Are you ready to take the plunge and create your first virtual assistant contract? It’s natural to feel nervous about it. Questions like “What should be included?” and “Am I legally covered?” may be running through your mind. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
After receiving positive feedback from our previous post/interview with Danielle Liss from Businessese, we decided to follow up with a comprehensive article to help you navigate the world of virtual assistant contracts.
Unfortunately, the legal aspect of running a virtual assistant business is often neglected due to a lack of funds or knowledge. Understanding the intricacies of contracts can be particularly challenging if you’re unsure of what to look for.
But fret not, because Danielle has graciously shared her expertise in this guest post. So, let’s dive right in and explore the five key provisions that should be included in every virtual assistant contract.
Table of Contents
#1: Payment Terms
Naturally, you want to get paid for your hard work, right? And ethical business owners are more than willing to compensate you for your services. However, when it comes to payment terms, several factors need consideration.
First and foremost, outline your hourly or package rate. Next, decide which methods of payment you’ll accept. Will you require payment in advance or deposits? These are key elements to include in your contract.
Here’s a checklist of payment terms to incorporate:
- The amount to be paid by the client ($30/hour, $500 per project, etc.).
- Whether a deposit is required and the terms for refundability.
- The payment method (PayPal, credit card, cash, check, etc.).
- Whether an invoice is required before payment.
- The payment timeline (weekly, monthly, per project, etc.).
Virtual assistants typically handle payment in one of two ways:
- Charging a flat fee for a full project or dividing it into installment payments for different project phases.
- Utilizing time-based payment structures, such as hourly or monthly rates.
Tip: Remember, as a virtual assistant, you’re not an employee and won’t receive a salary. Consequently, you’ll need to take care of all your tax obligations. Ensure you set aside about 30% of your income for taxes.
#2: Termination Provisions
Firing a client is never pleasant, but it’s an unfortunate reality that you may encounter in your VA business. That’s why it’s crucial to include provisions in your contract that outline how termination should occur.
Ideally, your projects will go smoothly, and you’ll develop great relationships with your clients, negating the need to exercise the termination clause. However, it’s better to be prepared.
Ensure your termination provision covers the following:
- Clarify who has the right to terminate the contract.
- Specify the termination process; should it be in writing or via email?
- Outline the notice period required for termination to become effective.
- Define how payment will be handled if the agreement is terminated. Typically, contractors are paid pro rata based on the work completed up until termination.
Trust is essential in any relationship, and working relationships are no exception. A trustworthy and confidential virtual assistant is worth their weight in gold. It’s common to include a confidentiality provision in most virtual assistant contracts, offering peace of mind to clients and demonstrating the professionalism of your business.
To ensure both parties are on the same page, it’s crucial to clearly define the scope of the confidentiality provision. If you’ll be accessing company logins, discuss how this information should be stored and used.
Tip: Lost on what to recommend for secure storage of logins? LastPass is a free and secure resource you can rely on.
#4 Restrictive Covenants
In certain cases, clients may request virtual assistants to agree to restrictive covenants, such as non-compete or non-solicitation provisions. Non-compete clauses restrict your ability to engage in the same type of business as your client for a specific period, or within a certain geographic area.
A non-solicitation clause, on the other hand, prohibits one party from marketing, advertising, or soliciting clients or customers from the other party.
When including restrictive covenants, ensure they are reasonable and outlined clearly in your contract. Be aware that their enforceability can vary from state to state, so it’s essential to check your local laws.
These provisions are typically used when subcontracting with others in a similar field. For instance, if you run a virtual assistant company and hire subcontractors, restrictive covenants ensure they don’t poach your clients.
Virtual assistant services can sometimes feel intangible in the online business world. Therefore, it’s essential to clearly outline the specific tasks you’ll be performing for your clients in your contract.
Create a list of tasks and provide measurable goals to ensure clear expectations and successful completion of your work. Whether it’s a finished project, a website, a Word document, inbox zero, or a time tracking log, make sure your contract includes tangible deliverables.
If you’re looking for an iron-clad virtual assistant contract tailored specifically for your business, the VA Toolbox created by attorney Danielle Liss in collaboration with The Virtual Savvy is your go-to resource.
Take the necessary steps to protect your business now. Get full access to the VA Toolbox and ensure you have a contract that covers all your needs.