Contracts, Invoices and Getting Paid

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ContractThis week did not start off on the right foot.  First thing Monday morning someone ran a red light and smacked into the drivers side of my car.  I often take my car for granted.  It gets me wherever I want to go.  But watching it being towed away to an auto body shop for an undetermined amount of time made my thoughts jump to my calendar for the week and my scheduled tasks and client deadlines and how I was going to meet my commitments.    I was thankful that the police who came to the scene of the accident offered to drive me home as my car was towed in the other direction.  Luckily, too, my insurance broker and agency arranged for a courtesy car for me the same day so, even though I spent most of Monday on the phone co-ordinating information between the broker, insurance agent and the Car Rental agency, I still accomplished almost all of the client work on time and on budget.

With Virtual Assistance, before you accept an assignment or client, discuss the clients needs and expectations in order “to be on the same page”.   I find, if I am asked for a quote, I am clear on all the details before I can provide a true quote (not just a guesstimate).   When you start your business, one of the first things that should be done is create a contract which you can submit to the client before work is started.  The contract should clearly state the duties in detail, timelines and pricing per hour or per the job.  As well, payment details should be included.  Are you requesting a deposit up front?  How much?  Are you invoicing at the end of the job for the balance due?  When do you expect payment – in 10/15 days or at the end of the month?  Are you charging interest (and at what rate) if payments are overdue?  All these details should be clear and agreed upon between you and your client.  It protects you and your client and prevents any misunderstandings or unclear expectations.  This can also be applied to other businesses who provide services and/or products.

Two more weeks until Christmas and the New Year is in three weeks…  Are you ready?

Diane L. Coville

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