Rates and Billing

Discuss setting rates and find billing resources and information.

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    #41 (permalink)  
Old 01-12-2013
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Default Re: my rate might be too high
Janet, I see my original post was back in April 2012. In the past couple of months my mother's health deteriorated to the point that she needs care 24/7 and has gone into a nursing home. I recently moved to a tiny house on an acre in the country and I'm busy getting the old house ready for sale so things are pretty chaotic.

My one small law firm client is still with me. Though I've never met the man (spoke once on the phone) it's been a year now, during which we've developed a trusting working relationship. He's aware of my personal challenges in the past year and when I mentioned I'd be building the business and raising my rates come February 1st he didn't bat an eye. In fact he's starting to include me in more aspects of his practice.

In the beginning, to a client, we are an unknown quantity and, especially with lawyers, it takes time to build that relationship of trust. I never promoted locally but now I'm an hour from the city - one house across the road then nothing but fields, drop in if you can find me and get past the dogs - I plan on promoting in the city as, though they might not talk to anyone else much, lawyers do talk to each other.

With respect to blocks of time, I keep an Excel spreadsheet showing date, client, work performed, file number if I have it and time spent which I send to his bookkeeper monthly for docketing/billing purposes. When a block of time is purchased the money is direct deposited to my account and shows up on the spreadsheet as xx additional hours available. It works perfectly.

Lynne
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    #42 (permalink)  
Old 01-12-2013
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Default Re: my rate might be too high
Originally Posted by Wordpro Wizard View Post
Janet, I see my original post was back in April 2012. In the past couple of months my mother's health deteriorated to the point that she needs care 24/7 and has gone into a nursing home. I recently moved to a tiny house on an acre in the country and I'm busy getting the old house ready for sale so things are pretty chaotic.

My one small law firm client is still with me. Though I've never met the man (spoke once on the phone) it's been a year now, during which we've developed a trusting working relationship. He's aware of my personal challenges in the past year and when I mentioned I'd be building the business and raising my rates come February 1st he didn't bat an eye. In fact he's starting to include me in more aspects of his practice.

In the beginning, to a client, we are an unknown quantity and, especially with lawyers, it takes time to build that relationship of trust. I never promoted locally but now I'm an hour from the city - one house across the road then nothing but fields, drop in if you can find me and get past the dogs - I plan on promoting in the city as, though they might not talk to anyone else much, lawyers do talk to each other.

With respect to blocks of time, I keep an Excel spreadsheet showing date, client, work performed, file number if I have it and time spent which I send to his bookkeeper monthly for docketing/billing purposes. When a block of time is purchased the money is direct deposited to my account and shows up on the spreadsheet as xx additional hours available. It works perfectly.

Lynne

Your a strong woman to take care of home and business at the same time. For that we can all commend you. A true sign of your awesomeness.

Potential Clients

If your business is booming and you enjoy working wit that client, yet seek more to fill in the gaps why not branch through social media marketing? Creating a facebook page, twitter account, or simply creating your marketing packet, making the cold calls to potential businesses based on a few hours of web research would do you great justice in pulling in more clients for your rate.

I find freelancer, odesk and guru are decent areas of interest for VA's whom seek to secure some experience or kick off the opportunity to creating a potential relationship leading to a long term agreement, but the bulk of the VA's whom have any experience know the value of their time. The US postal service offers a service of delivering promotion material to a specific zipcode for a flat rate, this service may do you justice if you had a blanket marketing post card promoting your services locally, keeping track of how much business comes out of each zip then moving on to the next. Also outsourcing,if your family requires your time and you realize you may need some time to yourself. Having a backup list of 5 VA's able to provide support for your tasks only leaves you the opportunity to grow your business and provide client's with the service solutions they requested.
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    #43 (permalink)  
Old 01-12-2013
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Default Re: my rate might be too high
Originally Posted by Wordpro Wizard View Post
Janet, I see my original post was back in April 2012. In the past couple of months my mother's health deteriorated to the point that she needs care 24/7 and has gone into a nursing home. I recently moved to a tiny house on an acre in the country and I'm busy getting the old house ready for sale so things are pretty chaotic.

