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HireMyVA Podcast 41- Do you need a contract when you hire a VA? Is it essential?

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Dave Braun
Hello, everybody! Welcome to the HireMyVA Team and Business Building Podcast, where we help you to reclaim your freedom through hiring and thriving with virtual assistants without breaking the bank – and that’s without breaking your bank. I’m Dave Braun and I’m here with my partner, cohost friend, mentor, coach, all things good, Larry Broughton!

Larry Broughton
Hello Dave. It’s handsome Dave Braun! That will be the moniker for you.

Dave Braun
Oh yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Larry Broughton
Everyone says, oh, Dave is so handsome.

Dave Braun
We’ll talk about Monikers. Isn’t the Moniker the thing that like a—

Larry Broughton
The Monocle, the Monocle.

Dave Braun
Oh, that’s a Monocle or isn’t it a country Monaco? Oh, that’s Monaco—

Larry Broughton
Monaco. It’s very close. You poor thing. It’s a good thing you’re so handsome.

Dave Braun
We’ll take into the topic and question. Okay, my friend?

Larry Broughton
All right, buddy let’s do this.

Dave Braun
All right. Okay, we got a great question from somebody and here it is. Do you need a contract when you hire a virtual assistant? Is it essential?

Larry Broughton
Do you want me to start on this? Well, there’s always a difference between need and recommend, right? Do you need it? No, you don’t need it. Are you silly for not having some kind of, maybe not even a contract but an agreement? Absolutely, it’s essential. Right? Because it really lays the groundwork of what the expectations are between both parties. Right? And you’re both in agreement, neither of you sign it unless you’re both in an agreement of what these expectations are. And so I think just by, even if it’s a simple agreement, not a contract because contracts in this case, particularly if your VA is overseas is hard to litigate, should something go wrong and force. Have it at least an agreement saying, “Hey, here’s what we agree to”. Because an agreement we’ll have a scope of work. Right, Dave? But it’ll also have benchmarks on accountability and it clarifies what the remunerate— What’s the right word? The pay. Right? If there are benchmarks in this. But that’s kind of my first stab at this. What are your thoughts on this? And we can kind of take it step by step if you want.

Dave Braun
Yeah. I think if you — I mean, we’re talking that you’re getting into really a business relationship with somebody, right?

Larry Broughton
Yes, great point.

Dave Braun
You know, anytime you’ve got a significant relationship that can affect you in, you know, in any way, both positively and negatively, you really should have some type of an agreement. You wouldn’t go into business with a business partner without having an agreement or at least a contract. I mean it’s— because I think it’s so important to get this stuff down in writing because once you actually get it in writing and you both read it and you sign it. The communication is much, much better because you could be thinking, well, I’m coming to this partnership or this agreement, this work relationship with one perspective and they’re coming with another. And I mean, if you don’t have some kind of a contract or something written down, then there could be some really bad communication to start with.

Larry Broughton
Yeah, ideally. I would think that if you have a written agreement — by the way, we have samples in this. That’s funny. Yes, we have resources for you. But what ought to go in that is the name of your company, the name of the person, you, who they’re reporting to, the scope of work that you’re expecting, the pay, the benefits. Like in previous podcasts, we’ve talked about time off and those kinds of things. We’ve talked about expectations as far as what time they’re going to be working. You know, you can have all that kind of general working conditions in there that you expect them to have operating highly effective internet and computers to do the work. All that stuff can go into the agreement. But I would be careful calling it a contract. So that’s it. By the way, I am not an attorney. I don’t pretend to be, nor is David. Right? So these are recommendations based on the experience that we’ve got working with VA’s successfully.

Dave Braun
Yeah. And the nice thing about calling it a contract is it kind of lends a little bit more legal teeth even though of course, yeah, enforcements and whole another issue. Right? But it does, you know, add some seriousness to this and hopefully—

Larry Broughton
By calling it a contract?

Dave Braun
Yeah. Even though you can’t enforce it, it’s okay. I mean either way you want to go. Because I’ve used contract before and it does work really well. And one of the important things is the way we do it is have it written out or well, we have it in a PDF, send it to the virtual assistant and then they have to print it out and they have to physically sign it and scan it and send it back. Just that act of doing that, lands you to start the relationship off, saying, this is how things are going to work. You know, this is how it’s going to be governed. And, you try to eliminate as much of miscommunication that could happen. You try to put as much in there as you can, like the things that you talked about. Patients, sick, you know. You could even put stuff in when reviews are going to happen. You know you talk about some of the duties. Are those duties potentially going to change over time?

