It’s hard enough educating the public about this. But when those who call themselves virtual assistants or VAs start calling themselves employees too, no wonder the clients get confused! This directly relates to a recent comment I saw on a blog about Virtual Assistants by someone who calls themself a Virtual Assistant.
No-one interprets an accountant, lawyer, plumber, financial planner, electrician or other service provider as an employee so why the confusion about Virtual Assistants?
Perhaps it’s because of the type of service provided? Office based, replacing in-house secretarial and admin support that traditionally was an employee-based role. But there is a vast difference.
Virtual Assistants look after more than one client. They invoice the client for the work carried out. They pay their own taxes, insurances, and purchase their own hardware, software and office furniture – they work in their own offices for the most part. They also decide what rates they are charging.
Employees are engaged at rates set by their boss or employing company, their taxes, insurances and other overheads are usually looked after and they do not invoice the client direct. They might be sub-contracted out to a few clients of the company, but they are employees and get paid by the agency or company – not directly by the client.
There are several remote virtual staffing agencies out there now but their staff should not be confused with a Virtual Assistant who is a business owner in their own right.
There is room out there for both types of service providers but it’s important for clients to know there is a difference in the way the businesses are run and who provides the services.