People often say that a good relationship with a virtual assistant can be more like a marriage. This is why it makes sense to take time to locate the best virtual assistant, understanding that this may well develop into a fruitful and long-term relationship. Not only can the VA provide first class and quality workmanship, but he or she can also provide advice, recommendations and other resources over and above what may otherwise be considered to be a straightforward contract. Once a good partner has been selected, it’s important to pay attention to the finer detail and specifically how payments are going to be handled. Of course a lot of attention to detail here at this stage is important, as whether we like it or not money does make the world go round for everyone involved.
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 cheque 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 organisations are a little bit “tardy” when it comes to paying these cheques and a 30 day payment can often stretch into 45 or 60 days before the cheque is actually raised and sent out in the mail. Nevertheless the virtual assistant 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 raised 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.
The virtual assistant 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 cheque and mailing it, as the VA can be authorised to process the card for the payment when the invoice submitted is approved. In recent times online payment processing systems have emerged to alleviate the need for the virtual assistant to have a merchant account. PayPal is one of the leaders in this field.
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.