Why You Shouldn’t Work with a VA Without a Contract

I was on a discovery call with a potential client recently.  We had a lovely conversation.  She was fun and exciting!  When we got to the nitty-gritty — cost, payments, and contracts – the conversation went south quickly.  She didn’t want a contract because she “didn’t want to be tied down.”  That was a red flag for me.  A VA shouldn’t work without a contract, and you shouldn’t want to work with a VA who doesn’t ask you to sign one.

“Contract” is NOT a dirty word

Contracts do require commitment, but they do not tie anyone down.  They are not about locking you into something you don’t like.  You see, contracts don’t have to commit you for a year.  They can be month to month, quarterly, project-based – whatever works for the parties involved – and they should.

It’s about a written agreement that protects you and your business, as well as the VA, should the need arise.  It’s about making sure both of you understand what is expected and no one ends up surprised by an outcome.

Working with a VA is a relationship, albeit a business relationship.  Think of it less like hiring an employee and more like partnering with another business for your mutual success.

Your VA’s contract should, among other things:

  • Detail the scope of work to be completed
  • Set clear expectations for desired outcomes and define deliverable dates
  • Protect your intellectual property
  • Include a concise confidentiality clause regarding your data and business practices
  • Specify who owns the work product the VA produces
  • Define who has ownership of social media accounts and contacts the VA creates
  • Have a reasonable termination clause

A highly experienced VA will even include, or at least provide a supplemental document, detailing preferred communication styles and methods.

Contract red flags

If a VA doesn’t have a contract for you to sign, that should be a red flag.  They may not have been in business long enough to know what they’re doing.

If a VA is unwilling to sign an NDA or contract, that should equally be a red flag.  It could be a signal that the person isn’t truly committed to their own business, let alone partnering with you for the success of yours.

Contracts should be simple, clear, and mutually beneficial.  It’s not bad or scary, though, it’s just good business.  Your professional VA should have a contract ready for you to sign.  You should be ready to sign it!


Dionne ThomasDionne Thomas is IVAA’s Membership Director and Founder of The Zeva Group. 

Learn more about Dionne at zevagroup.com