Virtual Assistant Contracts

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Old 08-11-2008
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Default Terms of Contract
When drafting a retainer contract for a new client how long does it typically say? A year, 6 months? I would to see your feedback. Thanks!
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Old 08-11-2008
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Default Re: Terms of Contract
My contract is for an ongoing month-to-month agreement. Either Client or myself may cancel at any time for any reason with a 30-day written notice.
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Old 08-11-2008
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Default Re: Terms of Contract
My contract states the terms of the contract are good for one year, but either party can cancel at any time.
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Old 08-11-2008
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Thanks Ladies! Both are really good ideas. Not sure which one I would go with though. I'm going to have to give it some thought.
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Old 08-11-2008
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Mine is the same as Sue's....month to month with the right not to renew with 30 days written notice.
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Old 08-13-2008
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I offer a special rate for a client if he/she accepts a long-term contract with me. The longer the contract the bigger the savings. Standard though, my retainers are month to month.
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Old 08-13-2008
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I'm using month-to-month as well.

Sharon
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Old 08-14-2008
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Default Re: Terms of Contract
I see that month to month is the more popular way of doing it.
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Old 08-14-2008
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Default Re: Terms of Contract
Since we are on the "retainer topic", I have a question for all of you. How do you get a client to agree to paying a retainer or even paying a portion of the agreement? In my first years, I struggled with this and found that some potential clients were offended that I made such a request. Now I leave it as an option and tell them what I prefer.

Any thoughts?
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Old 08-14-2008
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What I did after I found out the work my client needed done and what his monthly budget was (this was a great way to discuss a retainer). Ask you client how much they have budgeted for a VA?? My client said they had $xx.xx in the budget. I let him know that since this was going to be an on going working relationship I did required a retainer of $XX.XX (the same amount he said was in his buget). I explained that if by chance he needed work that went over this amount I would let him know a head of time. At the end of the month I provide a detailed invoice to my client and deduct the amount he owes from the retainer and then he provides the additional funds to bring the retainer back to $xx.xx. I hope that isn't to confusing.

I think the biggest thing is to ask as if you already know your client will pay it. Over the years I have learned by assuming you will get what you are asking for human nature just follows. If they by chance don't explain you require this for the first 6 months while you are establishing a business relationship. Personally, if this is your policy I would stand by it...

Good Luck
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Old 08-15-2008
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Default Re: Terms of Contract
Originally Posted by DHess View Post
Since we are on the "retainer topic", I have a question for all of you. How do you get a client to agree to paying a retainer or even paying a portion of the agreement? In my first years, I struggled with this and found that some potential clients were offended that I made such a request. Now I leave it as an option and tell them what I prefer.

Any thoughts?
I think the whole part of the retainer is that you're making yourself available for just one client for xx amount of hours a month. Most that I have seen request the payment for the month at the first of the month with no leeway. Do you have a contract? It should be written in the contract or even as soon as you give him a quote for retainer. Are you offering a discount? Just state that retainers include xx discount and will be due at the beginning of each month or however you want to bill it. Then also state that in order to take advantage of that discount he/she would have to pay for it by your terms. If not then they will pay at an hourly rate. Hope this helps!
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Old 08-15-2008
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Default Re: Terms of Contract
I did not mean to imply that I have not a clue on "how" to pursuade a potential client into giving me a retainer. It isn't something I always practice, and it is not written into my contract because I don't believe it applies to all.
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Old 08-16-2008
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Default Re: Terms of Contract
Great thread...but every time I read one, I get more ideas...man I have a head ache!
But I'm learning and what Mom always says is "Knowledge is POWER!"

Will someone send me a copy of your Retainer Agreement please, so I have a template to build mine from? Thanks!

Viki
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Old 08-16-2008
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Hello Viki,

I would suggest you check out Elite Office Support they offer a ton of great (not for free) templates.
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Old 08-17-2008
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Default Re: Terms of Contract
Originally Posted by DHess View Post
I did not mean to imply that I have not a clue on "how" to pursuade a potential client into giving me a retainer. It isn't something I always practice, and it is not written into my contract because I don't believe it applies to all.
I'm still in the beginning stages so I am still learning but I have two contracts I use. One for retainer clients and other for the project clients. I don't know if this would be something you'd do.
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Old 08-17-2008
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Default Re: Terms of Contract
Janice,

Yes I have tailor my contracts to each client. My objective is to make the process as easy as possible, so I did add a Retainer link on my site. It works to some point, but as I said over the years I've offended a few by asking for this upfront. I have found that going the extra mile and chatting with them on the phone first, offering them a freebie, and then requesting a retainer for further service goes over well.
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Old 12-05-2008
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Default Re: Terms of Contract
These terms normally vary and usually are determined by projected time to complete a project.
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Old 02-03-2009
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Default Re: Terms of Contract
Okay that brings a great question to mind! If you do offend your potential client by asking for a retainer how do you work around that? What can be said aside from explaining why you are asking for this? I would hate to get burned by a client, but then I understand trust needs to be built even in a business relationship.

Kristy
KG Business Solutions
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Old 02-11-2009
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Default Re: Terms of Contract
I tell the client what my hourly rate is. But I also mention I have different plans because everyone is different and I try to customize plans to the client. I ask if they have a project or work that needs to be done on an on-going basis. If its only short-term I will recommend the hourly rate. If its long-term I tell them they can save money by purchasing the retainer plan. But new clients may want to test the waters first with the hourly rate. I let them decide for themselves so they won't think I am trying to push the retainer on them.
HTH
Jo-Carole
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Old 02-12-2009
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Default Re: Terms of Contract
I agree with a few others in the forum:

My contract is for an ongoing month-to-month agreement. Either Client or myself may cancel at any time for any reason with a 30-day written notice.

Brenda Violette
VBS Virtual Assist, LLC
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