Cost plus Fee Agreements

When it comes to business agreements, there are several types to choose from. One of the most popular agreements used in the service industry is the cost-plus fee agreement. This agreement is often used by contractors, construction companies, and other service providers to protect their interests while offering transparent pricing to clients. In this article, we will explore what a cost-plus fee agreement is, how it works, and its benefits and drawbacks.

What is a Cost Plus Fee Agreement?

A cost-plus fee agreement, also known as a cost-plus contract, is a type of business agreement in which a service provider is paid for their services and reimbursed for all costs incurred. The fee typically covers the service provider`s overhead and profit margin. Under this agreement, the client pays for the actual cost of materials, labor, and other expenses associated with the project, plus a pre-determined fee.

How Does it Work?

Under a cost-plus fee agreement, the client and the service provider agree on a price structure that covers both the cost of the project and the service provider`s fee. The service provider will invoice the client for the actual cost of materials, labor, and any other costs associated with the project. The client will then pay the service provider for the actual cost, plus the pre-determined fee. The fee is typically a percentage of the total project cost.

Benefits of a Cost Plus Fee Agreement

One of the biggest benefits of a cost-plus fee agreement is transparency. The client is aware of the actual cost of materials, labor, and other expenses incurred during the project. This makes it easier for the client to budget and ensures that there are no hidden fees or costs. Additionally, the cost-plus fee agreement allows the service provider to earn a fair profit while still offering a competitive price. It also protects the service provider`s interests by covering their actual costs.

Drawbacks of a Cost Plus Fee Agreement

One of the drawbacks of a cost-plus fee agreement is the potential for cost overruns. If the project goes over the estimated budget, the client will have to pay the additional costs. Additionally, since the service provider`s fee is based on a percentage of the actual cost, there may be a lack of incentive for the service provider to reduce costs. Finally, since the actual cost of the project is not known until the project is complete, it can be challenging to estimate the final cost accurately.


In conclusion, a cost-plus fee agreement can be a useful tool in the service industry, providing transparency for clients and protecting service providers. However, it is important to carefully consider the potential drawbacks and ensure that the agreement is properly structured to avoid cost overruns and other issues. By understanding the benefits and drawbacks of a cost-plus fee agreement, clients and service providers can make an informed decision that meets their needs.