I often find advertisements for virtual assistants (VA) where one of the conditions is it must be a bridging job or the actual person offering the VA services overs them as their bridging job.
What is a bridging job?
The term Bridging Job is use to describe a position (job) that you have while:-
- You are study and need money
- You are starting your own business and need money so offering VA services to make some cash
- You are currently employed and looking for some extra cash
- You have no interest in staying in the position it is just a make do right now position
- Only temporary
Why would a business want a bridging job VA?
Now I can only assume that people are requesting this because they believe they will cost less then a VA who is in the industry for the long run? Or possibly only wanting someone for a short period or project?
I would love to know if you are a business owner who hires bridging job virtual assistants why you choose to hire them over professional virtual assistant businesses?
Why would you want to offer VA services as a bridging job?
As mentioned above it is a great way to make extra money or a supplement income however offering virtual assistant services you need to be careful if you are legally set up to operate a business as depending on your location you could be classed by your countries tax department as an employee and you would hate for your client to be fined and have to back pay taxes and benefits….
BUSINESS OWNERS BE AWARE :- misclassification of employee vs contractor is very common and most countries the classification falls on the business owner hiring not the person providing the services. If the person is not set up correctly you also possibly might have issues with claiming their services as an expense at tax time if you are not provided with the correct tax invoices and paperwork.
In Australia misclassification the employer is required to back pay owed PAYG, SUPER, workers compensation that should have been purchased and both the ATO and Workcover will issue fines and possibly interest for non payment (and late payment).
Note :- This also applies to virtual assistant businesses that are set up as businesses (if set up as a sole trader) most governments provide a detail list on the classification of employee vs contractor make sure you understand these classifications prior to outsourcing (and prior to setting up job description for the role). If unsure contact your tax department or ask your accountant to look into it for you.
If you are looking to offer virtual assistant services as a bridging job but don’t want to set up a business there is a few platforms you can go through that will assist with your tax obligations and offer protection to your clients.
Issues with hiring a VA who is only looking for a bridging job
If they are only offering virtual assistant services while they wait for their business to take off or they are waiting for their dream job to come along the following might be issues you will face:-
- Are they operating a legal business?
- If not will they be classified as your employee and not a contractor?
- Will you be able to claim their fees as expenses at tax time?
- Do they have insurance?
- How long are they planning on offering this service?
- Remember most people don’t know when they are going to finally get that dream job or their business is going to take off – you don’t want to get it all set up then they leave with out notice.
- Are they committed to complete any projects they have started or will they be leaving mid project?
- What happens if they are offered that amazing job tomorrow or their other business takes off tomorrow?
- Do you have an action plan in place to get the tasks you require done completed?
- Will they be dedicated to helping their clients or is this just something to make quick cash while they wait?
- Will they just be using you to learn new programs / systems to then use or sell to their other clients or use in their future business.
- Do they have the skills to complete the tasks efficiently?
- Do they require training?
- Are you required to provide the training?
- Possible conflict of interest if their other business is similar to your business
- Client poaching
Questions to ask yourself prior to looking for a bridging job Virtual Assistant
- Are you wanting someone who will be there for the whole project?
- Are you after a seasoned professional or someone providing the service just to tie them over?
- What is your back up plan if the virtual assistant can no longer provide you with the service you require?
- Are you wanting to build a long term relationship with your VA to help you develop an amazing business? Remember this just not mean that you are their only client and lock them in (FYI if you are their only client come countries may classify them as employees as they are not operating like a business so be careful). There is plenty of amazing virtual assistants who have long term clients (I have clients with me who have been with me since day 1 I opened my business), just because they have other clients does not mean that you will be any less important or they will not want to see your business grow, if anything they will have experience and understand your business and how to help you improve.
- Is it important to you to get someone who is dedicated to your businesses growth and success? If so then a bridging job VA might not be a good fit.
Professional Virtual Assistant Services
Advantages of hiring a professional virtual assistant (someone who has made their services a business, they are legally set up as a business, have insurance, client contracts so both parties are fully aware of the agreement between businesses, etc)
- In business for the long run
- Have systems and processes set up to ensure smooth operation
- Understand contractor vs employee law to ensure that at no time they put their clients at risk of tax issues (if the va does not have a clue about the laws best to look else where)
- Are usually training (training is always on going, changes occur nearly weekly for most programs and methods of achieving your goals) and experienced in the areas of services they offer (most professional virtual assistant services will only do services that they enjoy and are experienced in, and should let you know when any task you ask for is outside their scope of work / training)
- Give you full access to any accounts set up on your behalf, passwords, and provide training (at minimum write up operation manual for tasks they complete so that at any time someone else can follow them to complete the task)