How to write scope of work (SOW) document | Example Included

Scope of work (SOW)

Scope Of Work (SOW) 

Scope of work (SOW) is a formal document written by the service provider to clarify his obligations to the client. It is meant to describe the objectives, timeline, milestones, and possible outcomes of the deal. Simply put, SOW is a reference guide set up before the start of any project and is referred back to, in case of any disputes and contentions. 

How To Write Scope Of Work (SOW) Document

There is no absolute or single correct way to write an SOW document, but there are some guidelines that can help you shape it properly. When writing one, four things need to be clarified in detail. WHY, HOW, WHEN, and WHO. Getting into the specifics of these will get you an excellent SOW document. 

For instance, if working on a marketing gig, one needs to specify the objective (Why) “generating 50% more sales”, strategy (how)“using email marketing”, the timeline (when)“in the next quarter”, and the people responsible (who) “by deploying three marketing specialists for 40 hours a week”, in detail. These four things need to be discussed with specific details and full disclosure to make a proper scope of work (SOW). 

How to write scope of work (SOW) document

To know why you should write an SOW you should go through the importance of the SOW document here. Some business jargons are often thrown around when discussing SOW. These are a few you need to be aware of to structure an SOW correctly. 


After tables of content, a brief introduction of the company, and a glossary, the first project-specific thing which comes up is the project scope. You need to define in simple terms how you perceive the task and how the end product will look like. This should also include services that are included and excluded in the pact. 

To understand these concepts clearly, let’s take a sample project. Consider a 6-month digital marketing project allotted to you and you have to do SEO of a software company’s site to improve its ranking.

So the scope should be something like this 

“This collaboration will be a 6-month collaboration starting from 1st July till 30th December. The scope of the project is to improve the ranking of the site by eliminating all technical errors of the site. For the next semester, the site will be worked at 20 hours a week by 2 marketing specialists to bring the site to the 1st-page of google’s ranking and increase organic traffic. ”


After defining the basic scope, dive into the details of the project. Milestones are small breakdowns of the final target. This breakdown is done to keep in check the progress of work, and the completion of milestones indicates the project is headed towards the intended direction. 

Continuing with the ongoing example the milestones of our project can be 

  • Deep Audit of the site technical errors 
  • Fixation of URLs, meta descriptions, and title lengths of 50 pre-written articles on site 
  • Make pre-written content SEO friendly and reduce the plagiarism to 1.5% 
  • Uploading 48 new tech niche articles on the site. Each ranging from 800-1200 words.
  • Build 200 relevant backlinks with each site having DA more than 75 and removal of spammy backlinks.
  • Town down the bounce rate by 60%
  • Reach monthly organic traffic of 15000 per month 


After dividing the project into small gullible parts, a brief timeline should be mentioned. Here it is defined how long each task is going to continue. The completion dates of sub-milestones, deadlines, and room for error everything is mentioned transparently in this section.

The timeline for our sample project can be as follow 

  •  Deep audit and technical analysis of the site          from 1st July to 8th July
  •  Fixation of 3 articles per week                                   from 9th July till 9th October 
  • Addition of 2 new articles per week                           from 1st  July to 30th December 
  • Removal of 10 spammy backlinks each week          from 1st  July to 30th December
  • Reaching organic traffic of 8000                                15th September (or earlier)
  • Building 130 backlinks                                                  15th September (or earlier)
  • Reaching organic traffic of 15000                              December 30th (or earlier) 
  • Building 200 backlinks                                                 December 30th (or earlier) 



This section mentions how frequently the client will be updated regarding the progress and what ways will be used. The people responsible for presenting the may be named too in this section.

The reports section in the SOW document of our sample project can be  

“ Weekly update will be presented by project lead Mr faizan  to Mr. Ali each Monday between 10 am – 3 pm starting from week 3 

  Weekly reports will include 

  •  Previous week’s ranking updates 
  • Name and number of articles published in the week 
  • Name and number of articles corrected in the week 
  • Site’s weekly and monthly traffic along with percentage increase in it.”

Payment Gateways

Payment Gateways

After mentioning the ins and outs of the project, now comes the part to discuss the project’s bottom line. The net amount payable by the client should be clearly mentioned here, plus any additional charges for reviews, hosting service, etc. Also, the terms of payment alongside the method should be discussed thoroughly.

“The net bill charged to Mr. Ali inclusive of all the services will be $5500. The plan will be 3 term. $1500 hundred will be paid upfront, $2000 after 3 months (on 1st October) and the rest $2000 will be paid at the project’s completion on 30th December

The gateway used will be bank transfers and the transferal fee will be paid by the client.   ”


So, depending upon the project, there should be additional sections in the scope of work (sow) document. All should be defined under respective headings from mentioning the specific technologies to the names of people deployed and the amount of testing. Just keep in mind, more detailed an SOW is, the better. 

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