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  • #994541
    Unng
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    Hello!

    I own a registered business in Australia and I’m planning on hiring someone from the United States to be my permanent developer for my business. They will be staying in USA and we will be communicating through Skype, Email, etc. and I will pay them monthly through PayPal. I’ve done this before with someone else but it was more casual, I was wondering if this time around I should be getting them to sign some sort of contract or not?

    If you have any questions to help me with this I’d be glad to answer!

    Thanks :)

    #1197102
    Rohan@TD
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    [USER=64627]@Unng[/USER], it’s important you clearly communicate your expectations to your team members and having them agree to them. This includes having some form of agreement regarding their ongoing employment.

    Having a virtual employee should be treated the same as having somebody who works in your office. It helps you get the most out of your relationship. Check out our blog post on leading a virtual team for some further guidance and practical tips.

    #1197103
    pixelstorm
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    Hi – Rohan is exactly right. If you have expectations from them, you need to make them CLEAR and put them in a “job description” exactly like you would with other employees in Australia. Make them feel a part of the team, but also outline their responsibilities and your expectations. If you get your local employees to sign a contract, do this with them as well. :)

    Hope that helps – Good luck!

    #1197104
    bb1
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    All good stuff, and yes you shouldn’t treat any employee different if they are sitting in the seat next to you or 1000’s of K’s away in a different country, although you must remember communications is so much easier if they are sitting next to you.

    But the other question I raise, is you need to consider that the contract you have with the guy or gal in the seat next to you is written based on laws and expectations in our legal jurisdiction, You need to consider different employment and other laws with other jurisdictions, and how you can actually enforce it in any case. I believe and I could be wrong on this, if an overseas employee transgresses, you can take them to the courts in our country, But than how do you enforce that judgement overseas. Or even if taking it to an overseas court, again how do you handle it. Just things to consider.

    #1197105
    pixelstorm
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    [USER=53375]@bb1[/USER] you are correct – there is an element of “risk” with overseas workers. really, if anything major goes wrong, would you go over there and sort it out? Very valid point, so I guess it raises the question of what work you are given them and potential risk and risk management – And also “back up plan” if things do go wrong.. Good luck :)

    #1197106
    JohnW
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    Hi Unng,
    Whenever a read the word “permanent” in any Internet service context, red flags go up, volcanoes rumble and earth-nearing asteroids start to streak across the sky.

    Internet services are probably the most transient businesses that have ever evolved in the entire history of business category development.

    Very, frequently I run into business owners whose website was published by a developer that they no longer trust or who has disappeared off the face of the earth.

    This is common, NOT unusual.

    You MUST address these issues with any Internet support services:

    • Your domain name management and control
    • The hosting services for your domain name
    • The hosting services for your website and email functions
    • Your website management systems – their maintenance, updating, backup and usage
    • What happens with a need to transfer control/management from your existing service to another?

    You must always ensure YOU have all appropriate access privileges to every one of these functions.

    BTW, a useful tool to check the longevity of any Internet service provider is the “Wayback Machine“. If you run your propsective supplier’s domain name through it, it will tell you approximatley how long it has been offering the services you want.

    I suspect folk will find that most web development sites art less than 8 years old – so much for “permanent” support services.

    You need to address the above issues whether you are using overseas or local services.

    The big issue for you will be that if you select an Aust supplier and things go wrong, you will at least be dealing with a dispute that is governed by Australian laws and with someone who is resident in Australia.

    If things go wrong with an overseas supplier, can you afford to chase up your greviances in an unknown legal system?
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1197107
    Calcul8or
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    I think something a lot of employers overlook is the fact that all employees have direct access to the very heart and soul of their businesses, depending on the level of authority they have of course. But those who are authorised, could very easily misuse and abuse sensitive information and put a business at risk, even when they sit right next to you in the office.

    This becomes a greater concern when you allow access to contractors to confidential information, because you have no way of monitoring their activities, and especially more so when that contractor is located overseas.

    In my line of work (and being one of those contractors I mentioned) I often have free access to highly confidential business data, but understand that the reputation of my business and ultimately myself relies very heavily on always handling data in the most responsible and secure way possible, and taking every precaution to ensure that security is never compromised.

    I’ve signed all sorts of confidentiality agreements with clients (which I go to great lengths to honour, such as never saving any work on cloud servers) and have built solid relationships with my clients (which is often more valuable than a piece of paper) so that they have absolute faith in me and my stated promise never to let them down.

    From my experience, that would be the major area of concern for an employer looking to hire someone in the InfoTech area. But if all they’re doing is building and maintaining websites and creating tools for you to use in your business etc, there is lower risk of compromising your confidentiality. There is still always the chance they might sell what they create for you, to your competitors.

    But then again, your competitors could just as easily copy any innovation you come up with, all by themselves.

    Programmer. Analyst. Nerd. Calcul8ors.com.au Custom Software & Collaboration
    #1197108
    bb1
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    Calcul8or, post: 232765, member: 29970 wrote:
    This becomes a greater concern when you allow access to contractors to confidential information, because you have no way of monitoring their activities, and especially more so when that contractor is located overseas.
    .

    I have to disagree with this, the risk is reduced by having them in the desk next to you, and only if you are there every hour,, but as soon as they are in any remote location, and that can be the building next door, the next suburb, the next state or overseas, your ability to monitor is exactly the same.

