Did you know Ausoma doesn’t require long-term commitments from our clients? Our only contract is a service agreement stating the scope of work and cost, and an agreement to provide 30 days notice to cancel services. While we strongly recommend a 90 day commitment for new clients because it takes time to achieve results, no client is bound to us by a long-term contract. We take the risk, not the client.
Yet most stay long term.
If people stay when they don’t have to, spend their hard earned money with no contractual obligation forcing them, there must be something else keeping them.
Question: What are the main points that should be covered in a confidentiality agreement?
Some virtual assistants start their business working with clients they know and have had long-standing relationships with. Or they have developed trust with their existing clients and the issues of confidentiality and nondisclosure were just taken for granted. So what happens when a client, perhaps a large company that doesn know you, wants to hire you and wants a confidentiality agreement or NDA signed?
My first piece of advice is to add a standard confidentiality clause to your contract for any new clients. For existing clients, you may want to add an addendum to your contract. A confidentiality clause can be beneficial to both parties.
The confidentiality agreement does not need to be long and complicated. I use a simple two-page contract with a standard confidentiality clause included. You can review it below.
The confidentiality agreement, included in your contract, should address:
the definition of what is considered confidential
the time period covered
be in line with State law
Some clients may want a more detailed non-disclosure. An example of one is below for your review. This may be appropriate if you are dealing with a Client’s proprietary software for example.
When preparing your contract and confidentiality clause, keep the needs of this specific client in mind. Be willing to adapt the clause for your individual client.
Standard Contract Clause: Confidentiality During the term of this Agreement, Contractor shall act exclusively in the best interest of Client. Contractor acknowledges that it may have access to information which is non-public, confidential and proprietary in nature. Such confidential information may include, but is not limited to, trade secrets, business plans, copyrights, logos, trademarks, financial and operational information and membership lists. Contractor expressly agrees not to use or disclose such information in any manner or for any purpose at any time during or after the effective term of this Agreement, except as required by law or as required during the course of Contractor’s work for Client, unless authorized in writing by Client. Upon expiration or termination of this Agreement, Contractor shall return any such information to Client. Likewise, the Client agrees that it will not convey any Confidential information obtained about the Contractor to another party.
More detailed non-disclosure: During the course of negotiations, training and consulting, The Contractor shall become aware of certain methods, practices and procedures with which Client conducts its business, including but not limited to: Tradeshow processes, blog and web content generation processes, sales and marketing processes, all of which Client and Contractor agree are proprietary information and as such are trade secrets.
Contractor will not at any time, either during negotiations or thereafter divulge, furnish, or make available, either directly or indirectly, to any person, firm, corporation or other entity any proprietary information used by Client. Contractor agrees that all such matters and information shall be kept strictly and absolutely confidential.
Contractor, upon the cessation of negotiations, irrespective of the time, manner or reason of termination, will immediately surrender and deliver to Client all lists, books, records, memoranda and data of every kind relating to all proprietary information and all property belonging to Client.
Contractor acknowledges that a breach of any of the provisions of this Agreement may result in continuing and irreparable damages to Client for which there may be no adequate remedy at law and that Client in addition to all other relief available to Client shall be entitled to the issuance of an injunction restraining Consultant from committing or continuing any breach of this Agreement.
What have you found most helpful to your client’s in preparing a confidentiality agreement?
Small businesses are always looking for ways to save time, money, paper, and especially in today’s economy – gas. As a virtual assistant to solo professionals, I’ve come across several resources that have helped me and my clients save time and money.
One task that can take up time and paper is getting a contract or agreement signed. Time and paper can be saved using an online resource called Echo Sign. This service makes getting a document signed by both parties as easy as sending an email – and it can be done in minutes. There’s nothing to install and a free account can get five documents signed a month. It’s been very useful in my business, making the turn around time in getting documents signed almost non-existent. Also, there’s no paper to print. Documents are stored electronically. Visit their website at EchoSign.com.
Are you always jotting yourself a note on a sticky note? Save yourself money and paper by using Jott.com. Jott converts your voice into emails, text messages, reminders, lists and appointments. Just pick up the phone and send yourself a Jott. Your Jott will be in your Inbox when you get back to the office. No more sticky notes!
Would you like to receive all your bills electronically and not deal with the hassle of paper anymore? Of course you want to sign up for any e-statements you can. Another great online resource is PayTrust.com. PayTrust allows you receive, review, pay and organize all your bills online.
Do you like going to seminars to learn more about your industry but find you can’t afford the gas anymore? Teleseminars may be the answer you’re looking for. Save gas by never leaving the comfort of your home or office. Check out Conference Call University at CCULearning.com.
Many solo professionals are saving time and money by using the services of a virtual assistant to help create and implement online marketing for their service businesses. Search for a virtual assistant in your area and see how he or she can help.
Are you reluctant to hire a virtual assistant because your last virtual assistant…
billed you for time beyond the contracted amount?
did not communicate regularly with status updates?
did not ask enough questions?
failed to meet your expectations?
As your Awesome Assistant, I will:
Never surprise you with a bill for work done beyond what the contract states.
Keep you updated on the status of your project(s) in a timely manner.
Let you know as we’re nearing completion of the time you’ve contracted so you are not surprised when you need additional work only to find out you’ve used up all the time you retained.
Ask questions to clarify your expectations.
Put in writing costs, timeframes, expectations and other necessary details so there are no surprises!
Several of my clients were at first reluctant to contact me because they had unpleasant experiences with other virtual assistants. One client was upset because her last virtual assistant had charged for hours beyond what they agreed on, without the client’s authorization and without informing the client before proceeding with the work that additional charges would be incurred.
This client also felt that her previous virtual assistant did not have clear expectations and was disappointed with the resulting work. Asking lots of questions and clearly communicating expectations would have alleviated this challenge.
Another client wanted their virtual assistant to do more than just complete assigned tasks. The client wanted a virtual assistant that could guide and advise them on what was best for their business. I was able to help this client accomplish the task – after advising him of a different tool that would grow with his business rather than the tool he was currently using and would shortly outgrow.
Though reluctant at first to hire another virtual assistant, these clients did choose to do business with me based on the recommendations of other happy clients. They in turn are now happy clients and recommend my services to their associates without hesitation.
If you are reluctant to hire a virtual assistant due to past unpleasant experiences, read the testimonials of my many happy clients, talk to them about how I’ve helped their business, and then give me a call so I can show you how the right virtual assistant can help you grow your business.
Tell me about your unpleasant virtual assistant experiences and let me tell you how I would have handled the situation.