General Sub-Contractor Agreement (Self-Employed)


A General Sub-Contractor Agreement (Self-Employed) is a legally binding contract between a contractor and a subcontractor, outlining the terms and conditions of their working relationship. In the United Kingdom, such agreements are governed by the laws of England and Wales. This expert guide provides a comprehensive overview of key elements to include in such an agreement to ensure clarity, protection of rights, and compliance with relevant laws.

Parties Involved

Contractor: The party engaging the services of the subcontractor.

Subcontractor: The self-employed individual or entity providing services to the contractor.

Essential Components of the Agreement


Clearly state the date of the agreement and the full legal names and addresses of both parties.

Define the nature of the relationship as that of contractor and subcontractor.

Scope of Work

Detail the specific services the subcontractor will perform.

Specify any deliverables, deadlines, or milestones.

Duration of Agreement

Specify the start date and, if applicable, the end date or duration of the agreement.

Include provisions for termination by either party, with notice requirements.

Payment Terms

Outline the agreed-upon payment structure, including rates, frequency of payments, and any applicable taxes.

Specify invoicing procedures and deadlines.


Clarify which party is responsible for covering expenses related to the subcontracted work, such as materials, travel, or equipment.

Intellectual Property Rights

Define ownership of any intellectual property created during the course of the subcontracted work.

Include provisions for the subcontractor to transfer ownership of any relevant intellectual property rights to the contractor.


Impose obligations on both parties to maintain the confidentiality of sensitive information shared during the engagement.

Specify the duration of confidentiality obligations, which may extend beyond the termination of the agreement.


Clarify each party’s responsibility for indemnifying the other against any claims, losses, or damages arising from the subcontracted work.


Require the subcontractor to maintain appropriate insurance coverage, such as public liability insurance, and provide proof of coverage upon request.

Dispute Resolution

Specify the process for resolving any disputes that may arise under the agreement, such as mediation or arbitration.

Designate the jurisdiction and governing law for any legal proceedings.


Detail the circumstances under which either party may terminate the agreement, including breaches of contract or insolvency.

Specify notice periods and any consequences of termination, such as payment for work completed or reimbursement of expenses.

Miscellaneous Provisions

Include any additional clauses relevant to the specific nature of the subcontracted work or the preferences of the parties.

Ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including those related to employment, tax, and health and safety.


A well-drafted General Sub-Contractor Agreement (Self-Employed) is essential for establishing clear expectations and protecting the interests of both parties involved. It is advisable for both contractors and subcontractors to seek legal advice when drafting or entering into such agreements to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations. By carefully outlining the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of each party, a comprehensive agreement can help mitigate risks and facilitate a successful working relationship.

What is a subcontractor agreement?

A subcontractor agreement is a legally binding contract between a contractor and a subcontractor outlining the terms and conditions of their working relationship. It defines the scope of work, payment terms, and other important details.

Why do I need a subcontractor agreement?

A subcontractor agreement clarifies the expectations and responsibilities of both parties, helps prevent misunderstandings, and protects the rights of both the contractor and subcontractor.

What should be included in a subcontractor agreement?

Key components include the scope of work, payment terms, duration of the agreement, confidentiality provisions, dispute resolution mechanisms, and termination clauses.

How do I determine if someone is a subcontractor or an employee?

Factors such as control over work, financial arrangements, and provision of tools and equipment are considered when determining if someone is a subcontractor or an employee. It’s important to ensure compliance with relevant employment laws.

Can a subcontractor work for multiple contractors simultaneously?

Yes, unless specified otherwise in the subcontractor agreement, subcontractors typically have the freedom to work for multiple contractors simultaneously.

What happens if there is a dispute between the contractor and subcontractor?

The subcontractor agreement should outline a dispute resolution mechanism, such as mediation or arbitration, to resolve conflicts. Legal action may be pursued if necessary, based on the terms of the agreement.

Are subcontractors responsible for their own taxes?

Yes, subcontractors are typically responsible for paying their own taxes, including income tax and National Insurance contributions. Contractors are not responsible for deducting taxes from subcontractors’ payments.

Can subcontractors subcontract work to others?

In some cases, subcontractors may have the right to subcontract work to others, but this should be explicitly addressed in the subcontractor agreement and may require consent from the contractor.

Is it necessary for subcontractors to have insurance?

It is advisable for subcontractors to have appropriate insurance coverage, such as public liability insurance, to protect themselves and the contractor against potential liabilities arising from their work.

Can subcontractor agreements be terminated?

Yes, subcontractor agreements can be terminated by either party under certain circumstances, as outlined in the agreement. Typically, termination clauses specify notice periods and any consequences of termination, such as payment for work completed.

Joseph Turner