This post is intended for new Virtual Assistants (V.A.’s). Have you ever been taken for a ride and given away your services for nothing? This was my personal experience this week.
How many of you have had a phone call from a new client that you have never met in person but has contacted you via your website? The conversation would go something like this: “I found you on the internet and wanted to know what you would charge me to type up ________________ “ You are jumping up and down on your end of the call and are sooooooooo excited because this is a potentially new client that actually found you via your website. Take a deep breath and listen carefully. Before you do the work you need to send your potentially new client an email consisting of your rates and a contract (if you have one). The most important thing is NOT to start the work until you have written acceptance of your rates. If your email is ignored then you know you have been released from a potentially disastrous working relationship.
I had a similar experience this week and on top of that I was actually sent the work. Something said to me: “Don’t do the work until you have had confirmation of acceptance of your hourly rate”. I couldn’t get hold of the potential client – every excuse under the sun – the end result was that the receptionist told me my services were no longer required. Lucky, lucky escape.
Please learn from this and don’t fall into the trap of doing the work first and then fighting for payment later. You need to FIRST establish that your hourly rate or the quote for the entire job has been accepted. Ideally you should have the potential client sign your contract and send a signed copy back to you as well. You might say: “Elementary my dear Watson” but don’t be fooled. People will try anything to get a “freebie”.
If you do not have a contract in place I can recommend the contract that Reese Ben-Yaacov’s sells. I have one and it works well. The link to Reese’s site is: http://reesebenyaacov.com/shop/. A piece of free advice would be to have your contract scrutinised by your attorney (if you don’t have one, you should appoint one). Countries differ and some points in the contract I purchased had to be altered to meet with my country’s regulations.
In a nutshell:
- Before you do the work from a NEW client, get signed confirmation that your rate has been accepted.
- Organise a contract to cover any loop holes and have the client sign it.
Have a good week!
See you on line,