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When you hire a VA as a sub-contractor, do you do background checks, reference checks or both/neither. I'm seriously considering a multi-va practice since business is picking up quite nicely but not sure how to approach the idea of contracting persons I don't know and probably will never meet in person.

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I've never had a multi-VA run a background check on me, but I've also met most of the multi-VA's I work with. My clients have either met me in person and we've figured out how I can assist them or it's word of mouth. I would recommend talking to other multi-VA's. I'd also recommend purchasing Michelle Jamison's Multi-VA book too.

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Thanks, Patty. I have Michelle's book and after reading it, decided to look into multi-va instead of turning down work. In businesses I've owned where I've hired onsite employees, I did background checks. I also subcontracted (as a writer, not a VA) for a dotcom and they do background checks. For a multi-va business, I think a sub-contractor agreement along with a non-compete clause would be sufficient but want to be sure I follow what other VAs are doing.

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Hi Jenny,

 

I do not do background checks. That actually seems a little intrusive to me. I would not expect a client to do background checks on me. I DO check references.

 

Also, I followed Michelle's book and still use it as reference. She's one of my gurus! :)

 

Karen

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I don't do official background checks but I do Google them and see if what they say is true is true. Most VAs that come on my team are referred by others I trust in the industry. I do a thorough interivew with them as well. In the beginning, they are on probably for a few months and I don't give highly important client work to them. They earn their trust with me over time.

 

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Thanks so much Karen and Tawnya. I have Michelle's book highlighted and marked with post-it notes and will probably use it for many years as a reference. I too think background checks are intrusive, not to mention time consuming and at times expensive. I will do reference checks along with a thorough interview. I'll also assign small, less critical jobs until I get a feel for the type of person I'm working with. I've also found I can get a gut feeling for VAs by reading their posts here on the forum, tweets on twitter and other social media sites. This isn't very scientific but I get a feel for professionalism, knowledge and personality from reading posts.

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Honestly I think actions speak louder than words. Precisely because most VAs are very nice, we test everyone through the doors with our own tests, even if they are recommended by someone else. It's made entirely clear to them that non-delivery = termination of the contract, no second chances and no excuses. I build extra time into the client deadlines so that if there is a major problem, I can fix it.

 

There are some VAs who I know have "done the dirty" on other multi-VA clients and they would simply not get any work from me. It's a question of morals. One of the tests we do is to ask how VAs would deal with particular situations e.g. if a client approached them direct, or if they had a power cut when they were supposed to be working, or they had a sick child at home etc. They are worded so that the grey area of pinching clients/not getting in touch/working with the child in the background seems like the sensible choice. It usually filters out those VAs who don't share my standards.

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