Questions to Ask a Prospective Virtual Assistant #5: What are your billing and payment policies?
Relative to Question #2 ‘What are your fees?’, it’s important to have a clear understanding of how a prospective virtual assistant handles billing and payment processing.
Question #5. What are your billing and payment policies?
Regarding billing: some virtual assistants bill by the minute, others in six, ten or fifteen-minute increments. Some charge an hour, minimum; others will invoice only for the exact time spent on your request. Most virtual assistants bill for phone calls made or received on behalf of you or your company, as well as for calls with you or with your clients and contacts. Many virtual assistants bill for time spent discussing projects with you, as well as time spent communicating on your behalf, via IM or email.
Some virtual assistants require a retainer or deposit payment up front, others will accept a pay-as-you-go arrangement with or without a deposit. If the virtual assistant does work on retainer, find out what happens if you are unable to utilize all of the hours you’ve paid for or need additional hours above and beyond what you’re purchased.
The way a virtual service provider has set up his or her billing system will vary so be sure to ask all prospective virtual assistants for complete information on their particular billing processes. Doing so will help you clarify what will work best for you, your business, and your budget and will also help avoid unnecessary surprises when the first invoice arrives from your new VA.
Note that a professional virtual assistant will provide you with a contract detailing all of this information (and more) in writing should you decide to hire them. Some virtual assistants will share their contract details prior to any binding commitment being made, to help clarify their business policies and procedures. Read the contract carefully and be sure that it stipulates billing processes fully.
Regarding payment processing: virtual assistants accept payment via varying methods and on various terms. Payment methods a particular VA accepts could include: PayPal, check, direct deposit, Intuit Payment Network or even money order. Payment terms will vary, depending on the VA and the project/circumstances, including: (partial or full) payment due in advance, Net 7, Net 10, Net 30 or payment due upon receipt. Some virtual assistants will even offer payment plans for larger projects.
Again, in order to ensure complete understanding of a prospective virtual assistant’s business policies and procedures you’ll want to ask on what terms they invoice and how you would be required to make payment.
When you do decide to hire a particular virtual assistant, check that these details are included in the VA’s contract as well.