Rates and Billing

Discuss setting rates and find billing resources and information.

Forum Sponsor (Advertise with us)
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
    #1 (permalink)  
Old 06-29-2011
Contributing Member
Company name: LC Mills, Inc.
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Monroe, Georgia
Posts: 142
Follow this virtual assistant on Twitter Find this virtual assistant on Facebook Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn
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!
Reply With Quote
    #2 (permalink)  
Old 06-29-2011
Your Virtual Wizard's Avatar
Community Leader
Company name: Your Virtual Wizard
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Florida-Gulf Coast
Posts: 2,850
Blog Entries: 24
Send a message via AIM to Your Virtual Wizard Send a message via Yahoo to Your Virtual Wizard Send a message via Skype™ to Your Virtual Wizard
Follow this virtual assistant on Twitter Find this virtual assistant on Facebook Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn Find this virtual assistant on Google+
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
__________________
Want New Clients? Click for the RFP Transformation
Reply With Quote
    #3 (permalink)  
Old 06-29-2011
Contributing Member
Company name: LC Mills, Inc.
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Monroe, Georgia
Posts: 142
Follow this virtual assistant on Twitter Find this virtual assistant on Facebook Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn
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!
Reply With Quote
    #4 (permalink)  
Old 06-30-2011
Your Virtual Wizard's Avatar
Community Leader
Company name: Your Virtual Wizard
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Florida-Gulf Coast
Posts: 2,850
Blog Entries: 24
Send a message via AIM to Your Virtual Wizard Send a message via Yahoo to Your Virtual Wizard Send a message via Skype™ to Your Virtual Wizard
Follow this virtual assistant on Twitter Find this virtual assistant on Facebook Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn Find this virtual assistant on Google+
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.
__________________
Want New Clients? Click for the RFP Transformation
Reply With Quote
    #5 (permalink)  
Old 06-30-2011
Your Virtual Wizard's Avatar
Community Leader
Company name: Your Virtual Wizard
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Florida-Gulf Coast
Posts: 2,850
Blog Entries: 24
Send a message via AIM to Your Virtual Wizard Send a message via Yahoo to Your Virtual Wizard Send a message via Skype™ to Your Virtual Wizard
Follow this virtual assistant on Twitter Find this virtual assistant on Facebook Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn Find this virtual assistant on Google+
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
__________________
Want New Clients? Click for the RFP Transformation
Reply With Quote
    #6 (permalink)  
Old 06-30-2011
Contributing Member
Company name: LC Mills, Inc.
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Monroe, Georgia
Posts: 142
Follow this virtual assistant on Twitter Find this virtual assistant on Facebook Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn
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
Reply With Quote
    #7 (permalink)  
Old 08-18-2011
New Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Englewood, CO
Posts: 31
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.
Reply With Quote
    #8 (permalink)  
Old 08-18-2011
Junior Member
Company name: eXPERT Business Support Services
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Miami, Florida
Posts: 377
Blog Entries: 9
Send a message via Skype™ to eXPERT Business Support
Follow this virtual assistant on Twitter Find this virtual assistant on Facebook Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn
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?
Reply With Quote
    #9 (permalink)  
Old 08-18-2011
bridiej's Avatar
Active Member
Company name: Bridie's Typing Services
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Western Australia
Posts: 585
Blog Entries: 1
Follow this virtual assistant on Twitter Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn
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!

.............................. .............................. .
__________________
Bridie's Typing Services
Celebrating 10 years in biz
Reply With Quote
    #10 (permalink)  
Old 08-19-2011
New Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Englewood, CO
Posts: 31
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.
Reply With Quote
    #11 (permalink)  
Old 08-19-2011
reneeshupe's Avatar
Active Member
Company name: Redhead Business Solutions
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Nanaimo
Posts: 544
Send a message via Skype™ to reneeshupe
Follow this virtual assistant on Twitter Find this virtual assistant on Facebook Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn Find this virtual assistant on Google+
Default Re: How to set up rate packages
When I started my business, I offered hourly services and per purchased blocks of time, but quickly discovered that there was going to be a limit to how much I could ever make since there are only so many hours in any given day that I'm going to work. I also quickly learned that I am on the fast end of things and so I would get more done, than the average person in an hour, so my clients were loving it, but I wasn't getting anywhere financially.

