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Old 09-21-2010
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Default Contractor VAs that don't pay
I have seen a rash of subs not getting paid from the contractors they are/were working with on the forums the last few months.

Is it just me, or do others feel a wee bit apprehensive about responding to RFPs for sub work?

Another thought: I wish there was an area here at VAF that names and/or businesses that don't pay could be listed just so those of us that sub could have a bit of peace of mind. Just wishful thinking out loud here; I see no diplomatic way to do this. Although I do think they deserve it!
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Old 09-21-2010
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Default Re: Contractor VAs that don't pay
I've noticed the same thing and it's beyond frustrating and so disappointing. BUT the VAs who are not getting paid need to put on their big girl boots, and as business owners, treat these situations the same as they would with any other client - and do so from the start.

That means contracts that reflect THEIR late payment terms and establishing their new client's credibility and ability to pay with a deposit or similar. If they don't get paid on the agreed-upon terms then it falls to them to pursue the funds they are owed.

No matter how well established the contractor seems to be, no matter how often you see them on the forums or Twitter. Business is business and needs to be treated that way.

That's not to say it's EVER right when this happens and I do understand that many of the subs are new and intimidated enough not to follow up (unless strongly encouraged to do so). Still, it falls to the service provider to do her due diligence when entering into a working relationship with ANY client, including another VA.

The VAs who are taking advantage of these newer subs, who are looking to learn more about the business and grateful for the experience, need to realize the damage they cause - ultimately, I can only rest assured that the universe is balanced and that what goes around, comes around.

We've had a conversation similar to this about listing non-paying and otherwise un-fabulous clients on the site, but of course the negativity, liability, and slander issues outweigh any potential good that could come of it. And who plays judge and jury? How do we know that what any one person says is true?

The Better Business Bureau and/or small claims court are better options, in my opinion, anyway, because they're impartial and non-industry.
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Old 09-21-2010
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Default Re: Contractor VAs that don't pay
Well said, Tess. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you wrote.

I so like when you say "put on their big girl boots," LOL. When it comes to running our businesses, that is exactly what one has to do. I'm one of those that if this ever happens to me (non-payment), I will pursue them to the ends of the proverbial legal avenue...no matter how long, bumpy, and full of potholes it is!

Thank you so much for the thoughtful and thought provoking reply to my little "rant."
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Old 09-21-2010
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Default Re: Contractor VAs that don't pay
Thanks Jules, I realize not everyone will understand where I'm coming from or like my reply.

I haven't subbed before, and those few VAs I've contracted with to complete tasks for me I've happily paid their hourly rate - I've never thought it fair to subcontract at 1/2 of what I charge or less, which seems to be the industry standard... but that's another conversation entirely

Some of these hard-knock lessons are just about the learning curve. I learned the hard way early on in my business what happens when you don't have late payment policies in place, when you don't have contracts signed, when you don't establish expectations about being paid, etc. It's a hard and frustrating lesson but I think for those of us who go in blind that way, it's a necessary part of growth as business owners. You either learn from it and move on with new policies in place, new approaches to situations, new attitudes about those you're working with... OR - you close up shop.
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Old 09-21-2010
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Default Re: Contractor VAs that don't pay
Hopefully this is still not the case in 2010.
This is more than a bit disheartening to hear.
As a new VA, I've been considering the possibility of becoming a subcontractor to help get my business underway. While my first reaction would probably be to now shy away from subcontracting, having read Tess' points of view I agree that I would need to do the appropriate checks and balances to minimize such a situation.
I also understand that VA Forums would place itself in a difficult situation by trying to address the issue directly.
It is good to note though Jules, that this concerns you enough to make issue of it publicly. Thanks for being an advocate. : )

Last edited by HoweVirtual; 09-21-2010 at 08:58 PM. Reason: Reviewed date of original post
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Old 09-21-2010
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Default Re: Contractor VAs that don't pay
Unfortunately, it's very much an issue...

VAF has advocated in the past to some degree (not publicly) for VAs who have been refused payment, and of course any RFPs that come in and don't 'look right' aren't published but of course there's never any way to ensure any RFP without a huge investment of time and resources.

I think subcontracting as a concept is a GREAT way for a new VA to get his or her feet wet.

I don't see that there's any difference between VAs who don't pay other VAs and other types of clients who don't pay VAs.

A client is a client is a client.
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Old 09-21-2010
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Default Re: Contractor VAs that don't pay
Love this conversation.

