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MultiVA: How to secure the relationship

I had a really sad phone call last week – a VA called me up to ask if I could help her, and unfortunately there wasn’t a lot I could do, as the horse had bolted.  However, she did agree to let me tell her story (anonymously of course) to act as a warning for other VAs.Let us call the VA: Suzie.  Suzie had too much work to cope with on her own, so she outsourced to a VA she knew from a virtual assistant forum, sending through the brief, client’s contact details and how much she was willing to pay and roughly how long the task should take.  Sounds good right?  There’s no misunderstandings about what needs done, no inflated bills when the task is finished etc.  The task gets done and the client is happy.

Next month Suzie contacts the client to see what is needing done.  Client says he doesn’t need anything and that he’ll probably not be using the service again, since he doesn’t have much work on.  Suzie is disappointed but occasionally these things happen.

However, six weeks later Suzie sees a post on the forum from the VA she outsourced to, promoting one of the client’s events.  Yup – the client had googled the subcontract VA’s name, seen that she was £5/hour cheaper than Suzie and started using her instead.

See also  Office* Voted Best PA Event of the Year!

Even amongst SVA members, this issue divides us: https://www.societyofvirtualassistants.co.uk/svaforum/viewtopic.php?t=2346&highlight=ethics

But the important thing is, Suzie didn’t have a case because she hadn’t secured a contract with the subcontract VA.

Make sure you have a watertight contract in place with your VA at the very start of your relationship.  Not only does this spell out what is/isn’t acceptable, it gives you a legal recourse to take should the VA negate the contract.

SVA’s Subcontract agreement is a “fill-in-the-blanks” style contract including:

  • Rates of pay
  • Description of work
  • Anti-competition clause in accordance with UK laws
  • Confidentiality agreement

UK Subcontractor Agreement Contract £45: http://store.payloadz.com/go?id=130638


  1. Caroline Daniels on 8 December, 2010 at 9:01 am

    This was extremely useful information, I will put this task at the top of my priority list.

    • Caroline on 13 December, 2010 at 9:53 am

      Glad you found it useful Caroline – a lot of people simply don’t know where to start with beginning to outsource, and the net result is a bit of a jumble! The most important thing is to consider what you are expecting from the relationship and if it will work for you.


  2. Jilly Gooding on 12 December, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Good day

    After a year and 9 months of looking for work and not being successful I have reached desperation point and I decided to give VA a try, I am not at all sure how to start being a VA but I do have the imitative to give it a good try. I would be grateful if I could get some information on training to be a VA and also the ne Any information on starting up and some support would be gratefully received.

    Kindest regards

    Jilly Gooding

  3. Annabel Kaye on 21 November, 2019 at 10:54 am

    It is really important to set up your contracts with sub-contract VAs to make it difficult for them to ‘steal’ your clients. Not only that but as we approach 2020 it is also vital to make sure you have sorted out the terms you need for GDPR and any tax implications.

    The clauses that make it difficult for your associate VA to steal your clients work best when appropriate clauses are also in your terms of business with clients.

    Having your terms of business and associate agreement fully aligned for GDPR and non-compete clauses makes them a lot more powerful than using one without the other.

    It is so much easier if you have your ducks in a row

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