My one small law firm client is still with me. Though I've never met the man (spoke once on the phone) it's been a year now, during which we've developed a trusting working relationship. He's aware of my personal challenges in the past year and when I mentioned I'd be building the business and raising my rates come February 1st he didn't bat an eye. In fact he's starting to include me in more aspects of his practice.

In the beginning, to a client, we are an unknown quantity and, especially with lawyers, it takes time to build that relationship of trust. I never promoted locally but now I'm an hour from the city - one house across the road then nothing but fields, drop in if you can find me and get past the dogs - I plan on promoting in the city as, though they might not talk to anyone else much, lawyers do talk to each other.

With respect to blocks of time, I keep an Excel spreadsheet showing date, client, work performed, file number if I have it and time spent which I send to his bookkeeper monthly for docketing/billing purposes. When a block of time is purchased the money is direct deposited to my account and shows up on the spreadsheet as xx additional hours available. It works perfectly.

Lynne
Wordpro,

Truly, as GLCameron says, you are a strong woman and are definitely on a hard journey right now! I will keep you in my prayers! I'm so glad your client recognizes your value and cudos to the rate raise!

Lawyers are very cautious, with good reason, and it will take some doing to get a steady stream of them knocking on my door. They are used to the bricks and mortar, keeping everything tightly under their control, and like a lot of on-site hand holding! Gotta break them out of that mindset. In the meantime, we'll keep building the relationships with the lawyers we do have and the word-of-mouth recommendations that are absolute gold. But, happily, I've gotten two attorney clients (one virtual, one onsite when needed) from recommendations from my former employers.

Thanks for the tip on the blocks of time way of doing things. I'm open to everything (probably more so than I should be!) as long as it brings in the clients. Things are picking up steam......

All the best!

Janet
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    #44 (permalink)  
Old 01-12-2013
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Default Re: my rate might be too high
Hi Linda,

I notice in the language of your question that you are doubting yourself. You focus on your competition and whether or not you can compete. When you find out what it is YOU do best and what YOU offer, then there is no competition.

Yes, you are a generalist but perhaps you are very funny and make your clients laugh, or you are very loving and when they have a hard day, you are the best person to talk to.These are the unique qualities that people pay primo dollars for.
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    #45 (permalink)  
Old 01-16-2013
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Company name: Kelly L Virtual Office Solutions
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Birmingham, AL
Posts: 131
Default Re: my rate might be too high
As I was sitting here reading this forum, I began to think about my rates. Since I am new to the business, I don't want to make an impression but I want to gain customers that I'll be able to keep as well. I know for a fact that I would like for my rates to reasonable. This is something to seriously ponder and remain firm once set.
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    #46 (permalink)  
Old 01-16-2013
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Default Re: my rate might be too high
To me it sounds like the service you offer is not the same as as what other VA's are offering so it would be hard to compare value.

I set my price based on the value I think I offer my clients. Some potential clients don't agree while others are prepared to pay more after speaking with me and getting a feel for my skills, experience and what I am able to offer.

Be confident in yourself and you ability, use positive language when talking to potential clients and hold firm on the rate you decide on. My advice to you would be don't let your clients set your rate based on how hard they are able negotiate with you.
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    #47 (permalink)  
Old 01-29-2013
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Default Re: my rate might be too high
I start out at $65 p/hours and the more hours they buy, the better the deal. However, I do a lot of technology, coding and major design services, as well as professional photography. Most of my clients have a regular VA and they use me for their more advanced tasks. With photography, i'm always being undercut by people who are not confident in their services. You know what? I get to reshoot those mistakes! LOL Be confident and prove your worth!
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    #48 (permalink)  
Old 01-29-2013
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Default Re: my rate might be too high
One more thing - you may need to sell the value of your services over the other. Do you work more quickly? Do you offer a guarantee of service? If you're starting out, you can do package deals of Buy 10 hours, get 1 free! Or buy 20 hours, get 2 free! Get a free hour of service for each referral you give who signs up!
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