I now work exclusively on packages for clients, even if I am doing something for a client long term, I charge them monthly for package. I get done what needs to be done and they are happier, I've also see my revenue increase because of it.

I think I'm in the minority though about discounts, I charge the same rate not matter what even when I offered hourly blocks of time, the only time a client might receive a discount is when they are purchasing a service from me and since I do a lot of WordPress sites I will bundle a few different things together and give them the option to purchase those items at a discount if they do it at the very beginning and at the time of signing. If they come to me after the fact then they pay my regular rate.

An example would be:
  • WordPress Theme Customization
  • Set up of WordPress Shopping Cart
  • Set up of Opt-in or Giveaway on their site

Since I'm already in there doing the work setting up the Shopping cart and Opt-in doesn't take much additional work so they can save money if they want the whole thing done.
Reply With Quote
    #12 (permalink)  
Old 08-19-2011
Your Virtual Wizard's Avatar
Community Leader
Company name: Your Virtual Wizard
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Florida-Gulf Coast
Posts: 2,850
Blog Entries: 24
Send a message via AIM to Your Virtual Wizard Send a message via Yahoo to Your Virtual Wizard Send a message via Skype™ to Your Virtual Wizard
Follow this virtual assistant on Twitter Find this virtual assistant on Facebook Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn Find this virtual assistant on Google+
Default Re: How to set up rate packages
Originally Posted by reneeshupe View Post

I now work exclusively on packages for clients, even if I am doing something for a client long term, I charge them monthly for package. I get done what needs to be done and they are happier, I've also see my revenue increase because of it.
Hi Renee,

I so agree with you on the limitations to offering hourly work as there are only so many hours in the day and it does place a limit on earnings.

The difficult issue has been that some of the services I offer are not projects. My long-term clients ask for a variety of services and each week I could be doing something different. And that can be difficult to package.

For example, last week, I wrote 3 blog posts, edited an ebook and worked on a video for one client along with the usual social media stuff; the latter I have started to package separately. The week before I promoted a teleseminar and created a free download for the client's site. The week before was something different all together and so on.

And I like that variety. But I cannot think of any way to package all that I do with this with long-term client.

So I would be interested to know your take on how you package long-term clients.

Thanks!

Janine
__________________
Want New Clients? Click for the RFP Transformation
Reply With Quote
    #13 (permalink)  
Old 08-19-2011
New Member
Company name: myMSVA-VAS
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Greater Denver Area
Posts: 37
Send a message via Skype™ to Jen Rivet
Follow this virtual assistant on Twitter Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn
Default Re: How to set up rate packages
I utilize Industry Production Standards to figure my rates, I also comparison shop so that I am competitive in my market. I recently posted rates on my website as that is the media that I direct all new clients to. Depending on the service or project I try to keep my rates affordable but not so low that I can't pay my own bills. I always do a trial period, to ensure my clients and I are a good fit. Then as their business grows with my assistance then so does my rate. All of my clients agree that it is only fair, on occasion I even get a bonus.
Reply With Quote
    #14 (permalink)  
Old 09-16-2011
New Member
Company name: MTF Virtual Business Solutions
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 10
Default Re: How to set up rate packages
Originally Posted by eXPERT Business Support View Post
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?
Hi,

Mona here, I'm a new kid on the block here. I am looking to launch ina few weeks and was looking for some ideas for rates.

