When a client contacts you and asks for a quotation please do not simply email back with a price/rate. Firstly contact the client, find out the requirements, ask for details and as much information as possible
Prepare for yourself as part of your business plan a company schedule/procedure for answering clients who require quotes. Have a form ready with everything you need to ask a client and then all you need to do is fill in this form and base your quotation on this form, keep them handy in a file on your pc or printed out on your desk, ready to use if a call or request comes in.
Always prepare a company quotation on company documentation and attach this to an email, this is much more professional then just sending an email with a rate. Your quotation must have your contact details and include your terms and conditions and any information that you have agreed to do for the client. Submit your quote as a pdf attachment to an email, and refer the client to this in your email.
Remember the faster you send that quote in the quicker you could be to getting the client to contact you further and you can beat the competition. With quotations it’s all about beating your competition. Make sure your wording is right, make sure you are inviting the client to contact you further.
For a client looking for a virtual assistant or transcriptionist to partner with, they are usually not looking at price, they are looking at your skills and experience in the business. Some times when putting in a quote it can be months later when you hear from the client again, some clients take that little bit longer to decide if they really do need a virtual assistant especially so when it’s for regular work.
For once-off/adhoc jobs it’s often the case the client will take the cheapest or near to cheapest quote, that is the way the industry is at the moment. It is up to you to decide is it worth quoting a low rate for the job. But, think before you quote what is involved with that job, how long will it take and decide your quote on that, that is the best way to quote. Going in on a low rate sometimes you will find that once you get the job it’s not worth doing as it is costing you more to do it than what you are getting for it, there is no profits to be made with doing jobs that way.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Transcriptionists and Virtual Assistants are using subcontractors. Often when the VA or Transcriptionist have work that is too large for them to do, or they are busy and need assistance with tasks, or they themselves cannot do the task, they will ask for assistance from subcontractors.
For VAs or Transcriptionists who are newbie’s in this field, one of the best ways to learn about this business is to contract yourself out to other VAs and Transcriptionists. It is a great way to learn, and this gives you a good start in the industry as to how things work and the kinds of work that is available for you to do. But while you are contracting out to another VA don’t forget to still do marketing and networking for your own company/business. The aim must always be to get your own clients as you are running a business.
When a Subcontractor works for a VA/Transcriptionist that VA/Transcriptionist is her/his client, you need to treat that VA/Transcriptionist as you would a real client. You keep in touch, you need to communicate about where you are with the work, and if you cannot cope with it, you tell the client (VA/Transcriptionist) and she/he can make a plan. Do not leave communication to the last minute when the work is due back, communicate within plenty of time ahead of that deadline so that the client will have plenty of time to find alternative routes to get this work done and still meet there deadline, one reason is if you are no longer available to complete the task. Deadlines are important they can determine whether the VA/Transcriptionist keeps or loses their client.
Guidelines to follow which are important:
The client (VA/Transcriptionist) must communicate to the subcontractor what payment terms will be with each job. The subcontractor needs to know when they can expect to be paid.
The norm is that when the client pays their invoice at the end of the job/task then the subcontractor will be paid their portion.
Often there is a problem with payments as some clients will not pay immediately on receipt of invoice, this happens a lot, and it can be very often out of the client (VA/Transcriptionists) hands, all they can do in these circumstances is to keep contacting their client and asking for the payment. The only way is to pester the client no end, as payment is deserved upon receipt of the work and invoice. Again communication comes in here as the client (VA/Transcriptionist) must let the subcontractors know when they are having problems retrieving payments from clients.
Another thing that can be done to sort of help a bit with payments is to get a 50% to 75% deposit up front. You provide a rough estimate of your invoice and the client pays you before the job is started, work commences on payment of deposit. This is a good way to go with all new clients, there is no reason why this cannot be negotiated up front with your client, and it can be part of client liaison, terms, and conditions. Payment details must be worked out before any work is started. Do not just take the job on because the clients says it is urgent make sure you work out payment terms beforehand. Nothing is more urgent than your payment at the end of the day it’s all about money.
Everyone at some time or another battles to get payments from clients, when it happens to me I just contact the client nonstop and use the means necessary to communicate. I have not taken other routes like small claims court which can be used in these circumstances.
I have gone over and over on some points here, but it is because those points are important.
- The VA/Transcriptionist you are assisting is your client; they should be treated like clients. This is an important point to remember as often subcontractors don’t think of the VA/Transcriptionist as their clients.
- Follow the client’s (VA/Transcriptionist) instructions to the letter; do not do your own thing. You are assisting another VA therefore you do as you are asked.
- Communicate with your client (VA/Transcriptionist) and let them know how you are doing, keep them updated, it is their clients work you are doing and they need to be informed of your progress, because clients have deadlines to maintain and often clients like to know what is happening.
- Proofread your work, before sending it back to the client (VA/Transcriptionist), it is your responsibility to make sure that your work is proofed as surely your reputation is at stake if you send back shoddy work.
- Make sure you get clear instructions from your client (VA/Transcriptionist) if they are not clear ask to repeat what the instructions are and ask for it to be sent to you in an email.
- If for some reason you cannot complete your task on time, contact your client and let them know you are running late and ask can you extend your deadline, or ask for assistance. Also let your client (VA/Transcriptionist) know if you have power failures, storms that mean you must switch off for a period of time, etc. as this can cause delays.
- The Client (VA/Transcriptionist) must make sure she has all the contact details available for the subcontractor. Subcontractor, make sure your client (VA/Transcriptionist) has all your contact details, be available on Skype, messenger, cellphone, sms, whatsapp, Facebook chat etc.
- If you cannot perform a task and you know you will not have it ready for the deadline, do not take on the work in the first place.
- It is up to you to keep in contact with the client (VA/Transcriptionist), clients don’t have time to run around after you for the work, they are busy that is why you are assisting them. Communication is very important.
- A subcontractor will earn in the region from 30% to 45% of the actual fee that your clients (VA/Transcriptionist), client pays them.
- A subcontractor might have access to the client’s business information; you are not to abuse this information. A subcontractor can be sued for abusing client information. You cannot as a subcontractor, now that you have the details go and contact that client, this is a big no in the industry, and you could be sued for doing this, so please note this
- A Contract Agreement should be signed between Client (VA/Transcriptionist) and subcontractor to cover both parties in the event of things happening.
The contract must state payment terms and conditions. It could be a good thing to place wording in the contract to cover the situation whereby the client does not pay the VA/Transcriptionist then the subcontractor cannot be paid, this situation should be covered in the contract so that the subcontractor will know what the procedure is, if no payment is forthcoming for the job/task. Often with large jobs clients are very slow in making the payment, this fault lays with the client not the VA/Transcriptionist. All the VA/Transcriptionist can do is to contact the client nonstop and keep reminding them of this payment.
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