Periodically home based operators become targets for ‘shady’ clients, those who seem really nice and genuine, or perhaps helpless, but end up being something completely different. They will start off enquiring about services and will send a test sample of something to be done to see if you can carry out the work adequately. The trouble is they will do the same to about a half dozen operators, and end up getting their entire job done – for gratis, because there will be a reason why the test didn’t work out. Or, perhaps they indicate they have a lot of work to be done, but there is an urgent timeframe and it needs to be split up amongst a group of people to be completed on time. At the end they make lots of complaints about the work (after they’ve received it), or excuses about personal problems, and do not hand over any monies, although there are frequently promises it will come.
For those of you who are new to being a VA, and for those who are experienced too, it is most important you protect yourself and your business and treat each new client the same way – irrespective of their circumstance, irrespective of feeling sorry for them, if they have some serious personal problems. A process needs to be put in place to ensure that payment is made when work is completed, or if a large job, a contract entered into, and a down payment made prior to the job being started. Clients who have established a payment record with you deserve to be allowed to pay on a 7 day account or later, but those who are new and not yet ‘proven’ need to prove themselves first and pay on delivery, or upfront.
If you’ve elected to manage a team of VAs for a project, keep in touch with them and ask them to keep you informed of direct contact they have with the client so that you’re kept in the full picture.
And if you are asked to log into a website to download lectures or other information to transcribe, you need to make sure you are allowed to do this legally. Read the fine print on the website and/or ask for a separate username and login for your own use to carry out the work. This is particularly important when it comes to Uni students – who are usually bound by Uni IT policies not to disclose their username and password to anyone – even if they want work typed up for them. KMT