Setting your prices can feel scary when you’re just starting a virtual assistant business. It is often tough for “newbies” to price themselves at a fair rate.
As a new virtual assistant, you may feel like you need to lower your prices in order to get clients. I highly recommend you don’t do that!
I started my VA services at $45 per hour, which seemed to be a good middle-of-the-road rate based on the industry standards at the time. I had no trouble getting clients at that rate.
Sure, there were some people that contacted me and didn’t end up hiring me after I told them my rate, but that’s okay. You don’t want everyone to be your client. Again, you don’t want everyone to be your client.
You want to make sure you stick to your rate even if someone tells you you’re too expensive. Work with clients who are happy to pay your rate because they know how valuable your services are to them and their business.
(Interesting in starting a virtual assistant business? Check out the Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Virtual Assistant).
So how to you go about setting your prices? Here are a few ways.
I started out with an hourly rate. It’s not my favorite business model, but when you’re just getting started and not quite sure what type of clients you’ll be working with, having an hourly rate is the simplest way to get started.
Personally, I did some research on what other VA’s were charging and decided that $45 per hour seemed like a fair rate.
Virtual assistant rates typically range from $25 – $100 an hour. If you have good online skills, for example you know WordPress or you know how to setup a webinar or you are a project manager or can do affiliate management or social media management, then I wouldn’t go below the $40-$50 range.
If you are very technical and can do website coding, graphic design or copywriting such as sales pages, etc then I would lean towards the higher end of that range.
Once you set your hourly rate, stick to it! Don’t let new clients try to talk you into a lower rate. If they do, they aren’t worth having as clients.
Selling a package of hours is another way to sell your services. Some VA’s will sell x number of hours as a minimum.
For example, 5 hours at $40/hour = $200. Or 10 hours at $40/hour. Some VA’s will lower the rate for a bigger package of hours, but I personally wouldn’t lower your rate because you’re still doing the work.
If you choose this model, I would make sure clients use the hours or lose them. You don’t want to be refunding people money.
Just state your policies clearly so clients know up front what they are getting!
I never really liked this model for myself. I felt it was too hard to track who used what hours and what hours I still owed, etc. It didn’t work for me. But it may work great for you!
Project-based or flat rate pricing
Pricing on a per-project basis, or pricing on a retainer basis is, to me, a more appealing business model, but it does come with its own pitfalls.
I had a new client contact me and ask what it would cost to add some e-course functionality to her website so she could do an online training.
I thought about how much time it would take me to complete what she needed. I proposed a price based on the completion of the project, not the hours it would take me to do it.
Be careful with this though!
The first time I bid a project this way, I underestimated how much time it would take me and I ended up making far less per hour because it took me a lot more hours to complete. I learned the hard way!
I have also charged a flat rate per month for a list of services.
For example, I used to do virtual bookkeeping for an e-commerce client. I paid her bills, reconciled her accounts and updated her website all for a flat fee per month. It didn’t matter how many hours it took me.
With this model, you can find ways to work smarter (ie, less!) and still make the same amount of money (and no tracking hours, yay!). Plus, you always know how much money you will be paid each month.
This is my favorite model and one I recommend, but again, you have to be careful you aren’t working more than what you are getting paid to do! If you are asked to do tasks outside the original scope of work, make sure you talk to your client and tell them you need to increase your rate.
Start smart and simple
Don’t over-complicate your pricing structure or offerings. Starting with an hourly rate is a simple way to get going without guesswork. Then, once you get your feet wet and know how long it will take you to do certain tasks, you can move to other forms of pricing.
Think about the value you are providing your clients and price your virtual assistant services accordingly!