I am not only a Sub for other VA's but I have my own team of subs that work with me on my client projects.
I cannot fathom the reasoning behind any VA not paying their subs a great rate, let alone not paying them at all.

The current girls on my team were all asked what rate they required as a sub before they signed on. I was somewhat surprised at how little they expected to get and I made sure to let them know they were worth much more than that and would be getting it.
I have 2 rates for my subs, technical and non-technical, and both rates exceed what any sub has ever asked me for.

I pay my subs first thing in the morning on the 15th of every month whether I am waiting for client payments to clear or not. I would rather have to hold off paying a bill for personal stuff than NOT pay my girls who are always there when I need them and do an AWESOME job every time.

I seem to have gone off on my own rant but, I see so many RFP's from fellow VA's who are asking for specialized skills at ridiculously low rates. It makes me a little ill, because I know there is at least one struggling VA out there who will take the job on just to say they have a paying client.

C'mon Ladies (& Gents) value yourself and your abilities!
Don't let anyone undervalue what you know and do.

Ok I'm off my soapbox now, lol

Can you tell I'm a bit irked about this?

~C
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Old 09-21-2010
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Default Re: Contractor VAs that don't pay
Originally Posted by HoweVirtual View Post
Hopefully this is still not the case in 2010. This is more than a bit disheartening to hear.
Aw, don't be disheartened, Cindy. From my experience so far as a VA that also subs, I have been so fortunate to be working with some truly super VA's. One thing I did, either consciously or subconsciously (I'm not sure which ), was to visit the websites of the VAs that I sub for (before I started subbing) and check out every aspect of their website in detail, considered how long they had been in business, did a google search of their business, and tried to gain some insight from posts here at VAF as to their character and personality. With regards to the latter, were they helpful and courteous, or inarticulate and a bit tactless? (No offense to anyone here - just a thought process that I went through - and others might have a different opinion as to what to look for ).

So far, this has worked for me. <fingers crossed> I do understand that others have had the opposite experience of mine (that's when the tugging at my heartstrings began). Thus the reason for this thread: to hopefully get a discussion going that could in some small measure aid these and other new, or not so new VAs, by imparting information and insight that maybe hadn't been discussed previously.

Quote:
As a new VA, I've been considering the possibility of becoming a subcontractor to help get my business underway. While my first reaction would probably be to now shy away from subcontracting, having read Tess' points of view I agree that I would need to do the appropriate checks and balances to minimize such a situation.
Oh, do go for it! It is so rewarding to get your business off the ground, and as Tess said in part, "Do your due diligence." Yes, we all take the chance and could get burned, but to quote Tess again: "You either learn from it and move on with new policies in place, new approaches to situations, new attitudes about those you're working with... OR - you close up shop." 'Nuff said.

Quote:
I also understand that VA Forums would place itself in a difficult situation by trying to address the issue directly.
Even though none of the dirty laundry has been aired publicly here (as it should be to keep the integrity and reputation of this forum), Tess is an advocate and does what she can within reason to help. It is her forum after all, and she runs a tight ship! (Good on you, Tess!) You're not going to see discord here; no bashing or name calling. We VA's watch out for each other, and if there is anything we can do to help, you can bet your patootie that we're going to pitch in.

Quote:
It is good to note though Jules, that this concerns you enough to make issue of it publicly. Thanks for being an advocate. : )
I am so glad that you saw the point of me bringing this up. My heart just went out to those that I was noticing on the forums venting their pain and frustration and disappointment. I just thought, for whatever reason, to vent a little on their behalf. You guys are like family to me, so when one of you hurts, I do too.
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Old 09-21-2010
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Default Re: Contractor VAs that don't pay
Originally Posted by ChristinaVOS View Post
Love this conversation.

I am not only a Sub for other VA's but I have my own team of subs that work with me on my client projects.
...
C'mon Ladies (& Gents) value yourself and your abilities!
Don't let anyone undervalue what you know and do.

Ok I'm off my soapbox now, lol

Can you tell I'm a bit irked about this?

~C
And as a one that has personal experience with our dear Christina, I can vouch that every word she said is so very true (even the parts that I didn't include above from her original post).

One thing that I especially love about her is her sense of humor. You can be down in the dumps and stressed about this or that client issue and she can bring ya right back on track and upbeat. I've only got one thing for you, dear woman... Er...make that three things.
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Old 09-22-2010
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Default Re: Contractor VAs that don't pay
Aww Jules,
Right back atcha girl!



And FYI? You Rock!
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