Whether you work remotely or operate an in-person brick-and-mortar business, you’re most likely looking for ways to better manage time and outsource some admin tasks to a third party.
Enter virtual assistants.
Virtual assistants (or online business managers) provide administrative services –– such as appointment scheduling, organization and coordination, or data entry –– to clients. Think of them as external executive assistants. Since these contractors work remotely and don’t share an office space with clients, they must clearly establish their working terms in a straightforward virtual assistant contract.
Here’s everything you need to know about contract agreements for VAs. We’ve also included a virtual assistant contract template that will help you set ground rules and kick-start your professional relationship on the right foot.
What is a virtual assistant contract?
A virtual assistant contract is an official document signed by both the independent contractor (or virtual assistant) and the employing party. It encompasses all agreed-upon terms and conditions. The contract acts as proof and protects the assistant’s privacy and rights if things go south.
3 reasons you need a contract as a virtual assistant
Independent contractors often have to carve their own paths. They form their businesses from the ground up, define payment and other terms, and determine unique ways of working. And no two contractors are the same.
So, when you begin working with a new client as a virtual assistant, provide them information about how you run your business, days and hours of operation, and more, so that both parties are on the same page.
Many people think contracts are a fail-safe against sticky legal situations, and they certainly can be. But contracts don’t only exist for dispute resolution. These documents clearly delineate terms and make sure that a working relationship runs smoothly. Here are some benefits of contracts:
- Provides evidence of the business relationship: We all want to avoid a worst-case scenario with a client, but even the most polished professionals sometimes run into a difficult situation. If you ever face litigation or need to collect a payment, a contract will provide proof of the business relationship and its terms.
- Delineates your role: As a freelancer, you’re in charge of your time. It’s tough to set limits, especially when the client pushes boundaries and expects more than what you agreed upon. The service terms in your contract not only help your client understand what you’re willing to provide but also back you up if you run into an issue. Having a contract also opens a conversation about your role, and if a client thinks they’d like additional services (and you’re happy to offer them), modify the contract before signing.
- Makes your client feel at ease: Business owners like to know what they’re getting for their money –– it’s as simple as that. When you have a comprehensive contract, a client rests easier knowing they’ll receive work in time.
What to include in your virtual assistant agreement
The idea behind an agreement template is that you can alter it as needed. Make a general outline, then fill out all the fields in your administrative assistant contract with specifics when establishing a new relationship with a client.
Here’s what your contractor agreement should include:
- Service description: Explain your services, leaving editable spaces for more specific details about the particular deliverables you’ll offer each client.
- Hours: Leave space to describe your working hours, schedule, and time zone. Although some of this information (such as the hours you don’t work and the time zone you live in) won’t change from contract to contract, the number of hours may.
- Payment terms: Add your general compensation terms (such as accepted currencies and payment forms) and space where you can modify your contract on a per-client basis for other terms, such as the frequency of payment and amounts due. You can also include penalties for late payments.
- Vacation terms: If you sign a long-term contract with clients, you’ll need a break. And since you’re an independent service provider, no one else can or will establish these terms for you. Be sure to state how many vacation days you need, how often you take these breaks, and if you wish to be paid for time off.
- Timeline: Establish a clear timeline for the start and end dates of the contract.
- A signature field: This may seem obvious, but don’t forget the signature field. Signing and dating the contract validates it.
Other legal documents you may need
A valid contract is an excellent start to forming an organized and honest professional relationship. But make sure you cover all your bases. Here are some other documents you should consider drafting:
- Confidentiality agreements: In this agreement, you and your client will agree not to disclose confidential information, protecting sensitive data on both sides.
- Exclusivity contract: If you only want your clients to work with you as an administrative assistant, ask them to sign an exclusivity contract so they don’t hire a third party for similar services during your contract’s term. You and your client can also bar each other from hiring or providing similar services to other clients with a non-compete clause.
- Invoices and reimbursement receipts: Keep formal track of payments by invoicing your clients for your services and sending them a receipt once you’ve officially received payment.
- Company policies: Write out your policies (and even consider having your client sign them) in a separate document to reinforce critical points about the scope of your services.
Last-minute tips for reviewing and signing contracts
Before you send your agreement to your first client, consider these final tips for perfecting your agreement:
- Have a lawyer look over your contract: Even if you use a sample virtual assistant contract as a guide or base your agreement on one of the templates we offer Practice users, you’ll need to modify it to suit your services. Ensure you’re not missing out on essential points by getting a legal professional to review your finished document.
- Make sure you change the terms correctly: Since you’ll modify your executive assistant contract for each client, take a few extra minutes to reread the changes and ensure you haven’t left data from a previous engagement by accident.
- Securely send and save copies: Use a customer relationship management (CRM) tool like Practice’s to safely send and store copies of your contract.
Contracts are a wonderful way to officially put things into perspective. After all, you don’t want clients to raise any questions about your virtual assistant business. The virtual assistant contract, along with all other legal documents, ensures transparency between you and your clients. But managing too many tasks simultaneously increases the risk of errors.
That’s where a CRM tool makes life easy. Practice’s CRM allows you to track everything from files to client records in one place. It helps you schedule appointments, manage invoices, and safely store files. Try us today.