclusive.

Ownership and Assignment

1. Ownership

  • Both parties agree that the Client and not the Consultant will own the Consultant’s work service or product. 
  • All works, products, discoveries, advancements, designs, innovations, improvements, and information (whether or not at a commercial level) shall be promptly disclosed in writing by the Consultant to the Client.

2. Assignment:

  • The Consultant at this moment transfers and agrees to move to the Client all worldwide right, title, and claim that the Consultant may have or obtain in or to the Client, its heirs, assignees, or nominees, without any royalty or other remuneration save as expressly set forth herein.
  • Intellectual property rights and proprietary information inherent in or connected to the Consultant’s work under this Agreement are the property of the Receiving Party if any.

Relationship of Parties

  • Nothing in this Agreement shall be considered to establish the connection of workers and employers, director and agency, partner or joint venture, or any other type of fiduciary relationship between the Consultant and Consultant Personnel.
  • The Consultant may not act as an agent or representative of the Client or bind the Client in any way.
  • It is understood and agreed upon that no benefits, including insurance, vacation, retirement, or sick pay, will be granted to any Consultant Personnel, nor will the Consultant be eligible to receive any benefits from the Client.


a) Confidential information

Specific proprietary processes, proprietary information, and confidential information, which the client values highly (collectively referred to as “Confidential Information”), belong to the client.

b) Non- disclosure and Protection

Confidential Information shall be kept confidential and protected by the Consultant at all times during or following the performance of the Services. The Consultant shall not disclose, publish, disseminate, or otherwise make available or use Confidential Information, except as necessary to perform the Services.

  • Liability

Even if one party has been made aware of potential damages such as bodily injury and death as well as loss of revenue and profits or other benefits and claims by third parties (except their indemnification obligations), neither party will be liable to the other under any circumstances, including but not limited to the terms of this agreement.

Any causes of action, including but not limited to contract and warranty breach, carelessness, strict liability and other torts, are subject to the limits above.

  • Term and Termination

Term- A three-month initial period (referred to as the “Term”) will begin on the Effective Date. It will expire unless earlier canceled by the terms of this Agreement, at which point it will automatically renew.


The Agreement may be terminated for cause by either party giving the other written notice

  • It violates this agreement and has failed to correct the breach within five (5) days of receiving written notice from the non-breaching Party.
  • It acts in any illegal business practice relating to the performance of such Party under the Agreement
  • It becomes insolvent; makes an assignment for the benefit of creditors; has a receiver, trustee or equivalent body appointed for the property; is declared bankrupt.

The Parties must offer one month’s notice before the termination of the contract.

1. What Is the Purpose of an Independent Contractor Agreement?

An Independent Contractor Agreement is a legally binding contract that defines the terms and conditions of engagement between an independent consultant (contractor) and a client or business. It outlines the scope of work, payment terms, responsibilities, and various other essential details. The primary purpose of this agreement is to establish a clear and formal understanding of the working relationship between the two parties, emphasising that the contractor is not an employee but an independent entity.

2. When Should You Use an Independent Contractor Agreement?

Hiring Freelancers or Consultants: When you hire freelance professionals, consultants, or experts to work on specific projects or provide specialised services for your business, an Independent Contractor Agreement is essential. This ensures that the nature of the engagement and the terms are well-defined.

Temporary Work Assignments: If you need temporary assistance to handle increased workloads or seasonal projects, an Independent Contractor Agreement helps clarify the contractor’s role, responsibilities, and compensation.

Specialised Services: When you require specialised skills or knowledge that your existing employees may not possess, engaging an independent contractor is a common solution. The agreement specifies the scope of these specialised services.

Creative or Artistic Work: If you hire artists, designers, writers, or any creative professionals for creative projects such as graphic design, content creation, or marketing campaigns, an Independent Contractor Agreement outlines the creative brief, ownership of intellectual property, and payment terms.

Technical or IT Services: Engaging IT specialists, software developers, or technical experts for specific technology-related projects or tasks can benefit from a clear agreement that outlines the project scope, milestones, and technical specifications.

