Policies and Procedures

Discuss the importance of policies and procedures in your virtual assistance business.

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Old 05-13-2009
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Default Do You Include Rate Increases in Your Contract?
Hi,

I've read through the great threads here regarding rate increases. It seems that most VAs who implemented increases did so with existing clients. So my question is about signing on new clients.

1) Does anyone include a rate increase clause in their initial contract with new clients?

I'm starting a client out at a discounted rate but I'd like to move that rate up eventually. I'm toying with putting an increase clause in the contract. Yes, no and if so, shall I include a percentage or a percentage range?

2) Or, do you not include anything in your contract about rate renewals and just raise rates as time progresses?

Thanks,

Janine
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Old 05-17-2009
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Default Re: Do You Include Rate Increases in Your Contract?
Janine it is funny to come across this post as I was reviewing my contracts on Friday. I currently do not have either within my contract. I did raise rates in the fall and notified all current clients by letter that I was doing so.

I have 2 new clients that I had to send the contracts to and was toying with the idea whether or not to put a clause in there. I had no problems when I raised my rates with the current clients so I am feeling if and when I need to raise them for new clients I will just follow suit with what worked for me in the past.
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Old 05-17-2009
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Default Re: Do You Include Rate Increases in Your Contract?
Janine,
I have one in my contract. Something to the effect that rates may be increased yearly. I feel everything else is going up and we really need to keep up with inflation for our own business.
Jo-Carole
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Old 05-17-2009
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Default Re: Do You Include Rate Increases in Your Contract?
I'm glad you posed this question. I thought I had included it in my agreement. I just checked and didn't. This is something I do intend to add to it when I do the revision later this week.
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Old 05-17-2009
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Default Re: Do You Include Rate Increases in Your Contract?
I ended up not putting a very specific increase clause in my contract for this discounted client.

I thought that if I did put in a yearly increase, as some have done (5 percent for the first year, 5 more the 2nd and 5 in the third with the third being the last year) for example, I might be limiting myself.

What if I need to raise the rate in 6 months instead of one year; 2 percent instead of 5, for example?

So what I did was to include in the contract that rates can be evaluated at any time during the year. This way it was 'out there' to the client that the rate will be reviewed and if I did need to raise it for any reason, then it would not be a total surprise. (Of course, she doesn't have to take the increase in whatever time I deem is needed and she can back-out with working with me anyway.) So I decided not to put in a clause with a percent but just said that the rates could be evaluated at any time.

This just means that the rates are not ground in stone. I wanted this client to know that in a subtle way.

Thank you for everyone's reply!

Janine
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Old 05-23-2009
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Default Re: Do You Include Rate Increases in Your Contract?
What a fantastic question! Thank you so much, this is definitely something I need to add to my standard contracts.
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Old 06-06-2009
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Default Re: Do You Include Rate Increases in Your Contract?
Does anyone care to share verbiage or a sample letter that you use to announce a rate increase? I am dealing with this for a rate increase after 2 years with a client and never raising rates for them.
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Old 06-07-2009
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Default Re: Do You Include Rate Increases in Your Contract?
I just found this thread when searching "Rate Increase"

http://http://www.virtualassistantfo...-increase-4297

Great letter ideas.
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Old 06-07-2009
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Default Re: Do You Include Rate Increases in Your Contract?
I've thought of this as well. I've been taking notes on what I want to include in letters to my clients - it's great because I work for a CPA firm and see engagement letters everywhere for many different services, so that really helps me a lot and give me many ideas. I've always been kind of worried about raising prices. I like the idea of simply saying that rates may be evaluated at any time. Something just short and sweet, but doesn't dwell on it or give a certain time frame or percentage increase.

Does anyone actually have a usual amount or percentage that they increase each year or do you all kind of just play it by ear and take it a day at a time?

I look forward to hearing your reponses and any other suggestions.
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Old 06-22-2010
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Default Re: Do You Include Rate Increases in Your Contract?
Originally Posted by Your Virtual Wizard View Post

So what I did was to include in the contract that rates can be evaluated at any time during the year. This way it was 'out there' to the client that the rate will be reviewed and if I did need to raise it for any reason, then it would not be a total surprise.

I love that! I was wondering how to handle a need for rate increases in the future ... terrific guideline.

zippy
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Old 06-22-2010
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Default Re: Do You Include Rate Increases in Your Contract?
Originally Posted by SupportMyOffice View Post
Does anyone care to share verbiage or a sample letter that you use to announce a rate increase? I am dealing with this for a rate increase after 2 years with a client and never raising rates for them.
I found that this article by Men With Pens was very helpful - How to Increase Your Rates for the New Year
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Old 06-23-2010
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Default Re: Do You Include Rate Increases in Your Contract?
Great article, Deb. I especially liked this part:

Quote:
Don’t go into in-depth excuses. You have no obligation to justify why you want to increase your rates. You’re in business, you need better rates, and that’s all. If you’ve expressed how the rate increase benefits clients, then you’ve conveyed the right message.

Stay away from wording that mentions cost of living or rising expenses that have crunched you. This only reminds clients of their own financial woes, making them even less likely to want to give you more money.
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Old 10-14-2010
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Default Re: Do You Include Rate Increases in Your Contract?
I have included a clause in my agreement stating "We reserve the right to change rates with 30 day notice to client."

But I don't know if that's being reasonable and I haven't even thought about what the rate increase might be or if i should be thinking of future increases when I don't even have a client!
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Old 10-15-2010
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Default Re: Do You Include Rate Increases in Your Contract?
Since most of our monthly bookkeeping services are priced based on a "per transaction" basis we do include a clause that allows us to review and revise the pricing structure every six months.

We also make sure our clients understand that this clause protects them as well as us since if their transaction volume falls so will their monthly billing.

So far it's worked out well.

Leslie
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Old 10-15-2010
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Default Re: Do You Include Rate Increases in Your Contract?
This is a great thread. I never really thought about putting in my contracts, but now that this is out there I think this is something I should do.

I like the non-specific statement Janine made that it can be evaluated at anytime during the year, but do you think that they might worry you will start off at one rate and then try to gouge them later. I think we should also let them know that the increases won't go over so much within a year to give them some comfort that one day they are paying $x amount of dollars and then the next you are increasing to 3x's that or whatever. Not that I am saying anyone here would do that I am just wondering if this might be a client concern.

I always worry when I am looking at a contract with something nonspecific in it and I've started asking people to clarify those statements in the contract (in writing) before I sign them. I mean you just never know. Does that make sense?
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Old 10-28-2010
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Default Re: Do You Include Rate Increases in Your Contract?
I state in my covering letter that rates will be reviewed each January and June and any increase will be advised a minimum 60 days in writing.

Gives them plenty of time to get used to the idea plus it gives me the opportunity to review prices twice a year and raise them IF I feel it's necessary. Although once a year has been more than adequate for the last eight years!
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