You've decided that now is the right time to start working with a freelance PA, or better still a Virtual Assistant. While that is really good news we ought to look at some of the practicalities around agreements and what you can expect. There will have to be an agreement in place relating to the scope of work, a contract outlining the finer details and expectations of the working relationship.
So, as the service provider, what type of contract will your Virtual Assistant ask you to sign? You may already have discussed some details such as the scope of work and payment terms. Although each contract will vary it is most likely to fall into one of the following three categories and you should work with your service provider to decide which type of contract best suits you, your business and the level of work involved.
This is a straightforward, pay-by-the-hour, contract. Work will be completed and then invoiced within an agreed timescale. Some Virtual Assistants work only on an hourly basis but for many, this type of contract is best suited for short-term work such as holiday cover or providing admin services during peak business times.
A retainer is simply a block of hours. It may be for as little a four hours per week or as many as sixty per month. Retainer hours are usually paid upfront (or at least 50%) with working times and deadlines agreed prior to the commencement of work. Retainers are a good way of working for both parties as the hours can be scheduled and costs are set so there should be no surprises on either side. Everyone knows where they are.
These days a lot of Virtual Assistants are offering package rates which means set tasks at a set price. Package prices are not based on an hour by hour basis but do involve a specified set of work to be completed within a given time. For example; posting to social media accounts an agreed number of times per day/week. In this instance, a fixed fee for completion of the work is beneficial when compared to paying by the hour. One off projects can also be more cost effective if packaged. One price for the entire project - you know what you are getting and there are no hidden costs. The scope of work within a package should be detailed, with no grey areas and many Virtual Assistants will agree to ad-hoc items, for an additional fee, should you need them. Again, packages are usually payable in advance and you have the advantage of knowing exactly what service you will receive and how much you will pay, allowing you to budget accurately.
Virtual Assistants all work differently, depending on their own business model. There is no right or wrong way. Some will only offer one of the above contract options while others, like me, can offer any of the above options but we all will work with you to find the most cost effective solution.
If you would like to find out more, please get in touch with me at Online Office Services Ltd.
Copyright Online Office Services Ltd August 2015. All rights reserved.