Hiring a virtual assistant (VA) is easier than ever in 2022. With the rising trend of remote work changing the way we do business, VAs have become a hot commodity.
So, while you may be tempted to dive right in and hire a remote assistant, you must understand the importance of a virtual assistant contract.
The lifeblood of the modern, small business
When the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic hit our nation, small business owners learned a hard truth: A business either evolves or dies. This is why hiring a virtual assistant today is essential to the survival of businesses, increasing the remote nature of their operations.
VAs have drastically revolutionized our corporate culture as a result of their exponential growth. They can help scale your business by taking tedious tasks off your hands and enhancing your work-life balance. But, before you jump the gun and hire one, you need a legally-binding agreement to ensure you get the most out of your new, remote assistant.
What’s a virtual assistant contract?
A VA contract is a legal working agreement of conduct between the VA and the business that hires them. It keeps both parties accountable to the specific terms of the agreement while also providing a framework for doing business.
In general, contracts for new hires establish the expectations, rights, and limitations of each party in clear and legal terms. A contract between a VA and a business defines, with specific wording, what work the assistant will be responsible for and what rules they’ll be expected to follow throughout their relationship with the client.
Types of contracts
While there are many different types of contracts for VAs, the three most popular types are the independent contractor agreement, the pricing plan agreement, and the non-disclosure agreement.
This is the simplest legal agreement for any service or project your VA will complete. It states that you’re hiring them for a particular job and that they aren’t your employee.
Because this is a very straightforward agreement, most virtual assistant contract templates you find online will provide a sufficient outline for this type of standard hire. However, you can always personalize the template to fit your needs.
A pricing plan agreement highlights that you’ll pay in advance for the VA’s completed work. Also called a retainer, this type of contract is generally used for one-off payments that can be refundable if the VA fails to complete the expected task.
With this in mind, a pricing plan agreement is suitable if you plan to hire a VA for a fixed period at a fixed rate.
A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) establishes a private working relationship. It prevents confidential information from being shared by either party. So, if you need to exchange sensitive information about your business with your assistant, you’ll want to consider having an NDA section in your virtual assistant contract.
Your greatest ally
A contract is your best friend who always has your back. You can count on your VA contract to protect you throughout your working relationship, as long as it’s legitimate and legally-binding.
This is why merely sending emails back and forth about expectations from your VA doesn’t constitute a personal assistant contract. Having a contractual agreement is necessary to ensure that you’re both on the same page about what the professional relationship will entail.
Your relationship with your VA isn’t one you should take lightly. Depending on their skills, they may communicate with your customers, send emails on your behalf, or create content to promote your brand. This means that they’ll ultimately be a direct extension of your business.
Advantages of a virtual assistant contract
The two most critical benefits of signing a legal working agreement with your VA are that it outlines expectations and provides legal protection.
Your expectations are defined
A contract for a virtual assistant will help you clearly state your expectations for your VA. This ensures that both parties know exactly what to expect during the professional relationship. Your contract can also help you resolve disagreements that may arise, as you’ll be able to reference it to check if an issue is in contradiction with the contract’s terms.
You’re legally protected
Legal protection is the most important feature a contract can give. Being protected will allow both you and your assistant to feel secure and confident to move forward with the work arrangement. Neither party will be forced to rely on a verbal agreement or their memory for protection should a discrepancy or dispute arise.
What goes into a virtual assistant contract
To successfully set up a contract for a VA, you need to know everything that it must include. The clauses in a legally-binding agreement can vary depending on the type of contract. So, we’ve made a rundown of the sections that are essential to any VA agreement.
Description of work
This is the section of the contract that states what the VA’s scope of work is. You’ll state what your assistant is being hired for and what your specific expectations are for them. Expectations might include their hours, deadlines for the projects they’ll take on, and how much work they’ll deliver each week or month.
Communication is a top indicator in predicting the success of any relationship. Thus, your personal assistant agreement must include communication methods, boundaries, and expectations.
This part of your contract is also a great spot to state how disagreements will be handled. A couple of examples could be disputed invoices or unsatisfactory work.
This is the section where you tell the VA that they’re not your employee. And in turn, they’re not entitled to insurance benefits, paid sick leave, or paid vacation days. Having this in writing will help you manage expectations, as it sets the tone for how each party will be treated throughout the professional relationship.
A non-solicitation clause is a condition in the contract that’ll prevent your VA from soliciting your customers or employees for their own business. This way, they won’t be able to use your business information for personal gain.
A liability clause is essential to include in any virtual assistant business contract because it gives you legal protection in the event of a contract violation. For example, it would prevent your assistant from getting away scot-free if they joined one of your competitors. This is because they’d be liable to pay you for damages.
You must include your VA’s payment rate, when they’ll be paid, how you’ll pay them, and expectations for pay raises or bonuses. You can also use this section to outline the monetary consequences if your VA fails to complete satisfactory work.
Every virtual assistant contract needs to clearly state how both parties will respond in the event of contract cancellation. This is where you clarify the grounds for termination, so your VA can’t dispute a termination should it arise.
You should also provide the notice period your assistant needs to give if they decide to quit. This will give you time to find a qualifying replacement and take some major stress off of your plate if your assistant decides to leave.
When you don’t put it in ink
If you hire a VA without signing a virtual assistant agreement, your VA could take liberties that favor their work habits or interests. This is because you won’t have any legal contract that outlines the expectations, requirements, confidentiality, or penalties for their position. Thus, it’s not good business practice to start a professional relationship without getting anything in writing.
The bottom line
Drafting an agreement is a necessary step during your hiring process. Not only does it allow you to set expectations and provide protection, but it can also act as a shield for virtual assistant scams.
Most VAs who are sincere about their work ethic will be happy to sign a legally-binding agreement with your business. Likewise, if your new hire commits any fraudulent behavior, you’ll have a contract to cover all your bases.
At Rocket Station, we’ll find you the best VA for your business and provide a standard virtual assistant contract you can use directly. This way, you’ll be sure you have a legal work agreement void of any gray areas or mistakes. Contact us today to get a VA with the talent and skills you need to help scale your business.