2021 Mid Year Updates: Changes to billing, additional hours and bonuses

Dear Clients & VAs,

We’d like to first thank you for all of your support for helping to develop and grow our amazing community of Virtual Latinos (VL). Without all of you, our community wouldn’t exist, clients wouldn’t have wonderful VAs helping them in their businesses, and VAs wouldn’t have the chance of working with such amazing companies.

From day one, our community was built thanks to the integration of the great human capital, our VAs from Latin America, as well as deep integration with technology and automation. The combination of all these strengths is what we could consider a great recipe for building something truly unique, worth talking about, and with the potential to grow big, fast, and for the benefit of all us who are part of the VL community. 

For this reason, we are constantly looking for ways to improve, grow, and optimize everything we do. We’ve evaluated how our clients, VAs and our staff invest their time, and are proud to share with you a few updates on how our community will operate going forward.

Updates Summary

All changes will take effect starting on May 3rd, 2021

  1. Updates to our Client’s Billing: We’re switching all of our US-based clients billing from every week, to every 2 weeks. This means less back and forth, fewer admin efforts invested and now also getting in sync with the VA payment schedule!
  2. New way to request VAs to work additional hours: We’ve created the “Bank of Hours” (BOH) packages to support our clients who need their VAs to work additional hours outside their weekly “Base hours”. Clients will now be able to purchase pre-approved combos (10, 20 or 40 hours packages) for VA to use upfront. Meaning you will no longer need to submit individual requests each time and great for budget management.
  3. New schedule for offering bonuses: We’ve built a specific schedule to support our clients wanting to provide our VAs bonuses and/or commissions based on their work performance. More details below.

Updates Details

We encourage you to read the following carefully, as it contains information about expected updates on how you work with your VA from Virtual Latinos. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team if you have any doubts.

1. Updates to our Client’s Billing: 

Overview
We’re switching all of our US-based clients billing from every week, to every 2 weeks.

  • This update will speed up the way we collect client payments allowing us to pay our VAs faster, and more accurately. Client and VA payments will now be synced to the corresponding work periods, every two weeks (biweekly) for both.
  • For clients on automatic payments set up, payments will continue to be post-paid at the end of the week on Fridays as usual but now scheduled every 2 weeks.
  • Clients not yet on auto payments will be asked to set up automatic payments, in order to be eligible for requesting their VAs to work additional hours outside their base hours.
  • New fees that were non-existent before will soon be charged to VL to process payments. Yet, US-based clients who pay with ACH will have no impact on current fees.
  • This change will take effect on May 3, 2021, which means the last weekly payment will be made on Friday, April 30, and the next payment will be due/automated on May 14th.
  • Note: Any clients who are already setup for billing every 2 or 4 weeks, will continue their billing as is, without any changes to it.

 

Full Details
As we value keeping both our Clients and VAs informed about everything we do as much as possible, we’d like to share with you the reasons why we’re implementing these changes:

Efficiency, speed and accuracy in processing payments
Although our Clients may not know this, we’ve been paying our VAs every 2 weeks for a long time, even though we bill most of our clients on a weekly basis. To make it more efficient and accurate on how we bill our clients and pay our VAs, we’ve decided to match the periods of work between our VAs and our Clients. This change will help us save time in how we process our billing to clients, and help us pay our VAs faster than we do today.

New Fees Charged to Virtual Latinos
Let’s face it, no one likes fees, but sometimes there’s no way to avoid them. Most of our clients, VAs and our team all despise payment processing fees. For this reason, more than 95% of our US-based clients pay our company using their bank accounts, through a method called ACH (Direct transfer from their bank’s checking account) because no fees were charged to us or our clients.

Since we started VL, our payment processor has been Quickbooks Payments, and they charged us zero fees of any kind when processing our clients ACH payments. Yet, they’ve announced that as of April 12th, 2021 they’ll now charge us 1% (up to $10/transaction) for every payment process, and there’s NO option to stay on our current plan. This is a new cost our company will absorb and deal with, yet we’ll continue to be committed to NOT charging our clients any fees when paying with ACH. These new fees, along with the fact that our VAs payment schedules (every 2 weeks) are not aligned with our clients’ schedules (weekly), is what led us to make this decision.

Although we’re currently looking for new alternatives to Quickbooks Payments, such as Stripe, we haven’t found a solution that meets our clients and our company’s needs. If anything changes, we’ll keep you updated.


2. New way to request VAs to work additional hours: 

Overview
We’ve created the “Bank of Hours” (BOH) packages to continue supporting our clients who need their VAs to work hours outside their weekly “Base hours”.

  • The BOH will allow our clients to purchase pre-approved packages of 10, 20 or 40 hours for their VAs to work additional/extra hours upfront, on top of their weekly base hours. 
  • The prepaid 10, 20 or 40 hours combos can be used up to 6 months from the date they’re approved. 
  • The BOH package of 10 hours is only available for each VA who works full-time (31+ hours/week), and will not be available for any clients whose VAs work 30 hours or less.
  • The rate of the BOH hours will be determined by the current hourly rate of your VA’s “base hours”, based on the date the client submits the form to request and purchase a BOH package.
  • The BOH will completely replace the current method of requesting additional work hours on an as-needed basis, and/or a pre-approved ongoing basis. All and any clients who currently have pre-approved hours on an ongoing basis will be required to purchase a BOH in order for their VAs to continue to work additional hours.
  • Any BOH hours your VA will work, and the overall status of your VA’s BOH will be reported to you every week to ensure you stay well informed of the hours usage. A form for your VA to report these hours has been especially created for this.
  • BOH packages are non-refundable for any reason, even if the VA doesn’t use and work all the hours left in their BOH package within the 6 month validity period.