Consulting Services: Independent consultants often provide advisory or consulting services to businesses. In these cases, the agreement outlines the consultant’s responsibilities, deliverables, and the duration of the consulting engagement.

Compliance and Legal Requirements: In some jurisdictions, especially when classifying workers for tax and legal purposes, using an Independent Contractor Agreement can help establish that the worker is indeed an independent contractor rather than an employee.

Protection of Business Interests: The agreement can include confidentiality and non-compete clauses to protect sensitive information and prevent contractors from working for competitors during or after the engagement.

Project-Based Work: If you have specific, one-time projects that require external expertise, an Independent Contractor Agreement ensures that both parties are on the same page regarding project objectives, timelines, and deliverables.

Flexibility in Staffing: Independent contractors provide businesses with flexibility. If you need intermittent or part-time assistance, an Independent Contractor Agreement allows you to engage talent as needed without a long-term employment commitment.

3. What Is the Difference Between an Independent Contractor and an Employee?


Characteristic Independent Contractor Employee
Control Has more control over work methods and schedule. The employer has significant control over work methods, schedules, and tasks.
Taxation Responsible for paying their own taxes, including income tax and self-employment tax. Taxes are withheld by the employer, who pays a portion, including payroll taxes.
Benefits Typically does not receive employee benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, or paid time off. May receive benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid leave as part of employment.
Work Location Often works off-site or remotely, using their equipment and workspace. Typically works on-site at the employer’s location using company-provided resources.
Training Generally not provided training or professional development by the client. May receive training and professional development opportunities from the employer.
Equipment and Expenses Responsible for their own tools, equipment, and business expenses. Employer typically provides necessary tools, and equipment, and covers work-related expenses.
Duration of Engagement Often engaged for specific projects or a limited duration. Employed on an ongoing basis with the possibility of long-term employment.
Job Security Generally has less job security and can be terminated at the end of a contract. Enjoys greater job security and may be protected by labour laws regarding termination.
Overtime and Hours of Work Typically paid a flat fee or hourly rate and is not eligible for overtime pay. Eligible for overtime pay when working beyond standard hours, as per labour laws.
Union Membership Generally not part of employee unions or covered by collective bargaining agreements. Can be part of employee unions or covered by collective bargaining agreements.
Legal Protections and Benefits Lacks certain legal protections (e.g., minimum wage, overtime pay, worker’s compensation) but may have contractual protections. Protected by labour laws, with entitlements such as minimum wage, overtime, and worker’s compensation.

4. How To Write an Independent Contractor Agreement

Provide a detailed guide on drafting an Independent Contractor Agreement. Discuss the essential components of the agreement, such as:

  • Parties involved
  • Scope of work
  • Payment terms
  • Duration and termination clauses
  • Intellectual property rights
  • Confidentiality and non-compete clauses
  • Insurance and liability considerations
  • Dispute resolution mechanisms

Here is a more detailed version:

  1. Parties Involved:

Begin by stating the full legal names and contact information of both parties involved—the client or business (referred to as the “Client”) and the independent contractor (referred to as the “Contractor”).

  1. Scope of Work:

Describe in detail the specific services or tasks the Contractor will provide. Be precise and comprehensive to avoid misunderstandings.

  1. Compensation:

Specify the payment terms, including the agreed-upon rate or fee structure, payment schedule (e.g., hourly, per project, or milestone-based), and any additional compensation, such as reimbursements for expenses incurred during the project.

  1. Payment Method:

Indicate how payments will be made, whether by check, direct deposit, electronic transfer, or another agreed-upon method.

  1. Duration and Termination:

Define the project’s start and end dates or the duration of the engagement. Outline the conditions and procedures for terminating the agreement by either party, including notice periods.

  1. Independent Contractor Status:

Clarify that the Contractor is an independent contractor and not an employee of the Client. State that the Contractor is responsible for their own taxes, insurance, and other legal obligations.

