1. Identify which admin tasks are taking you or your team the most time complete. These will be the tasks that give you the most benefit to outsource to a VA, as they will free up time to focus on more high level or specialised tasks. Then assess which of these tasks are repeatable. That is, which of these tasks are done regularly and each occurrence is similar to the others. If this is the case a process can be drawn up and followed with relative ease by any potential VA. These will be the tasks that you should first seek to outsource to your potential admin partner.

2. Now look at the tasks and see what skills and experience are required to perform them. Is the VA service going to answer your calls and thus need to be strong communicators? Or are they going to be working in your accounts so need to be experienced bookkeepers? Is there a particular job management software you use that that your VA will need to use also? Does your VA need to be experienced or can you teach them how to use that software and your industry / business?

3. Now that you know what you can outsource and what sort of VA you need, it’s time to identify the best admin partner to outsource these tasks to. Naturally Google is the first place we may go to find a VA. Alternative sources to find good VA’s may be referrals from other tradies, trade business groups which can be found on social channels, tradie business coaches or trades and services industry bodies. If using Google your best search terms will be ‘admin support’ or ‘VA’ or ‘Call Answering’ for ‘your trade i.e. electrician/plumber/roofer etc’. We’d also suggest if using a specific job management app or other software (for example ServiceM8, Tradify, Fergus, Ascora, Simpro, AroFlo, Xero etc) put that name in the search bar also. This should yield you results of good potential admin partners to outsource to which meet your business’ specific requirements.

4. Have a good look at the websites of a few and pick the top 2 or 3 that align with your needs and values. It’s also a very good idea to take a look at their Google reviews. Then either get on the phone or send off an enquiry. It’s a good measure of the efficiency of that VA as to how fast they get back to you and the quality of the interaction, as well as the quality of the information they provide you. When you speak with them ask good questions like – what is the onboarding process? Will I need to write processes, or will they do it their end? Find out their size, location, who will deliver the work, what are their limits, what are their range of services, how long have they been in business, who else do they work with, what is their specialisation etc. Then ask them to send you though a proposal with pricing so you can assess.

5. Selecting the right VA to partner with will usually comes down to your personal feel for their fit for your business. Though some things to consider would be their location – are they in Australia or overseas somewhere? If your VA needs to answer your calls you may wish to have a local VA who better understands your customer’s needs. Are they a company or a one-person operation? How would it impact operations if your VA is sick or on leave? Do you need a VA that is experienced in your specific industry or on the job management software you use? This will govern how much training you will need to provide and how quickly they will be able to get up and running for you.

Following these steps should give you a very clear and easy path to getting the best VA for your business. If they are a good VA service, they should expertly guide the process for you and make it easy for you to get up and running. A good VA will do most of the leg work on your behalf anyway, after all their role is to take time away, not give you more work to do!

One great tradie VA service that does all the leg work for you is Office Shed. We have been in business for over 10 years, only work with trades and services and partner with major trades apps such as ServiceM8, Fergus Simpro, Ascora, Tradify, Xero and AroFlo. Our clients are mainly electricians, plumbers, air conditioning installers and repairers, roofers, maintenance or handyman businesses, pest controllers and cleaning businesses. However, we have worked with most different types of tradies in Australia. All our team are fully employed by Office Shed and are based in Australia.

We have a guided enquiry and onboarding process that will help you assess what services you need and will get you up and running with minimal effort. The main tasks we take on for our trades and services clients include call answering, email inbox management, scheduling, data entry into job management apps, quoting, invoicing, compliance documentation, quote follow ups, chasing payments, payroll, BAS lodgement, bookkeeping, spreadsheet maintenance, liaising with suppliers, work orders, outbound calls, job management software set ups, job management software training and any other admin task typically carried out by trades businesses in Australia. Our VA team are all specialised in trades and highly trained.

If you ‘d like to find out more, get in touch with us today on 1300 779 529 or hello@officeshed.com.au and say Gday!

Duncan McClure

Duncan McClure helps his wife Jay McClure run their fantastic business Office Shed. Office Shed helps tradies streamline their admin processes, are tradie Bookkeeping experts and do reception services for their busy tradies. Duncan has a long history working in management consulting, specialising in business strategy and planning, sales and marketing and customer experience.

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