 

Full Details
We know that some of our clients, particularly the small businesses, count on the possibility of their VAs to work additional hours on top of their original weekly base hours, as needed. We totally understand that, as we’re also a small business that needs and enjoys the ability and flexibility to ask some of our team members to sometimes work more than we initially hired them for. 

Thus, we are happy to continue supporting this need and so we’ve created the Bank of Hours packages as a solution to efficiently manage these additional hours needed.

BOH will avoid the need of constantly filling out forms to request weekly isolated hours, allowing clients to purchase 6-month duration packages of 10, 20 or 40 hours for VAs to use upfront, ensuring no client would be ever charged wrongly for additional hours, and VAs will always get paid accurately according to purchased packages and usage.

Important Things To Know:

  • BOH packages will help everyone invest more time in tasks that help their business grow, rather than in administrative work that takes up time that can be dedicated to other tasks.
  • BOH packages will be the way for Clients to request and approve additional hours for their VAs. As-needed/isolated additional weekly hours requests will no longer be available as an option.  
  • VAs will no longer be able to work additional hours if a BOH package has not been approved in advance for them.
  • Clients will be only charged for additional hours according to the purchased package allowing clients to manage/spend their budget at their best convenience and not according to additional hours to weekly base hours usage/demand. 
  • VAs will have the chance to forecast the payments to be expected on additional hours and to be received when the purchased BOH package is fully consumed.
How the Bank of Hours (BOH) Works

The following is a summarized version, for full details see the link below.

Steps for VAs to work additional hours using a BOH Package

  1. The Client must first complete the Changes & Approvals Form to purchase the BOH package of 10, 20 or 40 hours for each of the VAs that works with them.
    – The client has the option to choose to “auto-renew” their BOH once the VA has used all the hours in their current BOH. Auto-renewing is optional.
  2. VL’s accounting team will charge clients for their BOH to their default payment method.
  3. The VA will be informed by Email once a client has approved and prepaid for a BOH, and then the VA will be allowed to work additional hours on top of their base hours.
    – BOH hours are valid for up to 6 months from the date they’re approved
  4. Any week where a VA does work any additional hours from their approved BOH, they’ll be required to submit the hours worked using the Changes & Approvals Form.
    – Once submitted, the Client and VA will receive an email with the details of the total hours of the BOH, total hours already worked (used), and total hours unused that the VA can still work
  5. Once the VA has worked all the hours in their BOH, the client can either buy another BOH, or if in auto-renewal, a new BOH will be charged to them

Terms:

  • BOH package hours can’t be shared or used among various VAs who may work for a single client.
  • BOH hours may only be used by an individual VA, and are not transferable. 
  • One package has to be purchased for each VA the client works with.
  • Clients can only purchase up to 2 BOH per VA every 4 weeks. If they’ll need their VAs to work more hours, they’ll be required to increase their VAs weekly “Base hours”
  • VAs will be paid for their additional hours worked once they’ve completed all the hours of their current BOH. Payments will be made during our regular payment periods, but only once every 4 weeks (2 payment periods).

3. New schedule for offering bonuses: 

Short Story
We’ve built a specific schedule to support our clients wanting to provide our VAs bonuses and/or commissions based on their work performance. Although we know these bonuses and/or commissions are totally optional we wanted to facilitate our schedule specially created for it.

  • VL Schedule to process bonuses/commissions from Clients to VAs: 
    • Bonuses & commissions will be processed approximately once per month, up to 13 times per year, every 4 weeks and Clients will be requested to complete the Changes & Approvals Form accordingly.
    • The first and next official LAST DAY to submit the changes and approvals forms to offer bonuses and commissions to our VAs will be on April 30, 2021.
    • The next official pay period for offering your VA any bonuses/commission will end on May 2nd (Sunday). Yet, the LAST DAY to submit the changes and approvals forms to offer bonuses and commissions to our VAs will be on Wednesday April 28th, 2021. The deadline for all bonuses will always be 4 calendar days prior to the end of the VA’s pay period which always ends on Sundays.
    • The following 3 pay periods last days (Sundays) after May 2nd, are: 
      • May 30 (LAST day to submit form is May 26)
      • June 27 (LAST day to submit form is June 23)
      • July 25 (LAST day to submit form is July 21)
    • A full and updated schedule we’ll soon be provided to our clients. 
  • Fees: 
    • Until now, we’ve never charged any fees for receiving bonuses and commissions from our clients, processing them, and then sending them to our VAs. 
    • Unfortunately and starting on April 12, 2021, our payment processing company – Quickbooks Payments, will now charge us a 1% fee (up to $10) for every payment processed. 
    • For the time being, we’ll continue to process bonuses/commissions for clients and VAs without any additional fees, as long as they’re part of your regular scheduled payments every 2 weeks, and if it’s sent on time prior to the deadline to submit such a request for each of the 13 pay periods.
    • Additional processing and admin fees may be charged to clients if they want to process bonuses/commissions outside of our regular schedule, and subject to our approval on a case-by-case basis.  

4. New limits to changes in VA’s Base Hours 

Overview
Although this is a small change, we have implemented it due to a handful of clients who constantly request a change to their VA’s base hours. This takes up too much time from our team to handle, so we’re now implementing a few simple, but fair limits to such requests.

New limits to how often Clients can request changes to base hours:

  • Increasing hours to VA’s “Base Hours”: Limit of requesting once per week
  • Decreasing hours to VA’s “Base Hours”: Limit of requesting once every 4 weeks
Last updated byVirtual Latinos