The Devil is in the Details.
Why do we create Statements of Work (SOW) for our clients? We already know what the client needs, so
why do we need to formally write it down? In a creative business like ours, revisions are a critical part of
any budget and timeline. The goal of a SOW is to avoid the revision nightmare that blows through the
budget, kills a timeline, frustrates all parties, and leaves the client with an incomplete project.
What is an SOW?
An SOW is a legal binding document and requires both parties to read and fully understand what is being
executed. It ensures the agency and clients are on the same page and aligned on project goals, scope of
work, objectives and expectations of each party.
What is included in a SOW (Statement of Work)?
Our SOW process is based on an understanding of the client needs and agency deliverables that can be
accomplished within the client’s budget. It typically includes a summary of the work to be done, as well as
the overall approach, key deliverables, milestones/dates, amount of time, estimated project fee and billing
terms. In addition it outlines any assumptions and clarifies anything that is not included (e.g., hard costs,
which typically are estimated once further along in the project and more details are known).
Examples of assumptions, include roles and responsibilities of each party, how many initial
concepts/designs are included, rounds of revisions, who will be writing copy, or editing copy. Are we
building out print-ready files and facilitating printing, or is the client doing that? Any deviation or suggested
deviations from the SOW warrant a conversation and may result in a change order depending on the
Why are SOWs so important?
While an SOW is a document that protects both sides of the partnership from being taken advantage of, it
also is an incredibly useful tool to create a sense of timeliness for decision making. It helps to avoid those
“awkward” conversations between the client and agency about rounds of revisions and timelines, as it
creates a precedent for all parties to follow.
It actually encourages both sides to stay within the scope—that is, to stick to the plan and strategy we
spent so much time putting together—and ensures that our team is compensated when we are asked to
go above and beyond what the original expectations were. In other words, when created and executed
properly, an SOW can help you actually stay on strategy, as well as on time and on budget.
If you have any questions about our SOW process, please feel free to reach out and ask away. Our entire
goal at COHN is to be a trusted asset to our clients, and the SOW helps us help our clients to the fullest