What is a Service Contract?

Service contracts are legal documents for service-related tasks, such as automotive tuning or residential painting. The "service" aspect is what distinguishes this type of contract from one that is for goods or products. People who often use service contracts include consultants, freelance workers, contractors, and anyone else involved in a business agreement that involves the payment by one party to another in exchange for a specific service. 

In the state of New York, service contracts are agreements for additional or separate consideration and for a specific period of time to:

  • Perform maintenance, repairs, or replacement services at a specific property
  • Replace or maintain property as a result of defective workmanship or materials
  • Perform indemnification for a necessary repair or maintenance service

Service contracts can cover most types of property used when rendering said services. However, the most common types of property using service contracts include:

  • Heating, cooling, and ventilation systems
  • Personal electronics
  • Electrical systems
  • Motor vehicles
  • Home appliances
  • Plumbing systems
  • Computers

Additionally, service contracts may also cover property damage as the result of accidents during handling or power surges. Service contracts commonly cover:

  • Removal or repair of dings, creases, or dents from another motor vehicle without impacting the current paint finish, such as through paint-free dent repair
  • Replacement or repair of a vehicle's wheel or tire that became damaged as the result of a road hazard
  • Repair of cracks or chips in a car's windshield

A service contract related to road hazards, motor vehicles, dent repair, or windshield repair could also include coverage for emergency road service, rental, and towing.

Does a Service Agreement Need to be in Writing?

It's always smart to put a service contract in writing, especially since these types of business transactions are often executed between family members or small businesses. When you have an agreement in writing, both parties will have a better understanding of their expectations and responsibilities. This helps to ensure that all services are performed at an agreed-upon price.

What to do if a Contract is Broken?

Should the other party fail to keep their end of the deal and breaks the contract, you can take legal action in your local small claims court.

Important Aspects of a Service Contract

A service contract must include a comprehensive and understandable description of what work will be done. This description should specify aspects, like when the work will be completed, how it will be done, and what steps are involved in the process. It should also include any specific materials that will be used, as well as any alternative materials that have been approved. When you have all details outlined in your contract, your rights are protected should something go awry during the process. 

Creating and Designing a Service Contract Using Microsoft Windows 

When creating your own service contract, open the Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) application. The first step is to define the service's operations, which can be done by creating a method and marking it with “OperationContractAttribute,” an attribute within the app. You should also group all operations together, which can be done by defining them in a specific class for shared attributes or marking the ServiceContractAttribute attribute to declare the group. Not using the OperationContractAttribute attribute will take away the service operations, which means they won't be exposed by WCF services. 

Both interfaces and classes refer to functionality grouping. As a result, you can use both in defining a WCF service contract. It is better to use interfaces as they offer direct models of service contracts. Failure to implement means that the interfaces will do nothing more than define a specific method group with set signatures. 

Using a streamlined interface to produce and manage service contracts comes with a number of benefits. You can:

  • Update the version of your service interface by connecting both the current version and the updated version. This allows current and older clients to maintain their contracts.
  • Service contract-specific interfaces will extend to multiple users
  • Modify the service contract by simply changing the implementation within the interface
  • Use a single class to implement a number of service contracts

If you plan to inherit from another service contract interface, overriding of operation properties is restricted. This includes the namespace or name. Attempting to override operation properties will create a new operation in the contract.

If you need help with a service contract, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.