Working Onsite and Offsite as a Virtual Assistant

By October 28, 2009 Clients 7 Comments

At some point during your Virtual Assistant ‘journey’ you’ll inevitably come across clients that want to use your services but are not quite comfortable or ‘au fait’ with the idea of working virtually. So, if they happen to be within commuting distance, should you agree to work in-house or not?

There is no right or wrong answer to this. Of course, the concept of being a Virtual Assistant means, by definition, that you work from your own office, virtually. However, I think you have to consider this on a case-by-case basis.

One of my previous clients had never worked with a Virtual Assistant, and had always had an in-house assistant. He wasn’t sure about using my services if they were purely virtual. I felt that he would turn into an interesting, lucrative long-term client so we negotiated a mixture of working in his office one day a week and the rest of the work was done from my office.

I could see why he wanted someone on-site because we used to do alot of brainstorming on the writeboard before sitting down and putting together proposals and presentations. I used to ‘take work home’ and happily do things such as internet research, formatting documents etc for him.

The arrangement worked really well for a number of years until he changed his business model and needed someone there full-time, 3 days a week. We parted amicably – the point being that in this case, a combination of working virtually and in-house worked for us, and it was well worth me being open to the suggestion in the first place.

So, if ever you’re asked by a local client whether you would consider working onsite for them, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons, and think of the long-term benefits, if any, for your business!

Have you ever been asked to work in-house? If so, what did you do and how did it turn out?

7 Comments

  • Hi, Lisa

    Iam still up and coming with my VA Business. So, I don’t know how to really answer this one. Yet, I feel compel to say that (if I was asked to work inside of an office, I would have to decline because I would feel more like an employee then and not as an independent business owner.) I would perhaps offer something on a trial basis of some sort so that they may feel comfortable or some other alternative but I can’t do the work inside of an office type thing, because that was the sole purpose of me becoming a business owner. If I lose a client because of this-then sorry-God will work it out to where I will get others. Its a give and take thing with being a VA and Iam noticeing that. But yet keep in mind you are your own boss. Thanks for allowing me to share. Sorry if it seems rude or unpleasant but that is how I feel. Be Blessed,

  • Liz Hancock says:

    I have a client who is away a lot and very disorganised – more of a creative person. I go to his office (at his home) approx once a week/ every 10 days and open and collect mail/ take statements etc ( I do his book keeping). I’ll file away documents and leave urgent things that require his signature etc. This probably takes about 3 hours. We communicate then on phone/ email and I will action all of the work from my home office. He likes to meet face to face every fortnight if needed or once a month at least to go through ideas or any important issues. It works well and I still get to plan the time I go to his office into my schedule.

  • Deb Lamb says:

    Hi Lisa,
    I have run across this exact situation just recently. A client found me on twitter and really liked the idea that we were fairly close to one another. After weeks and weeks of conference calls, emails, phone communication, etc….I finally agreed to go to his office to get him caught up on his accounting back log.

    I was only there three days and I must say, that was three days too long!! My goodness, now I understood why he did not have any assistants that stayed with him any length of time. It was unbelievable and I came close to walking out on day two!!

    My thinking was just as you mentioned, go on-site, let him get to know me a little bit and we would form an outstanding and long lasting working relationship….NOT! At least I found out before I spent any other time working with him virtually that he is NOT the sort of client I need anyway. He would of certainly drove me crazy!! UGH!!

    So, working on site to give it a try and to try and build clients can be a good thing for sure!! At least you will find out up front if you two can work together.

    Thanks for the post, very informative! Make it a fabulous day!

    Deb Lamb
    Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer

  • Debbie Forte says:

    I have a client who is a financial advisor and he deals with a lot of investments. Due to the nature of his business, some of the software he uses for his business can only be used in his office due to security reasons. I also had to be fingerprinted and have my fingerprint card on file with FSC in order to do his work. He uses my services on a retainer basis (so many hours a week) and I typically go into his office to do that work. I have, on occasion, done some of his work from my home office, too.

    I have also run into clients who are a little hesitant to use someone on a “virtual” basis…especially when they are paying by the hour….because they cannot actually monitor the work and time that is being spent doing it. Some people are just old-fashioned and closed minded to things. I’m pretty flexible and don’t mind going into a client’s office to work…if I feel it is necessary. But, I certainly don’t want to only work in client’s offices.

    I have found that once a client works with me…and sees how quickly I turn around their projects…and the quality of my work…it really is no longer an issue. It’s really a matter of trust…and earning that trust. And, I also do meet with clients in their office…or for coffee…to brainstorm and go over projects.

  • Susan Dagg says:

    Yes I did work in house and charge extra for doing so, which encouraged the client it was cheaper for him to go virtually. This took a bit of getting used to, but he is still a very good client of mine and if things go wrong he knows he can call for me to bail him out.

    I have another client who has requested a once a month visit to the office, which for me is good as it get`s me out and i meet loads of new potential customers as he always introduces them to me as his virtual pa( he reckons it is his effort in being green).Before you ask I have made other clients from that bless him he thinks I am a godsend.

    Another client wanted for me to travel, but this was no good for me, but he did find someone else.

    As you said Lisa it has to be your decision and no-one else`s.

  • Astrid says:

    Dear Lisa,

    I am providing in-house work for a client, once a week and I love it. Being out of the house, a change of environment…. sometimes you just need it. We brainstorm a lot, I feel very much involved in his business and slowly more things are coming my way.

    Warm regards,
    Astrid

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