Having a contract in place as a virtual assistant is essential to make sure that you’re aligned with your client and protected in case anything goes wrong.
Contracts can be really challenging to understand, but we’re going to break it down, so you better understand what needs to be included as a virtual assistant.
There are several things that are standard and should be included across all virtual assistant contracts.
The Essential Components of a Virtual Assistant Contract
What to Include
Contracts are made to outline what will be done by each party and when it will be accomplished. This helps make sure that there’s alignment on expectations. Contracts are a great way to prevent future scope creep. Virtual assistants often get pulled into many different types of work, and understanding what happens when things get outside of the contract is valuable.
Services: Services are what actions are going to be performed by the consultant for the client. There is typically a section on ‘description of services’ that lays out the specific actions or deliverables that will come from the contract. This is where you’re able to review what your client has laid out or what you’re putting together for your virtual assistant work.
Term: The amount of time the agreement will be in effect. This is often a length of time and can be renewable per the terms.
Outside of just compensation, there are a lot of things around money that should be specified in the contracts.
Compensation: The virtual assistant’s compensation should be outlined within the contract specifying how much the assistant will make. This can be an hourly amount or project based and may include a specific amount of hours.
Expenses: This lays out who is responsible for paying for expenses related to this project. Is it the client or the consultant’s responsibility? Different expenses in virtual assistant contracts can include tools, advertising costs, website associated costs, etc.
Invoices: This includes what the process for invoicing is. Is it submitted to the client on a certain cadence? Is there a biweekly or bimonthly payment schedule, or is the payment due upon completion of the project?
Considerations: Including what to do in the case of late fees, delayed payment, or who’s responsible for taxes
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Intellectual Property: Understanding who owns what’s being created. This is especially important for writers, designers, and other artistic components of digital marketing who want to understand if they can use what was written within their portfolio.
For virtual assistants, this may not be necessary, however review the information on confidentiality. You may be given proprietary information regarding the company and people that you’re working with. There are often non-disclosure agreements that are either included in or separate from the services contract, but be mindful of what’s included so you don’t share anything confidential.
Cancellation & Dispute Resolution
Sometimes, things happen that are outside of our control as virtual assistants. If you do work and your client decides they’re no longer interested in working with you, you want to be protected to get paid. If you need to cancel the contract, you want to make sure you’ll be paid as well for the work that’s completed and how that’s determined.
Cancellation: This includes information of what would need to occur for a contract to be canceled. What fees would need to be paid, and what are the other repercussions?
Dispute Resolution: The dispute resolution details what happens if something goes wrong during your contract and the steps that will be taken. This can include which the third party may be utilized for resolution. Dispute resolution isn’t very common in working relationships, but understanding what it is is helpful for that one unlucky time.
The last area we’ll mention is renewals. It’s best to have it outlined what happens once a contract is completed. Is it automatically renewed or does it need to have another contract in place to continue work?
Renewals: Renewals are the information that is outlined to determine what happens when a contract ends. If the contract is renewable and the processes for continuing forward with the existing contract.
What to look for when choosing a template
If your client isn’t providing the contract for review, there are a few things to consider when choosing a virtual assistant contract template. Make sure you have the rights to use the contract and it’s not previously copyrighted.
At Indy, we suggested going through a tool or service to download a contract to ensure that a larger organization has done the research and all that is included in the contract is valid and law binding.
Indy provides a free contract template that you can customize based on your specific needs. Indy has many contracts to help as you grow your business and services like contracts for digital marketers, graphic designers, or any other type of contract you may need.
If you’re hoping to work with a past client again, creating a new contract isn’t the only thing you’ve got to get right. Reaching out is no easy task, but Indy’s got you covered. Check out this article on connecting with past clients during COVID-19 for more templates to help you get in touch with people you want to work with again.