Larry Broughton
Yeah. Maybe we have to break this down for folks in case it’s somebody who just listening to this and they don’t have access right away to what our sample contracts or agreements have. Because generally, we talk about that these are going to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Right? So why don’t you break this down for us? What’s going to be at the “Beginning” of the agreement or contract?.

Dave Braun
All right. Sounds good. So I think some of the questions for you to answer when you’re doing your contractor agreement is how will the person start. You know, are they going to be starting, and when? And what kind of computer is required? All of that kind of stuff. You talk about compensation, what type is it going to be? When does it start? How often is that compensation going to be given to them? And what are some of the duties required to start? And here’s one of the things, and this is why it’s so important. Why we have the prepare part of our course and community is where we walk you through doing vision, mission, core values. Because what are the values that they need to abide by? What are the things that are gonna help them to be successful in your organization?

Larry Broughton
Like respectful communication with their team members and your clients. That’d be a good thing to have in here. This is what you’re expecting from them, right? And I would say that I wouldn’t make this overly legalese. You can put this stuff in bullet points as long as, you know, well-articulated, there aren’t typos and all that kind of stuff. Because again, particularly now if they’re here in the US I would take a different approach. I actually would have it to be a contract, but I’m talking likeif you got an overseas VA at this point. So what we’re saying here is in the beginning, how, and when are they going to start? What’s the compensation look like? What tools are we going to be supplying them? What tools are they required to have? What duties do they need or will they be executing? And what values are we expecting from them? You get that in the beginning part of the agreement and you’re well on your way to getting this thing going, which brings us to the middle part, like the beefy part of this. What goes there Dave?

Dave Braun
Well, some of the things in the middle are the working hours. What do you expect, right? I mean, how do you start and end the week? And what day is it that they start or in? Because, you know, for example, like we talked about having an offshore virtual assistant, their time and day can be very different than yours. For example, right now we’re in Pacific Zone and the Philippines are 20 hours ahead. So often if we’re working on Monday, it’s almost their Tuesday already, right? So it’s important to note those kinds of things, right?

Larry Broughton
Particularly around holidays and weekends.

Dave Braun
Oh yeah. And then of course, one of the things that you’ve got to have there is a reference to your personal paid leave policy. Where it talks about the holidays, those things that they can expect. And their vacation that they can expect, right? Another aspect of it is, what type of do you want them to —or right off the bat, to start using with you? Is it going to be verbal or written? What kind of reports are you going to need from them? If any of those reports, right? So, yeah, all of those things are so important. And ideally, what you’d like to do is have something in there, you know, what we’d like to have as a section that talks about how will they be successful. But also, ideally, you’d love to have something in there that says, “Hey, when are you going to get performance reviews? What can they expect in that regard?

Larry Broughton
So that’s a lot of information there, but that does bring us up to the end, which kind of wraps the whole thing up right before you actually sign this thing. And it’s really just a few things that I’m going to go here at the end of this agreement. Okay?

Dave Braun
Yeah. And one of the things that’s really, really important is they need to understand the causes of potential termination. What is it? Is it a violation of your core values more than once or twice? So in other words — and then, of course, you know — So really the, the different conditions of when a relationship can be terminated, like, are you going to give them their vacation pay? If you’re keeping track of that, which is what we recommend you do. And are you going to give them, you know, potential, a couple of week’s pay or a week for every year they’re working with you? All that kind of stuff. That’s really, really important so that they know what to expect and then, of course, you know, we’re talking about with a virtual assistant. But if you have a partner like you and me, you know, what happens when one of them wants out? But if you decide to sell the business, what happens then? So it’s so good to think about all these things, the beginning part, the middle part, the end part because I mean, you want to hit the ground running. You want to start things off right and you want to clear up potential issues that could happen down the road. If you can have it written and cleared up at the beginning, that’s just so much better.

