In this article, we address a series of interrelated issues in the managerial challenge of public service contracting. This is done by prompting ten issues within four objectives and highlighting their relevance and potential interrelatedness in effective contract management. In contrast to prevalent piecemeal and theoretically one-dimensional approaches, the objectives and issues constitute a holistic framework that advances a comprehensive and pragmatic understanding of contracting processes. We hope that the framework merits further in-depth exploration that may generate new insights, themes and questions for research in public service contracting. We identify and exemplify the framework by combining insights from different theoretical perspectives with empirical evidence through an iterative process. The evidence is educed as a set of observed and self-reported stories in a cross-national sample of 15 cases of contracting-out in urban green-space management.