If you take Virtual Assistant jobs and don’t have a contract, you’re flying blind.
You’re practically asking for late payments and scope creep from your clients if you don’t have a signed, written contract.
The good news?
In this guide, I’m going to teach you everything you need to know about Virtual Assistant Contracts and why it’s ESSENTIAL to have one, so you are legally protected.
Let’s get started.
What is a Virtual Assistant Contract?
A Virtual Assistant Contract is the single most important legal document for your business. If you only have ONE legal document in your business, this is it.
When things turn sour with a client, a verbal agreement will not cut it. You need a properly written contract to enforce your rights and make sure your business is legally covered.
A contract is a legal agreement between two parties (the client and the virtual assistant) that covers each party’s rights and responsibilities.
This contract includes all of the crucial elements of your working relationship with the client. This includes the services you will provide, your fees, payment terms and other important clauses such as confidentiality, termination and limitation of liability.
We’ll go into more detail further below, but for now, think of it as the definitive record of what you have agreed to and how you will manage the work.
Are there any other names for a Virtual Assistant contract?
Yes, you might have also heard this contract referred to as a Virtual Assistant Client Agreement, Virtual Assistant Agreement, Service Agreement, Virtual Assistant Terms and Conditions, Terms of Business or a Retainer Agreement.
All of them are basically the same thing, just different names for the contract you use with your clients.
Do You Need A Virtual Assistant Contract in Australia?
Don’t make the same mistake as other Australian virtual assistants who delivered their end of the bargain only to be left with a client who refused to pay them, or worse, simply disappeared, never to be heard of again.
Here’s the thing:
You want to get paid for your work (duh!), but If you can’t prove it, you’re going to have a hard time chasing anyone down for payment through the proper legal channels.
That’s why you have a contract!
Unfortunately, the legal side of virtual assistant jobs can go neglected (or worse, ignored) for far too long due to a lack of funds, knowledge, or both.
Don’t make the same mistake.
Always make sure you have a signed contract with your client before any new engagement. This will ensure that both parties are crystal clear on the terms of your agreement, the services you will provide, when and how much they will pay you, and what to do if there are any issues.
The bottom line?
You need a contract for three very good reasons:
- Avoid risk
- Protect your business and assets
- Clearly set out your terms for clients
What Does A Virtual Assistant Contract Include?
Every contract is different, but we recommend your VA contract includes the following terms and conditions:
★ Schedule of Services – this is a clear outline of the services you will provide. It is usually contained in a table at the start of your contract for easy reference.
★ Type of engagement and working hours – a basic description of the package or special engagement for a particular project, including the days and hours you will be available.
★ Scope (the services you will provide) – list any of the specific service items you will offer as part of your package (e.g. social media, graphic design, call answering etc.).
★ Deliverables – you should be clear about any tasks or quantities you include for each service item. One example would be 2 posts per day for social media services.
★ Equipment and place of work – confirm you will provide your own equipment and will be working remotely unless the client will provide any equipment or you will work on-site for them.
★ Client Responsibilities, Warranty and Indemnity – this is an important legal clause that sets out what the client is responsible for. It also provides a warranty on the information they provide to you and indemnifies you against any violations of intellectual property rights.
★ Fees – many people would consider this the most important part – how much you will charge! It is completely up to you to set your own fees. You could charge either an hourly rate, a fixed amount for a project or a regular amount for your package (daily, weekly or monthly).
★ Expenses – make sure you include any additional expenses you expect to incur and specify how the client will reimburse you.
★ Payment Terms – when you will invoice the client, your payment terms (e.g. 7-day terms), and any deposit or upfront charges. You should also very clearly spell out any interest charges for overdue payments and the option to refer an overdue debt to a debt collector or lawyer.
★ Term – set out the term for a fixed-term contract.
★ Confidentiality – trust is an important part of any relationship. Confidentiality is a crucial requirement for any good VA contract to give the client peace of mind and show them you are a true professional.
★ Intellectual Property – another important legal clause. Confirm that any documents, files or other works developed during the course of your engagement will belong to the client.
★ Limitation of Liability and Indemnity – it is good business to limit your liability as much as possible.
★ Termination – nobody wants to lose a client; it’s awkward and uncomfortable. However, it’s important not to forget a termination clause in your contract. This explains how and why either party can terminate the agreement.
★ Dispute Resolution – every good contract includes a dispute resolution clause that explains how you can deal with a problem if it arises.
Can I subcontract some of my work to other Virtual Assistants?
Yes, you can! A good Virtual Assistant Contract allows you to subcontract one or more aspects of the services you provide to the client. However, it requires you to remain the head contractor (meaning that you will remain responsible for the subcontractor’s services).
How do I make it official?
A contract without a signature is like an empty promise.
You might be able to prove a client has accepted your contract without a signature (e.g. if they have paid a deposit), but it’s ALWAYS best practice to have a signed contract before you get started.
Your signature page should include space for name, signature and the date.
Don’t forget, both the client AND you should sign the contract.
When you send your contract to a new client, ask them to sign, scan and email it back to you. Otherwise, you can use signature apps like DocuSign, Adobe Sign or, HelloSign to electronically sign the document.
Don’t do work for a client without a signed contract. Ever.
You might be alright..maybe...
But then again, you might not be.
Everyone wants to get paid.
Make sure you have a proper Virtual Assistant Contract in your business and present a professional image to your clients.
They will appreciate the transparency, and it will also give you proper legal protection.
Need a Virtual Assistant Contract?
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