How to pay your remote workers on your virtual team

5 min read

Looking for a quick and cost effective way to pay your remote employees quickly and cost effectively?

We have been helping remote employers keep track of work done by their employees and contractors so they can pay them correctly. We talked to our customers about the best ways to pay remote employees.

Paying your remote workers on time and accurately builds a positive reputation and helps you attract better employees.

In this post, we share cost-effective ways to pay remote employees.

How to Pay Remote Workers

Remote employees and virtual assistants may charge for their work by the hour or on a monthly retainer basis. If you pay a fixed salary or retainer, you can skip step 2 as it deals with hourly payments.

Step 1: Negotiate payment to remote workers

How much you pay your remote employees depends on the type of work and their location. If the remote employee is in the US, then you should expect to pay between $20 to $80 per hour depending on experience level and the tasks performed.  If the employee is in a low-cost location such as India or the Philippines, you can expect to pay between $5-30 depending on the work.

You’ll want to negotiate the pay rate with your remote workers based on:

  • Is this a one-time project, like the creation of a logo or brochure?
  • Are you hiring someone for the long-term?
  • What is the job that needs to get done?
  • Does your remote employee have his/her own equipment or do you need to provide it?
  • What references can your worker provide?
  • What other projects like yours has this remote worker completed? Can you see examples?

When hiring hourly employees, add a clause in their contract that you will use a time tracking software. Make it clear that you will use the timesheet from the software for paying the employee.

Increase productivity, take screenshots, track time and cost, and bring accountability to your team.

Step 2: Keep track of hours with hourly remote workers

You need to keep track of hours worked each month to pay them correctly. An automatic online time tracking software is the most efficient and practical way for keeping track of employees’ time.

The software records how long each employee works and generates an automatic timesheet. You can generate automatic payroll or the amount owed to each employee if you enter the hourly pay rate in the software.
How to Pay Remote Workers

Step 3: Handling remote employee billing

A remote contractor will bill you at the end of the pay period. You will verify the billed amount and the work description to make sure you are paying the correct amount.

It’s straight forward for employees on a retainer as the only thing you need to verify is the work done in the month.

The hourly employees should submit invoices with the following information:

  • Worker’s name, contact information, and the date
  • Number of hours worked for you and the tasks performed
  • Dollars per hour charged
  • Amount owed to the worker
  • Terms of payment, i.e., 14 days within receipt of invoice

You should verify the invoice from hourly contractors with the timesheet from your time tracking software. In case of discrepancy, the software data should prevail as it’s more accurate.

Sometimes, a new remote worker may require partial payment upfront (called advance payment) before he starts the work. Don’t be alarmed by it; it’s pretty common. After that advance, you’ll pay your remote workers off of timesheets or the invoices they submit to you.

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Step 4: Paying your remote employees

You can use many online payment platforms to pay your remote workers easily and at very low cost. Two of the most popular platforms for paying remote workers are:

  1. PayPalPayPal
    As one of the very first online payment platforms on the Internet, PayPal is a trusted way to send payment to anyone–for remote work or not.

    It’s the biggest online payment platform that works in most parts of the world. It supports multiple currencies so you can pay remote workers in any country. You can through your bank account or credit card.

    PayPal charges the receiver a low fee as a percentage of the transaction value. But that small percentage can become a big dollar figure if the bill is in thousands of dollars. Your remote workers will pay Paypal the transaction fee for transferring the funds to their bank account.

    The employee may lose additional money on currency conversion if the remote worker is in a different country. PayPal pays a lower exchange rate than banks so that’s more money lost by the worker.

    This means either the remote employee gets less than what you paid or you pay extra to cover the PayPal fee.

    PayPal sometimes puts hold on accounts without warning. This is another irritant for the employees.

    PayPal is a favored tool for paying remote workers because it’s easy to use and works in most countries.

  1. TransferWiseTransferWise
    Transferwise is perhaps the second most popular but least expensive way to pay remote workers. If you’re looking for the perfect money transfer service to workers in other countries, this is it. And it won’t burn a hole in your or your remote employee’s pocket.

    Its biggest advantage is its low fee and high close to real exchange rate. That’s the major reason many businesses use Transferwise to pay remote workers who live in a different country.

    Here is how it works:

    • Both you and your employee set up a free account, connect a bank account, and verify your identity
    • You log in to the account and initiate payment.
    • Transferwise transfers money to your employees’ bank account at the best currency exchange rate

    Transferwise charges 41 cents for every transfer plus 0.5% of the amount sent. But it still works out better than PayPal because it offers a better exchange rate.

    Transferwise has a bank account in every country it operates in. When you send money, you transfer the money from your account to Transferwise’s account in your country. Transferwise then sends the equivalent money at the current exchange rate from its account in the receiving country to the employee’s account.

    Since the money never crosses country borders, it’s faster and cheaper.

Users only need to pay for its conversion fees and mid-market exchange rates. It works by converting your cash at a mid-market rate, with transaction fees taken out before the conversion. It supports over 300 different currencies. Its main drawback is that it’s not available in every country. But if you don’t want to pay high fees and live in a place serviced by Transferwise,  then you’re better off using it over PayPal.

Recap

Once fair pay rates are established and work is performed by the remote employees as expected, pay them their due. Automate the process by using reliable and affordable time tracking software. Use Transferwise or PayPal depending on your employee’s location.

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