I really like you idea and will use a variation of.
Reply With Quote
    #15 (permalink)  
Old 09-28-2011
girlfridayresults's Avatar
Contributing Member
Company name: Girl Friday Results
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sioux Falls, SD
Posts: 53
Send a message via AIM to girlfridayresults
Follow this virtual assistant on Twitter Find this virtual assistant on Facebook Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn
Default Re: How to set up rate packages
I agree with your advise. I am actually "hitting the pavement" with our downtown local business owners and asking a lot of questions (2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason). I am finding that, esp in my area, NO ONE even knows what a VA is. (Good for me!) Therefore, building the trust in me seems to be the premise for everything that is to follow. I would have a hard time asking a stranger to trust me for a year.
__________________
Girl Friday Results
www.girlfridayresults.com
Reply With Quote
    #16 (permalink)  
Old 09-29-2011
Senior Member
Company name: The Virtual Office Goddess, LLC
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 2,953
Send a message via Skype™ to Office Goddess
Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn
Default Re: How to set up rate packages
Amazon.com has "The Wealthy Freelancer" starting at under $8. Well worth purchasing!
Reply With Quote
    #17 (permalink)  
Old 10-13-2011
New Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: GTA, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 23
Send a message via Skype™ to Camilla
Follow this virtual assistant on Twitter Find this virtual assistant on Facebook Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn
Default Re: How to set up rate packages
Great feedback everyone. VA's aren't well known in my area either and it's all about learning how to effectively educate your potential customers. I agree that a 1 year contract would be difficult to sell and really like the package billing ideas.
Reply With Quote
    #18 (permalink)  
Old 10-13-2011
Contributing Member
Company name: ATM Business Services Ltd
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Aberdeenshire
Posts: 100
Send a message via Skype™ to ATMVA
Follow this virtual assistant on Twitter Find this virtual assistant on Facebook Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn Find this virtual assistant on Google+
Default Re: How to set up rate packages
I'm a new kid on the block too. In fact, have posted a question about retainer pricing but should have used the search option first as this post has answered most of my questions.

I'm starting out part-time and trying to create a service package portfolio. My ideal client would be a 4hr block per week providing secretarial/pa services. I would aim to have 4 of these clients to get my business off to a decent start.

I have also been 'hitting the pavement' locally. Most of the people I meet are new business start ups, freelancers and consultants who have not heard of VAs but are impressed at the concept and can see the benefits.

From the information on this feed I think a service package offer would be the way forward. I am interested to know how to create a retainer contract and also how to charge for one-offs ie. simple correspondence type and issue.
__________________
Ann Murphy
ATM Business Services Ltd
Reply With Quote
    #19 (permalink)  
Old 10-16-2011
RhondaHolscher's Avatar
Active Member
Company name: Rhonda's Virtual Office, LLC
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Cincinnati, OH, USA
Posts: 879
Blog Entries: 13
Send a message via Yahoo to RhondaHolscher Send a message via Skype™ to RhondaHolscher
Follow this virtual assistant on Twitter Find this virtual assistant on Facebook Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn
Default Re: How to set up rate packages
I have been reading all the hype on packaging your services as well. I currently offer an hourly rate, a per project rate, and retainer packages. I have only one client who preferred the retainer packages, one who does per project rates, and the rest are hourly. The hourly and per project rates stink sometimes. The hourly rate are my least my favorite. As clients come and go when they want and I never know how much money I have coming in. Unfortunately I feel I'm not in a place to only offer packages as I don't have strong enough client base yet.

Also, my contract does not state it's for any length of time. It states the terms and rates and such and it does say if they do not work with me for 3 months or more then there contract is considered invalided and a new contract will be required and they will be subject to any rate changes. So any deals or otherwise that may have been made are no longer valid.

I would love to charge only package rates.
__________________
Rhonda Holscher, Owner/CEO
Rhonda's Virtual Office - YOUR Virtual Assistant
Reply With Quote
    #20 (permalink)  
Old 11-09-2011
Contributing Member
Company name: Expert Virtual Office Services, Inc.
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: San Diego
Posts: 135
Follow this virtual assistant on Twitter Find this virtual assistant on Facebook Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn Find this virtual assistant on Google+
Default Re: How to set up rate packages
Great advice offering blocks of time along with some hourly depending on client requirements.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Does anyone offer special packages of their services? MsLisaLisa Rates and Billing 4 07-15-2010 05:20 PM
Need help naming packages Balancing Act Websites and Blogs 15 11-06-2009 05:12 PM
Offering Service Packages oregonva Determining Your Virtual Assistant Services 10 04-16-2009 05:09 AM
what about this one? Mailing packages work at home scam Becky Noblick VA Business Planning and Development 4 03-16-2009 03:29 PM


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:31 PM.

Work from Home | Become A Virtual Assistant
Virtual Assistant Phones
Virtual Assistant Directory
How to respond to an RFP
Virtual Assistant Contracts
Virtual Assistant Forums Advertising

© Virtual Assistant Forums 2016 Content and images protected under copyright law.
Virtual Assistant Forums on Facebook