I have heard it from past clients and others in this industry that your working relationship with a Virtual Assistant may be more like a marriage. While that may be a bit silly, it’s partially true, and that is why it makes sense to take time to locate the best VA for YOU, understanding that this may well develop into a fruitful and long-term relationship.
Not only can a VA provide first class and quality workmanship, but she can also provide advice, recommendations and other resources over and above what may otherwise be considered to be a straightforward contract. A good VA or Online Business Manager works with many clients and is able to have an inside look at how their businesses are run.
Once a good partner has been selected, it’s important to pay attention to the finer details and specifically how payments are going to be handled. This is a vital component of the working relationship. VA’s and OBM’s are in business to help you, but we also need to be profitable. Making sure that you are able to pay on time is important, and a very large part of the relationship. There are several different ways to approach payment arrangements and a lot of this would depend on the type of work that you are outsourcing to your VA. Typically, a virtual assistant is flexible and can accept a number of different payment arrangements. Sometimes the VA will accept a number of different payment arrangements from the same client, based on the portfolio of work required. In the corporate world it is traditional to deal with an invoicing system and most, especially larger, clients expect that the vendors provide them with a “net 30 day” arrangement. This is the amount of time that the client will take to process the invoice through their internal system, prior to a check being written and sent to the vendor.
In truth this is a somewhat cumbersome arrangement and hardly what we would call efficient in today’s “communicated” world. A lot of organizations are a little bit “tardy” when it comes to paying these invoices, and a 30 day payment can often stretch into 45 or 60 days before the check is actually written and sent out in the mail.
Nevertheless, your VA can consider the potential costs associated with accepting this form of payment and this may be reflected in the rates that are agreed upon. When work is project based, an invoice can be created at the appropriate time and linked to a purchase order provided by the client, if applicable. With a traditional invoicing arrangement like this terms may be due upon receipt, so when the VA submits or e-mails an invoice it should be processed promptly. Your VA may have a merchant account, meaning that they will be able to collect payment by processing a credit card on file. This alleviates the client from the hassle of physically writing a check and mailing it, as the VA can be authorized to process the card for the payment when the invoice submitted is approved. At Virtual Assistant Chick, we use the online payment processing giant Paypal to alleviate the need to collect credit card numbers from our clients. You simple click “pay” on your invoice and then are taken to Paypal’s website to complete your payment. If the VA is working on a monthly retainer basis, then the payment would be expected by a certain date on a regular and ongoing basis. This could be handled by credit card, by standing order or by a transfer of funds from a bank, or by setting up a “subscription” in Paypal. I have this option in place for many clients, and it allows us to work seemlessly with them without having to worry about payments coming in on time.