Important Terms for Your Virtual Assistant Agreement
Virtual Assistants are becoming more and more in demand, and for good reason! With the uptick in more and more people jumping into freelancing and entrepreneurship, there is a serious need to delegate certain aspects in your business.
In fact, I hired a virtual assistant before I even launched Contracts Market, because there was SO much to do, and I knew I wouldn't be able to do it on my own.
As a virtual assistant, it's so important that your processes are dialled and that you are professional, organized and most important, trustworthy. Your clients will literally be letting you into one of the most important aspects of their lives: their business!
That's why I think it is so important that you have a great contract in place that shows your clients right from the get-go how seriously you take your business; even if they're you're very first client!
Putting a great contract in place early on in your business is a great way to sort out your own client processes and procedures and consider things you otherwise might not have thought about otherwise. If you kinda neglected this, no shame here, just put it on your list and get it done ASAP!
As a virtual assistant, you're being granted access to client files, information and are often given a lot of responsibility, so you'll want to make sure you're covered, legally. A great contract will ensure you and your client feel secure in the relationship you're about to jump into.
A contract is the foundation of your client relationship will lay out the basics of exactly what it will be like working together from the start. It should detail the relationship, your policies, procedures and answer questions your client might not have even known they had.
So here are a few things that should definitely be included in your contract if you're a Virtual Assistant:
Description of Work. Be specific when it comes to setting out the services you provide and do not provide as part of your agreement. This is really important to make sure you stay in your lane and your client is clear about the things they can delegate and outsource (hello, boundaries). For example, creating social media content might totally be within your scope of work, but bookkeeping (even the basics) are not! Make sure your limitations are set out so your client is aware of these from the start.
Hours of Service ~ Just because you work virtually doesn’t mean you’re available 24/7 (unless you are!). As a contractor (which most VA’s are), you have the power to choose when you work and when you do not. Having clear office hours allows you to set boundaries and manage expectations.
Payment Terms ~ This includes what their retainer or hourly rate is, when invoices are to be paid, late fees, etc. This should be very straightforward and easy for your client to understand. If you collect a retainer, ensure you let them know your refund policy, and set this out in your cancellation clause.
Term/Termination Clause ~ Here you should include how much notice teither of you must give to terminate the agreement and what situations might warrant the agreement be terminated without notice.
Preferred Methods of Communication ~ Asana, Slack, FB Messenger, Voxer, Email - it is REALLY easy for instructions and requests to get lost. Be clear with your clients about your preferred method for receiving instructions and tracking delegated work. For example, I use Asana to send requests to my VA and track work completed, and quick questions/voice notes (who doesn't love a good voice note!) via WhatsApp. Then we know where to look for certain information!
Rollover Hours ~ Some months might be busier than others, depending on the type of niche or industry your client is in. Do you allow clients to rollover unused hours? Do they lose hours they don’t use, regardless if they already paid for them? Whatever your policy, be very clear about this. I find this clause causes lots of disputes if not dealt with appropriately!
Time Tracking. Let your client know if/how you keep track of hours spent. If your client purchases a specific number of hours for the month (10 hours, 20 hours, etc.) then out of courtesy, you should be tracking those hours to ensure you are meeting your quota (or if you go over and need to charge overtime). This allows your client to understand how long certain tasks take and a good way to let them know whether they have the right amount of time/type of package you offer etc.
Rush Fee ~ Sometimes, things need to be done, like yesterday! In certain cases, if your client needs something rushed, do you accommodate this with a rush fee? A good thing to include in your contract.
Copyright Ownership ~ In almost all cases when hiring a virtual assistant, clients expect that the work created for them will be owned by them. Intellectual property ownership and confusion causes lots of issues. It's really important that you set this out in writing in your contract, so there is no miscommunication.
Release and Limit of Liability ~ Since you have an inside look into your client’s business, you’ll want to ensure that you have indemnity and limitation of liability language in your agreement which protects you from any third party claims. Keep in mind that no contracts are 100% bulletproof but this can act as a defence for you if there is ever a law suit. *See bonus tip below!
Confidentiality. You're being provided with and have access to a lot of your client's and their customer's most confidential information and business records. It's important to let your client know you respect this and will take your responsibility to keep said confidential information, well confidential! Be aware that if you hire subcontractors for your business, you need to ensure they are aware of this duty as well.
While this list definitely isn't exhaustive, it gives you an idea of the important terms that you should consider including in your virtual assistant contact
Consider Business Insurance! If legal's not sexy, insurance is right there with it, but it's SO important!
It's a great idea to speak to your insurance broker about general and commercial liability and cyber insurance. As you’ll have access to your client’s backend systems, there is greater liability at stake in the event of a breach.
So if you're looking for your sign to get a great contract template - this is it!
If you need a Virtual Assistant Services Agreement for your business, I've got you covered, and it comes as part of a bundle too.
If you're already using a contract in your business, use this post as a checklist, review yours and see if there is room for improvement. If you find yourself in a position where your client asks you to sign their agreement, to make sure these types of terms are also included. Remember, there is usually always room to negotiate!