Accepting a new client – checklist for Virtual Assistants

You’ve been approached by your first client. Your initial reaction is to say “yes” to anything they request, whether that is 30 day credit terms, no payment up front, a job that’s outside your comfort zone, something you actually haven’t planned to do but you think you are capable of.

1st client - brilliant but what do you need to check?

1st client – brilliant but what do you need to check?

How do I know that? I’ve been there as has every other person who has set up in business. So your not alone feeling those goose bumps on your arm, those butterflies in your tummy and the running around the offices shouting “I’ve got one, I’ve got one!”

However, before you say “yes” to everything they ask, here’s a few things you should check first.

Accepting a new client – checklist for Virtual Assistants

Before you send a proposal to a new client do you know who you’re dealing with?

As a virtual assistant, make sure you carry out your own due diligence before you send a proposal.

You’ll want to know the client can pay you and some reassurance you’re likely to paid on time. But you’ll also want to know how they operate their business.

Why proposals are involved in getting you paid

Check the website

The business address, registered office, company number and VAT number should be published on the website. Have a delve around because this information can sometimes be within the website privacy policy or terms of use.

Whilst you’re there, have a general browse. Read the blog, have a look at the team members and the About Us pages. They will all tell you something about the company’s customers, standards and values.

Who is the legal entity?

Go to Companies House (beta) and search for the company name and directors. Does the company’s name match the one you’ve been given? If it’s a limited company, have they filed all their mandatory returns on time?

Is it a start-up

It’s great to be involved with a business from the very beginning, but you know the budget and cash flow could be an issue. If you’re about to start working with a new business, I recommend you ask for a time reservation fee or payment up front.

Are there any insolvency proceedings or judgements?

Check the Insolvency Service for director disqualifications or cases of misconduct. Or, for a £4.00 fee, you can search details of any judgments on the register of judgments. The register is held by Trust Online and covers companies registered in England and Wales.

Members of Professional Bodies

If a person states they are a member a Chartered or professional body, go to the relevant website to check the member list. For example, anyone who deals in or sells financial products will be listed on the FCA register.

Credit Report

The outcome of a credit check will determine if you need to adjust your terms and conditions. There are three main credit reference agencies in the UK: CallCredit, Experian and Equifax and. To get an Experian credit report, you will need to sign up for the monthly access which is £19.99 per month (the minimum term is 12 months) for unlimited credit reports. But if you only want one report, you can sign up for a 48- hour trial and get one free report.

Why is running a credit check before signing a contract important?

Other checks to make

Get Googling

It’s a great place to start. Search for the company, directors by name and customer reviews.

Get Social

Look at the business twitter feeds to find out what they’ve been saying and what their interests are. Who follows them and who do they follow?

Check on Linked In to see if there is a company page or look at the director’s profile.

Trust your gut

Ultimately, you should trust your instinct but if your search turns up something you’re not sure about, do get in touch as I’d be happy to advise on what questions to ask and how to adapt your contract.

I’m Rachael, the Contracts Lady and Cash Flow Queen and I make time for anybody who needs a chat. Book 15 minutes with me

https://rachaelchiverton.co.uk/about-rachael/

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