  1. Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure:

Include clauses that address confidentiality and the protection of sensitive information. Specify what information is considered confidential and outline the Contractor’s responsibilities in safeguarding it.

  1. Intellectual Property Rights:

Determine ownership of any work or intellectual property created during the engagement. Specify whether the Contractor retains rights or if they transfer them to the Client.

  1. Insurance and Liability:

Outline any insurance requirements, such as professional liability insurance, and specify how liability will be addressed in case of disputes, damages, or errors.

  1. Dispute Resolution:

Include a clause that outlines the procedure for resolving disputes, whether through mediation, arbitration, or litigation and specify the jurisdiction where disputes will be resolved.

  1. Governing Law:

Identify the jurisdiction whose laws will govern the agreement in case of legal disputes.

  1. Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation:

If necessary, include clauses that restrict the Contractor from competing with the Client or soliciting the Client’s employees or clients for a specified period after the engagement ends.

  1. Indemnification:

Define the responsibilities of each party regarding legal claims and liabilities, including who will indemnify whom in case of legal issues arising from the engagement.

  1. Signatures:

Leave space for the signatures and dates of both parties. Make sure both parties review and understand the terms before signing.

  1. Miscellaneous Clauses:

Depending on the specific circumstances, you may want to include additional clauses related to taxes, insurance, warranties, and other relevant terms.

Elevate Your Consulting Career: Explore Our Independent Consultant Agreement

The Advantages of a Consulting Contract

Entering into a consulting agreement can bring about the following advantages:

  • It identifies the range of the project’s activities

One might expect to discuss a wide range of potential projects with prospective clients while offering consulting services. A client can quickly accumulate a substantial desire list. It is, however, essential to have a well-defined scope of work to accomplish a task.

  • Disputes can be prevented

Consultancy or consulting agreements might supply a specific quantity of expertise. It was agreed that the scope of services would be established, and the consultants would lose money if any services were not performed. Conflicts between the parties will be avoided as a result of this agreement.

  • The use of professional services is an option

In most cases, these consulting agreements are signed between the parties to ensure the expert’s services are provided. If, for example, an organisation is looking to overhaul and streamline its whole IT infrastructure, it might sign a contract with an IT consulting firm. It would necessitate a consulting agreement between the IT Company and the organisation. The scope of a consulting arrangement is much broader than just IT and includes professional services such as accounting, legal, and other business services.

  • Sets the stage for the future

Retainers would be the most common type of these contracts. Because of this, it is crucial to assess the relationship before signing a consultancy agreement. An agreement between two or more parties to provide consulting services is called a “consulting agreement.” A consultancy agreement is the only way for the parties to create such a partnership.

FAQs on Independent Consultancy Agreement:

What is a consultancy agreement?

Explain what a consultancy agreement is and how it relates to an Independent Contractor Agreement. A consultancy agreement typically refers to a specific type of contract where a consultant provides expert advice or services to a client, often for a fee.

What is the difference between a consultancy agreement and a service-level agreement?

Differentiate between a consultancy agreement, which primarily involves the provision of expert advice or services, and a service level agreement (SLA), which outlines the specific service expectations, standards, and performance metrics for services provided.

What is the difference between a master service agreement and a consultancy agreement?

Clarify the distinctions between a master service agreement (MSA), which serves as a framework for multiple projects or services between the same parties, and a consultancy agreement, which focuses on a specific consulting engagement.

How to create an independent contractor agreement

Offer step-by-step guidance on creating an Independent Contractor Agreement, including templates and best practices for tailoring the agreement to specific needs and legal requirements.

How do you negotiate a consulting agreement?

Provide tips and strategies for negotiating the terms and conditions of a consulting agreement, including points of negotiation, common pitfalls to avoid, and ways to achieve a mutually beneficial agreement between the consultant and the client.


An independent contractor agreement, or at least a knowledge of its components, can begin with these principles. It may take some time to draft a legally binding contract, but the effort is well worth it. If you need any help, Vakilsearch is here for you. You can check out our website to know more about Independent Consultant Agreement. 

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