I'm hiring my first VA - I have questions

3 replies
I am in the process of hiring my first Virtual Assistant.

Right now as I'm growing, they will work freelance for me when I have work available with the option to become full time when needed.

I'm wondering how payment works though. I will be paying them through Paypal and I want to wait until the work is complete to pay them. Is this fair or normal practice?

And also, do I pay them for the training? They'll be going through a few videos for training.
#hiring #questions
  • Profile picture of the author aarthielumalai
    I've hired plenty of freelancers in the last few years, and I've found that there is no fixed rule.

    It depends on the freelancer, how long you've worked with them, whether or not you trust them, and so on.

    When I hire someone for the first time, I don't offer them any kind of upfront. That's mainly because I've had plenty of freelancers run on me after they've gotten payments, and I simply had no way of tracking them down to get my work/payment. Odesk is no use in this matter. They've explicitly told me that once I've made payments, especially in fixed priced contracts, after 24 hours I can't get the payment back (meaning, they can't get it back).

    So, when you start out, offer them payment after work (immediately after you approve the work so they aren't disheartened) and if you like them or if they seem trustworthy, half the payment after they finish half the work or something like that.

    What kind of training are you offering them and how much time would they have to spend in it?

    If you're hiring them on an hourly contract (where you pay them for every hour they've worked), you might have to pay them for the training too, since they've essentially spent time on your project.

    If, on the other hand, you are paying them for "results" or "work done", then you are not obligated to pay them for training, but this depends on the freelancer. Are the skills you are looking for pretty common among? For example, if you are hiring a writer, and you've agreed to pay a certain amount per word, you don't have to pay them for the initial training they'll have to undergo where you'll teach them how to go about writing the articles, where to do the research and so on.

    I want to specify though, that everything depends on the particular freelancer. If they don't agree to something, they'll not hesitate to inform you, so don't worry.
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  • Seemore25101,

    Originally Posted by Seemore25101 View Post

    I'm wondering how payment works though. I will be paying them through Paypal and I want to wait until the work is complete to pay them. Is this fair or normal practice?
    Normal practice, with any product or service on the Internet, is to pay in advance. However, you can mutually agree with a 50% upfront payment before work start-up and a 50% balance payment upon completion of the task output requirements since you said they'll start out on a freelance retainer arrangement; and

    You can then mutually agree on 2-week advance payments once you renew with a full time or part time subcontractual agreement. Also:

    If you don't feel comfortable paying in advance, then the things you can do to ensure that you can get your money back in case your VA tries to stiff you are the following:

    • Use your credit or debit card to fund your PayPal payments, so you can file a chargeback if necessary; or

    • Use oDesk or a similar company via an hourly contract with your VA where the third party holds your payment until work has been successfully completed as mutually agreed by the employer / service buyer (you) and the contractor / service provider (your VA). Keep in mind that these third parties charge fees for their services (in oDesk, it's 10% of the contract price), so you may want to mutually agree on who shoulders these fees if you and your VA decide to use these third parties...

    Originally Posted by Seemore25101 View Post

    And also, do I pay them for the training? They'll be going through a few videos for training.
    In our contracts with our employees at our brick and mortar operations, in our subcontractual agreements with our independent contractors and partner contractor companies, and in our contracts with our client companies that lease teams of telesales and remote tech support agents and campaign-based multimedia advertising / marketing associates and project-based technology developers and remote assistants from us -- We and our clients of course pay them for the time they spend going through orientation and training sessions at our agreed hourly price. We also pay for the time spent by our trainors, which we include in our contract prices...
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  • Profile picture of the author eac113
    I always pay for the time any specialized training is needed by my VA's to perform the task at hand. This usually (but not always) ensures that they actually go through the material.

    In a true freelance situation I would discuss terms right up front, 50/50 split works well until you reach a comfort level with each other.

    From the freelancers point of view (especially with written work such as article or sales copy) they are at risk if they provide their work for review and the client doesn't pay.
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