First client....(contracts & payment) what happens next?


Hi ladies

So, I’ve got my first client…Yay! I’m now after some inside info (as this is my first time and I want to be professional) on what happens next before starting the work.

Consultation and prelim research work - done!

I’m due to confirm cost/time required early next week which is really exciting, so questions in my head:

When cost/time is agreed, at what point do I send over a contract to my client?
Do I invoice as soon as the contract is signed?
Does anyone use PayPal for clients to pay up front so you’re not giving out your bank details?
Has anyone had to sign a clients contract too?

Thanks in advance!


Firstly: :confetti_ball::tada:CONGRATULATIONS!!! :tada::confetti_ball:

So usually when I get clients to say YES, I try and get them to do stuff then and there… And you have to be quite forceful about it, because otherwise they forget or it slips off the bottom of their To Do List.

So they go "Yes, that sounds amazing, sign me up!"
I make sure they understand how much we are per hour, and how long I think their tasks will take and how we will work. I also ask for their full business name, billing address, and any POs I might need and warn them of our payment terms. And you’d send them a contract (use just ONE contract as otherwise one might contradict the other! But you might want to include specific clauses that the client wants covered). I must admit we tend to send T&Cs and an outline of the job rather than a proper contract, and I ask them to accept via email. It’s a risk, but one I am happy to balance with the hassle factor for the clients. If I thought they were dodgy I’d do proper posted contract and get payment in advance.

On payment:
Paypal always side with the customer in disputes, and we’ve had VAs who have been caught out by completing work for clients, and then the client reverses the paypal payment. Even when they’ve had Small Claims awarded saying the client should pay, Paypal still hasn’t refunded the money to the VA.

Payment in advance is a double edged sword - if it’s for ad hoc admin stuff you might go over/have hours left over, and it’s a pain to sort out, someone always ends up feeling peeved. I usually just bill at the end of the month and our payment terms are 7 days, plus I try to get them to do GoCardless so I can take the payments whenever it suits me, rather than them having to remember to do it. I appreciate sometimes that isn’t possible or you might have spider senses tingling about it and be a bit nervous…

Anyway - ENJOY!!!


Congratulations- I’ve only been going for 5 months now and only have my first 4 customers, it’s a great feeling when the work starts to come in.
I must admit I just used my previous knowledge from working in a big corporate organisation and toned it down and am relieved to say have done it very much the same as Caroline recommends - so I second all that.
Good luck for the future


All very helpful thanks ladies. I’ve now got a booking form and terms of business, going through the process of getting those has made the process make sense too!

Advice taken on board about payment!


Thanks for this thread, it’s given me a bit of assurance lol! It’s not just me who gets a bit nervous! Well done by the way!! x


As a new VA this was extremely useful. I have a Terms & Conditions document already so will add the outline of the job too.

Thank you


This is so helpful. Thanks :blush:

Could I also ask before signing up your first client were you ICO registered? I haven’t done this as yet and wondered if I should. Tia