In my last post I discussed the importance of conducting consultations with in your search for a virtual assistant.
Top Secret Tip #6: The Contract-
When you’ve found the virtual professional you feel comfortable and confident with, let them know that you’d like to work with them. If they too feel that you’re a good match for their business they should then mention drafting a contract or agreement for you to sign.
Any virtual professional worth their rate is going to not only want to have a signed contract/agreement but they are going to have one of their own. You should not be required to draft one. If the professional you’ve chosen does not, my suggestion is to look elsewhere. This is a sure sign of someone who is either new to the business or is not business savvy.
My contract has evolved as my business has. I now have a General Services Agreement that I personalize for each project client, a Retainer Services contract for retainer clients and several specialized agreements/contracts for my packaged and project services like blog maintenance and blog creation.
If you see wording or sections you would like to see changed, ask for changes. My clients have rarely asked for more than small wording changes, so I’ve never had a situation where I’ve refused to make changes. I would however hold firm if it changed critical parts like my Limitation of Remedies and Liability sections.
This should also be the point where you agree on the method of communication, basic turnaround times, etc. These items don’t necessarily have to be addressed within the contract, but should be outlined in writing somehow.
Does this mean if you’re a project by project client using the same virtual assistant each time you must have a contract? Not necessarily. Although it might be ideal, you might also find it unnecessarily repetitive. In situations where you’ve worked with the same virtual assistant repeatedly it may make more sense to use a contract that applies to current and future projects to avoid the repetition.
Working with a virtual assistant is a professional collaboration and should be entered into with that in mind. A binding contract serves to not only clarify services and their delivery, but it protects both you and your virtual assistant in the event that things go wrong.