There are a few key things to look out for when you initiate the process of working with a Virtual Assistant.

First of all, the VA should provide you with a contract or client agreement to sign before you start working together. This should outline his/her hours of operation, your rate, different policies and procedures which are put in place to protect both parties involved. Look at the agreement carefully and make note of payment terms, termination and non-compete clauses.

If your VA doesn’t send you an agreement that’s a bad sign!

VAs all bill a little differently. In the case of a retainer, almost without exception, these are billable on the first day of the month, for work to be carried out that month. Most VAs won’t start work until payment is received. For project work, it’s common that you’ll be expected to pay a 50% deposit of the estimated cost to complete the project up front with the remainder due upon completion. For ‘pay-as-you-go’ arrangements, work is usually billed for on the last day of the month, and is due upon receipt.

All VAs track their time in some way, shape or form. Many use software for the task, others use manual stop watch methods. Whatever the case, if it’s important for you to receive copies of this time log be sure to discuss this with the VA before you sign anything!

Some VAs don’t believe they have a responsibility to show you their hours. If this is something that you want to have access to, just look for a VA who doesn’t mind sharing that log with you. Most don’t have a problem with it. If you are wanting to go on a retainer you should specify with the VA if you’d like regular updates so you know when your hours are getting close to surpassing your retainer limit. Some VAs leave it completely up to the client to watch their hours, while others will notify you if you come close to your limit early in the month.

As a general rule, a VA shouldn’t be expected to be at your beck and call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Most keep regular office hours, and if you need work done outside of them, you will probably be charged a rush fee.

This is just a sampling of some of the items you will encounter when looking or a VA. Make sure you look for these things before you agree to work with a Virtual Assistant and carefully read any agreements before you sign them.

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