How to Review a Virtual Assistant BPO Contract: 5 Key Elements

A young African-American virtual assistant recording a voice message on her phone to a client.

Follow these tips and guidelines when reviewing a virtual assistant BPO contract to ensure the security of your working relationship.

Key Takeaways:

  • Outsourcing is an excellent way to access skilled talent and increase efficiency and productivity while reducing operational costs
  • A virtual assistant can help you streamline processes by handling administrative tasks
  • A virtual assistant contract is an integral part of the process and helps protect your business from potential legal or financial liability
  • The contract should include the scope of work, payment terms, contract termination clause, non-disclosure agreement, confidentiality terms, and contractual obligations
  • Contract review is vital to ensure all your requirements are met and the contract is legally binding, up-to-date, and compliant with applicable laws

Having a virtual assistant contract with a business process outsourcing (BPO) firm is critical in safeguarding your business operations, brand reputation, and customer relationships. Unfortunately, one wrong move in this process can significantly affect the level of service you receive and hurt your bottom line. 

To successfully outsource your business operations, you must thoroughly understand the core components of a BPO contract and how to review them effectively. This minimizes the risk of misunderstandings and provides a legally binding agreement. 

Here’s everything you need to know about a virtual assistant BPO contract, including what it is, how to review one, and five key elements to include. 

What is a virtual assistant BPO contract?

Like any other contract, a virtual assistant BPO contract is a legally binding agreement between the client and the service provider. It outlines their rights, duties, and responsibilities. To stay clear of any confusion or disputes, it also includes:

  • Deliverables: Number of hours and days of work, the services provided, and how deliverables will be measured
  • Payment terms: Amount to be paid, payment frequency, and payment methods
  • Confidentiality: Responsibility of the parties to keep confidential information private. It might involve the signing of a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)
  • Termination clause: Grounds for ending the agreement and how to go about it

Only when both parties have agreed and signed the contract is it legally binding. You can send a standard PDF contract or sign it digitally via an e-signature. A word contract template is available on sites like Contract Buddy or ContractZen.

What to look out for when reviewing a virtual assistant BPO contract

You need to do more than skim through a contract. You must review each clause carefully, getting into the minutiae of the agreement to ensure it meets your business’s needs and expectations. Here’s how to review a virtual assistant BPO contract:

Take your time

When outsourcing, you may want to quickly onboard a VA, but it’s essential to take the time to review their contract thoroughly. The fine print can make or break a business agreement, so be sure to pay attention to:

  • Payment terms and conditions
  • Governing law and jurisdiction
  • Confidentiality clauses
  • The VA’s rights and responsibilities
  • Cancellation or termination conditions
  • Dispute resolution
  • Indemnification clauses

Ensure all the terms are clear and free from ambiguity to avoid misunderstandings. Be assertive and ask questions if something needs to be clarified.

Watch for red flags

Contracts have the potential to run into several pages and could contain clauses that may work against your interests. To make matters more confusing, they are often written in technical legal jargon, which can be difficult to decipher. To protect your interests, watch out for:

  • Unrealistic timelines, milestones, or expectations
  • Vague clauses or terms that can be interpreted in different ways
  • Onerous liabilities
  • Absence of an indemnity clause
  • Unreasonable termination clauses
  • Excessive fees or fines for non-performance
  • Loopholes in dispute resolution

These may indicate that the company has malicious intent or a lack of trust or understanding between the parties. Being vigilant for red flags ensures you have time to negotiate and make changes to the contract before signing it.

Seek legal advice

It pays to get legal advice to ensure the contract aligns with your business’s needs. A lawyer can review the contract and identify any areas of concern that require further negotiation. They can also give you a better understanding of the contract’s language and clauses, ensuring you are fully informed before agreeing to the terms.

5 key elements to include in a virtual assistant contract

Every contract is unique and should be tailored to the scope of work and your business needs. Here are some key elements you should include in a contract:

1. Contract review, legal advice, and contractual obligations

A qualified legal professional should review your contract to ensure it is legally binding, up-to-date, and compliant with applicable laws. Contract review helps identify potential issues, errors, or ambiguities before the VA signs it, saving you time and money. It also helps protect your business from any legal or financial liability. 

Consider including additional contractual obligations that would help protect your business, such as limitations on liability, warranties, and disclaimers. Contractual obligations outline what both parties can and cannot do and who’s responsible for any damage or losses during the contract period. Consult with your legal counsel to ensure the obligations are fair and that you will be protected in the long run.

2. Scope of work, duties, and deliverables

The contract should clearly define the scope of work, duties, and deliverables for which the virtual assistant will be responsible. A task list will provide clarity, help you measure results, and ensure your VA focuses on the right tasks.

  • Outline daily, weekly, and monthly tasks and the results you expect
  • Be specific about the number of hours and days your VA will work – clearly state minimum hours and how to handle extra hours, including any overtime rate
  • Include deadlines and due dates for deliverables

Setting realistic timeframes instead of open-ended, vague timelines will help keep your VA accountable and organized. You can include milestones or markers to monitor progress and ensure the project stays on track.

3. Contract period and termination clause

Specify in detail the start and end dates of the contract. The scope of work will determine the duration, the number of hours required, and milestones and deliverables. 

This will help set expectations for both parties, allowing for accurate planning and budgeting. You can also include a notification period in which either party needs to give the other notice if they want to extend or terminate the contract.

Include a contract termination clause to help your VA understand what will happen if the contract must be terminated for any reason. Clarifying grounds for termination and any liability that comes with it will help avoid costly disputes and legal action. Common grounds for termination include: 

  • Breach of contract
  • Inadequate or below-par performance
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Mutual agreement

Include a notice period your VA needs to provide if they decide to terminate the contract and how you will handle pending payments.

4. Payment terms

Outline the payment terms in detail, including payment rate, billing schedules, invoicing, payment mode, and frequency. Specify the payment for each task or milestone and how it will be invoiced. Adjust your payment terms depending on the service you’re outsourcing and the duration of the contract. 

Clarifying this from the start will streamline the billing process, eliminate misunderstandings, and ensure timely payments. You should also provide payment terms should the VA fail to deliver according to the contract. What is their liability, and how does it impact payment?

5. Confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement

With an all-time high $9.44 million average cost for a data breach, maintaining the confidentiality of your business is critical. A contract should include an NDA prohibiting the VA from sharing sensitive or confidential information, including new product ideas, customer data, or trade secrets. 

Outline what is considered confidential and the consequences if it’s breached. A non-solicitation clause is also recommended to prevent your VA from poaching, approaching, or soliciting any of your suppliers and customers for personal gain.

A clear, comprehensive virtual assistant contract is vital to successful business process outsourcing. Contract review is an essential part of the process to ensure it meets all your requirements and that both parties know the terms and conditions. 

Get expert help with business process outsourcing contracts

At DOXA, we are a leading global outsourcing provider helping businesses access global talent, streamline processes, and save up to 70% on hiring costs. With our industry expertise, we will help you craft legally binding, water-tight, and compliant contracts that meet your specific needs. Reach out to us today for expert outsourcing advice and contract review assistance. 

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