Rates and Billing

Discuss setting rates and find billing resources and information.

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Old 06-29-2011
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Question How to set up rate packages
I thought the easy route would be to charge hourly but I'm seeing this may be a diservice to my clients (depending on the project).

For a slow VA charging hourly would not be good for the client. But for a quick VA charging hourly would be punishment for being fast. So....I'd like to come up with a rate package plan for my services. Only one problem: I don't know how!

If anyone has any suggestions on where I should begin and how I should organize my packages based on my services I would really appreciate it!

Please look at my rate plans. Here's my page: http://www.lcmillsinc.com/payment-plans.htm

If you think I should leave things like they are...let me know. Thanks for the advice, guys!
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Old 06-29-2011
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Default Re: How to set up rate packages
Hi Caroline,

This is my opinion on your current rate page. Please take this as constructive.

I would not make it look like a 'big blow-out sale' featuring 10 percent off if they sign a year's contract. I think that cheapens your services rather than offering the impression that you are a professional. I would suggest you just simply offer an hourly option for 1-10 hours (or whatever you like) and then just reduce each hourly block, example 10-15 hours, by 10 %. This way you are encouraging people to sign with you for longer periods of time to realize a discounted rate.

I would also not suggest that they sign for you for one year. That may seem to be too long-term. If a potential client is unwilling to make a long-term commitment, particularly those who have never worked with a VA, you will not get that client to sign.

The idea is just get them to sign and then when you have built trust with the client over time, they will contract for longer periods of time.

So I would suggest not using a 'one year' sign-up offer.

Just offer an hourly for x up to x hours and then a discount for above those hours.

You can offer retainer and hourly and packaged or fee-based pricing.

Packaged deals are good for projects because you know how long it will take to do a project and the client is just happy when you get it done at the price you stated you would do it for.

The only way to know how to calculate fee-based or packaged is to time yourself doing a project. Use yourself as a test and create whatever it is that you will offer in the package and time yourself. Decide after expenses what it is that you want to receive in revenue and then decide on that rate times the hour(s) or minutes put into it. Be clear in your contract what you will specifically do in that period of time for that fee and stick to it. If you are not sure if extra work will be done for a project or if you think you need to work in extra time, then place in the contract that you will charge xxx for a project (flat fee) and then anything extra that can't be accounted for... charge as an hourly fee.

But all of this has to be determined upfront and stated within a contract or you could risk doing extra work that you won't be paid for.

Janine
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Old 06-29-2011
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Default Re: How to set up rate packages
Okay....let it simmer in my head for a bit. LOL! I took off the silly 20% off image from my rates page.

So offer the 1-10 hours for my regular rate and over that offer a discount. Offer the discount even if it's been a few months since we worked together. Okay I think I got it. I think.

Hourly Plan: 1-10 hours for my regular rate and over that offer a discount

Project Rate: do research by timing myself with specific tasks

Retainer??: retainer based on Hourly plan???? Is that right?

Thanks Janine! You are so helpful!
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Old 06-30-2011
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Default Re: How to set up rate packages
Originally Posted by lcmills,inc View Post
Okay....let it simmer in my head for a bit. LOL! I took off the silly 20% off image from my rates page.

So offer the 1-10 hours for my regular rate and over that offer a discount. Offer the discount even if it's been a few months since we worked together. Okay I think I got it. I think.

Caroline, this is a guideline. You need to make the decision based upon what you want to make for your business, the type of work you offer along with researching other VA sites to get an idea of what others do.

I am not sure what you mean by 'offer the discount even if it's been a few months since we worked together'.

Hourly Plan: 1-10 hours for my regular rate and over that offer a discount

Project Rate: do research by timing myself with specific tasks
Yes, time yourself, check out other VA sites and also base your rate on doing the math and finding out what you want to make in your business.

Retainer??: retainer based on Hourly plan???? Is that right?
Yes, you could.

Thanks Janine! You are so helpful!
Caroline, take a half hour and go through VAF's rates and billing category mentioned earlier (where this is posted). Read other people's posts and see what others have suggested about creating rate packages.
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Old 06-30-2011
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Default Re: How to set up rate packages
Caroline,

Can you get a copy of 'The Wealthy Freelancer' from your book store or library?

I reviewed the book here on VAF.

I think this would be a great resource for you.

Janine
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Old 06-30-2011
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Default Re: How to set up rate packages
Thanks Janine! You're awesome! I'll see about getting the book asap. Thanks for touching base with me again. I'll let you know when I get things figured out. LOL
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Old 08-18-2011
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Default Re: How to set up rate packages
I really like Janine's suggestion for book "The Wealthy Freelancer". I'm definitely going to check it out.

Thanks.
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Old 08-18-2011
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Default Re: How to set up rate packages
Yes, I agree -- Janine, you are awesome. I recently was in a bit of a self-struggle situation with all of the "package rates" hype going around. I do really think it's a great idea. However, we really need to know/have the experience on packaging our time.

What is working for me is to:

1) offer an hourly rate, which works out for those one-time projects. This doesn't always pertain to one-time projects though -- I have come across people who just prefer the hourly thing. (This doesn't always work out in the best interest for the client.)

2) offer blocks of time at varied reduced rates (off regular hourly rate). I have a 5-hour, 10-hour, and a 20+-hour package. I love those

I don't know about you, but I much prefer the blocked rate. This way I know what I am expecting and can budget my own life accordingly. I am looking to build my business on blocked times, which really results in only having a small client base. Right now I am on my way with that plan and only have a few more to go. Not that it's ever over ... it's just a time then to take a breather to regroup and figure out if it would be time to expand ?

That is not to say that I don't appreciate impromptu projects now and again. I consider those awesome perks. But my bread and butter comes from existing clients who commit a blocked amount of time, hence a solid deposit into my banking account that I can count on.

Phew, and who said that money doesn't make the world go around?
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Old 08-19-2011
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Default Re: How to set up rate packages
Originally Posted by eXPERT Business Support View Post

Phew, and who said that money doesn't make the world go around?
A rich person!

.............................. .............................. .
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Celebrating 10 years in biz
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Old 08-19-2011
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Default Re: How to set up rate packages
I like the idea of offering blocks of time. I have a client who only wants to do hourly.
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