    #1197109
    Calcul8or
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    bb1, post: 232769, member: 53375 wrote:
    I have to disagree with this, the risk is reduced by having them in the desk next to you, and only if you are there every hour,, but as soon as they are in any remote location, and that can be the building next door, the next suburb, the next state or overseas, your ability to monitor is exactly the same.

    Quite right Bert, as I said, the concern becomes greater, but the risk is the same regardless of location.

    What I was trying to say is that we tend to be more relaxed with employees, as though they are no risk to us as employers, but become quite cagey when it comes to considering hiring contractors, as if they somehow pose a greater risk.

    But as you’ve correctly pointed out (and I obviously failed to communicate properly), the risk is exactly the same in both cases.

    Programmer. Analyst. Nerd. Calcul8ors.com.au Custom Software & Collaboration
    #1197110
    Unng
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    Wow some very useful information here, thanks everyone!

    #1197111
    Karen Francis
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    Unng, post: 232505, member: 64627 wrote:
    Hello!

    I own a registered business in Australia and I’m planning on hiring someone from the United States to be my permanent developer for my business. They will be staying in USA and we will be communicating through Skype, Email, etc. and I will pay them monthly through PayPal. I’ve done this before with someone else but it was more casual, I was wondering if this time around I should be getting them to sign some sort of contract or not?

    If you have any questions to help me with this I’d be glad to answer!

    Thanks :)

    Hi Unng,

    My first question is why the US? Is the timezone going to work for you if you need anything done urgently in your business hours?

    My only other comment is that if this is going to be an ongoing professional relationship with the exchange of money for services rendered, then a contract is mandatory.

    You need to outline what you expect, and they need to let you know if they will meet your expectations, and if they can’t or won’t then what can they offer to match. Sometimes their skillset may not be what you require, other times it may be a misunderstanding in terminology, but.. get it in writing.

    Good luck with it :)

    #1197112
    Unng
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    Karen Francis, post: 232864, member: 72549 wrote:
    Hi Unng,

    My first question is why the US? Is the timezone going to work for you if you need anything done urgently in your business hours?

    My only other comment is that if this is going to be an ongoing professional relationship with the exchange of money for services rendered, then a contract is mandatory.

    You need to outline what you expect, and they need to let you know if they will meet your expectations, and if they can’t or won’t then what can they offer to match. Sometimes their skillset may not be what you require, other times it may be a misunderstanding in terminology, but.. get it in writing.

    Good luck with it :)
    Didn’t pick them because they’re in the US, just worked out that way! I’m pretty flexible though.

    So what kind of contract do I give them? I understand the risk and difficulties of working with someone overseas as everyone has explained it here and I’ve done it before, but from a legal standpoint is there a specific contract or form I need to get them to sign if I’m employing them? Or do I just need to get one made up that outlines what I want?

    Thanks

    #1197113
    JohnW
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    Unng, post: 233013, member: 64627 wrote:
    Didn’t pick them because they’re in the US, just worked out that way! I’m pretty flexible though.

    So what kind of contract do I give them? I understand the risk and difficulties of working with someone overseas as everyone has explained it here and I’ve done it before, but from a legal standpoint is there a specific contract or form I need to get them to sign if I’m employing them? Or do I just need to get one made up that outlines what I want?

    Thanks
    Here’s one example of a contract: Sample Website Agreement.

    I’m not a lawyer so can’t vouch for its validity. I’m sure there will be many other examples you can find online.

    Let me draw your attention to:

    21. Governing Law and Jurisdiction
    This Agreement is governed by the laws of the State of Victoria within the Commonwealth of Australia and each party submits to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of that State.”

    You certainly want to address the issue of what state/country’s laws are to be used for any dispute resolution.

    You may have trouble finding any developer who is prepared to enter an agreement where dispute resolution is outside of their location.

    BTW, Disputes with Google’s terms of use are governed by

    “…laws of California, U.S.A., excluding California’s conflict of laws rules, will apply to any disputes arising out of or relating to these terms or the Services. All claims arising out of or relating to these terms or the Services will be litigated exclusively in the federal or state courts of Santa Clara County, California, USA…”

    Any Australian who has a beef with Google needs very deep pockets just to lodge a dispute.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1197114
    kathiemt
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    Everyone’s assuming this person will be your employee. Are they not indeed a service provider and therefore an independent contractor? You’d be paying agreed hourly or monthly or project rates for the work they carry out for you, would they not?

    JohnW raises some very valid points and it is very important you have full access always to everything which should be in your name. A web developer is just that – a web developer but you should still have control over registration of domains, webhosting, etc. And a contract would be a good idea.

    #1197115
    Karen Francis
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    Unng, post: 233013, member: 64627 wrote:
    Didn’t pick them because they’re in the US, just worked out that way! I’m pretty flexible though.

    So what kind of contract do I give them? I understand the risk and difficulties of working with someone overseas as everyone has explained it here and I’ve done it before, but from a legal standpoint is there a specific contract or form I need to get them to sign if I’m employing them? Or do I just need to get one made up that outlines what I want?

    Thanks
    Alternatively, see if they have a contract written up for the services they offer, and the two of you can enhance it to suit.

    In my mind, the biggest thing you’ll want to know about is what they will do in what timeframes, if there are additional costs for speed of turnaround (being in another timezone), and if the work they do suits your requirements. If the answer is yes on all of those, then looking at formalising with some legally binding information. If they have done this work before, they may have the right documentation on hand.

    It can be difficult to be clear in other countries, but in my opinion a ‘handshake’ is not enough to run a business on. Once you have some form of contract, if you are still questioning its validity, take it to a lawyer, or look for a local service.
    .

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