How Do I Pay a Virtual Assistant?

You’ve hired a virtual assistant (VA), and the next question is how you’re going to pay them. Will it be cash, Paypal or checks? Are you the one to come with the terms and conditions of payment?

At this point, I’ll assume you have already discussed the expected wage rate. There are various options when it comes to paying your VA.

It’s important to check with them which one best suits them and also discuss what works or doesn’t work for you.

The method of payment will depend on a few factors;

  • Where you hire them- Hiring a VA through platforms such as Upwork provides you with an option to pay through visa or MasterCard either on an hourly basis or a fixed-price basis.
  • The VA’s terms and conditions. When hiring your VA off freelance platforms, the VA needs to have clear terms and conditions on payment methods to guide your transactions. It’s up to you to read through and sign on acceptance. Without clear terms and conditions, you’re likely to have a misunderstanding of when and how payments should be made. This ultimately interferes with your working relationship with the VA.
  • Methods of payment available in the VA’s country. Some payment methods that we’ll discuss below are only available in select countries and some may not work well with you especially if it involves a lot of work.
  • Length of the contract. The billing of a one-time or short term project is different and requires fewer details, unlike an on-going project.

With the above factors in mind, here are the various methods to pay a VA

  1. Paypal– This is the most common method used by VAs that allows them to send you invoices directly via Paypal. In your account, you’ll have the option of paying via the credit card linked to your Paypal, eCheck or through funds deposited in your Paypal account.
  2. Stripe– It functions similarly to Paypal, it’s flexible and the VA can send you a URL where you enter your card details and set-up a subscription that bills you on a regular interval in the case of a long-term contract. This is particularly helpful when you are on a retainer/fixed price contract. However, Stripe may not work with most non-US citizens.
  3. Square Cash– With Square, you can easily receive invoices and you don’t need a Square Cash account, just go the website and pay.
  4. Business Cheques – If you prefer to remain old school, checks are a great way to pay the VA if they have it as one of their options. The only downside part of Cheques is that it may take a while to arrive to the VA, but if they have no problem with that, then you can use this method.
  5. Programs and software such as Dubsado and Freshbooks that integrates with various payments methods and lets you do everything in one platform.  Some of the programs also have reminders in case you forget to make a payment and will also collect the time-sheets for you so you won’t have to juggle various platforms to coordinate your payment.
  6. Wave cloud accounting- Some VAs will have their website well developed to enable payments over their website. Wave is one of the options that make this possible where the VA provides you with a special link on their site that you can use to pay for the services offered.
  7. Direct bank transfer – Also a preferred method of payment by most freelancers. Here you send the money directly to their bank account.

Other methods of payments you can use are such as E-transfer which currently works for non-US users, Bills.com and direct debit. The last option may take time for the system to be granted by the respective banks and may not be appropriate in urgent cases.

In conclusion

The method you agree on should be easy to use to build trust and guarantee long-term working relations where necessary.  Avoid long-waits when paying the VA and where possible, automate the process in the case of regular payments.

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