Larry Broughton
Yeah. Obviously with a partner, if you got a US partner, yes you’re going to have a full-on operating agreement. Right? But with VA’s, you know, they’re not going to be an actual technical partner. Will they be a working partner? Yes. But they won’t be a legal partner with you. I’m going to encourage everyone that we want to treat our VA’s, just like they’re on our team. Treat them as team members, right? But your point about what happens when we sell the business or somebody wants out, that’s more important, real contracts, those are real partners. But as far as virtual assistants go, your point is very well made, that, what are the grounds for terminating the agreement? Right? And for sometimes some folks is just project-based, right? But I would say, make sure that it’s in here — A, when if there is a slowdown in work, that’s a reason to terminate the agreement.

Larry Broughton
But I would always make sure that since either team members and you have ongoing conversations with them, let them know that their productivity has a direct impact on the success of the business. That’s an important thing for them to know, right? You have a direct impact on how successful we are. The more effective you are, the more business that we can get. Right? And so your effectiveness doesn’t just impact you, but it impacts me as a business owner and your coworkers and team members. So let’s all put a hundred percent into this, but if a business dries up, that may be a reason to part ways as well. If your performance isn’t up to snuff, that’s a reason to part ways. If you’re rude to a team member or to a client, that’s a reason. Okay? That makes sense?

Dave Braun
Yeah. I mean, totally makes sense. And I think we don’t mean to make this thing 20 pages long, right?

Larry Broughton
No, just to be very simple.

Dave Braun
Very simple. Like, you said Larry, bullet points and include the things that are really, really important to you and your business. Awesome. Any other thoughts that you got?

Larry Broughton
No, I would say a lot of this is going to be developed during the prepare section of this, but a lot of this will be covered during the interview process as well. I would begin with the end in mind as they say but have a draft of this prepared before you go into the interview process.

Dave Braun
Yeah. In fact, part of what goes in your contractor agreement, you would want to make sure is in your job posting. And some of your email communication from the get-go, those things that are critical so that they know, like the communication that you expect.

Larry Broughton
Well, this is why we’re saying always before — you don’t have to, you can jump right into the hiring section, but in the prepare section, this is why we want people to have core values, company vision, company mission developed because these are some of the benchmarks to what you will be holding someone accountable. And so if your agreement says “Hey, you’ve got to abide by the company vision and core values”, but you don’t have those defined, I can promise you that I would never sign anything that says you got to adhere to the company core values, but you’ve never told me what they are. Right?

Dave Braun
It seems kind of strange, right?

Larry Broughton
Sometimes we’ve got to hit people over the head with the obvious.

speaker 0
Yeah. That’s true. And you know, I remember somebody explaining it to me and in certain ways, it’s kind of like, you know, if you think about a basketball game where there are certain rules and you know, on the court, there’s the boundaries, there’s three steps, the max you can get for the whistle for traveling and all that. If you, as the business owner start changing the rules within the game that you’ve got because that’s what we are doing in businesses. Kind of a game, right? If you start changing the rules on your team members, pretty soon, they’re going to be like, what do I do? I can’t take a step, where’s the out of bounds? And pretty soon you’re like almost shackling them where they can’t do anything. They’re afraid to make a mistake. We talked in another episode about making mistakes and how do you handle that. Right? It’s a good conversation. It’s so important to make sure you set the boundaries as best you can and the really important ones that are important to you, set them upfront. And then of course, then your team members can be creative within those boundaries and you too.

Larry Broughton
That’s right. That’s good.

Dave Braun
All right. Well, thanks everybody for listening to everything. Again, remember building a team is the way to reclaim your freedom and we are here to help you. So three things we’d love for you to do and we’d really appreciate it. Number one, subscribe to this Podcast, if you haven’t already done so. Number two, give us a rating, preferably five star. And then number three, go to Hiremyva.com for more information on our course and community. And there’s a great download that you can get where we talk about all the different things you really should do and during your preparation, your hire and thrive process with the VA. So go ahead and grab that because remember, even without experience, you’ll learn how to prepare for hire and thrive with virtual assistants. Larry and I have helped a lot of folks and we’d love to help you too. So just go to Hiremyva.com right now.

Larry Broughton
Right now. Hey, do yourself a favor, do the world a favor, go do something significant today. And I just want to remind you, God bless you, God keep you, God hold you. All right, my friends, go get them.

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