Rates and Billing

Discuss setting rates and find billing resources and information.

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Old 08-24-2012
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Smile Virtual Assistant Rates: How Much Should You Charge?
Hi Everyone,

I came across a well-written blog post by a VA named Reese Ben-Yaacov of RBY.

The article is Virtual Assistant Rates: How Much Should You Charge?

I am always interested in ways that VAs bill without having to compromise rates. Reese doesn't use a retainer discount and she states reasonably why she does not.

She talks about how her rates were low and she attracted lower-end clients. She was also challenged by a former client who was used to paying her low rate but then questioned her increase.

Reese uses memorable phrases in her responses which I liked, "Never apologize for your worth." And, "...when you hire cheap, you get cheap. Bottom line." And, "If you say YES to everyone then you’ll have no room for the clients who really appreciate you and fill you with a passion for the work you’re doing."

I found this article on LinkedIn in a discussion. So I would like to remind VAs that using LinkedIn for discussion can lead to the spread of a good article on other sites, as I am doing here.

I'd be interested to know what other VAs think of Reese's ideas about setting rates and more importantly, her 'stick-to-itive-ness' to her rates, which I find inspiring.

Janine
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Old 08-24-2012
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Default Re: Virtual Assistant Rates: How Much Should You Charge?
thank you for posting this article. I like her ideas she expresses in it. I like many others always wonder if rates are too high or not high enough. She puts it very plain and simple and I like that. Very nice choice of articles to post.
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Old 08-24-2012
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Default Re: Virtual Assistant Rates: How Much Should You Charge?
Thank you, Laura for your comments.

Janine
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Old 08-24-2012
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Default Re: Virtual Assistant Rates: How Much Should You Charge?
Thank you for sharing the article. I like the idea of having one price point and versus multiple retainer packages at discounted rates.
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Old 09-11-2012
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Default Re: Virtual Assistant Rates: How Much Should You Charge?
Yes, thanks for sharing the article. I find judging rates very difficult especially when you are just starting out.
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Old 09-12-2012
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Default Re: Virtual Assistant Rates: How Much Should You Charge?
This is a great article! I especially like that it is simple to use. Thank you.
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Old 09-12-2012
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Default Re: Virtual Assistant Rates: How Much Should You Charge?
Thanks for posting! This is a great article and very informative.
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Old 09-12-2012
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Default Re: Virtual Assistant Rates: How Much Should You Charge?
Hi, good article. Thanks for sharing.
Sam
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Old 09-18-2012
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Default Re: Virtual Assistant Rates: How Much Should You Charge?
Sorry for the double post. But it will help us to structure our billing rates. Again, thanks.
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Old 09-18-2012
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Default Re: Virtual Assistant Rates: How Much Should You Charge?
Thanks for posting this! Very thorough, and it will help me to set my rates and retainers.
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Old 10-19-2012
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Default Re: Virtual Assistant Rates: How Much Should You Charge?
That article is really an eye opener.

I'm a beginning VA and what's going through my mind are similar: lower price = more clients. Where I am now, I'm not thinking of what kind of clients I can get but more importantly that I need a client.

But after reading her article, it did hit me that lower price = low-class clients. As a beginning VA, I want to get the best client out there. I don't want a client who will under pay me or anything. That'd be a horrible first client experience.

But I think that the reason why most VAs start low are because of:
1. They don't know the market price
2. They do not know what to expect and are not sure they can live up to the job
3. They do not know what kind of expenses they will incur or what equipment they need
4. They really want to get customers
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Old 10-20-2012
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Default Re: Virtual Assistant Rates: How Much Should You Charge?
Interesting article. One of my clients is a business coach and I get a certain amount of informal coaching and business advice from him. His advice to me is that I need to emphasize the value I can add to my client's business. He also thinks I should put my rates up - even though he will end up paying more! What can I say, he's now a good friend as well as a client and a totally honest guy! I'm probably going to take his advice.
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Old 10-20-2012
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Default Re: Virtual Assistant Rates: How Much Should You Charge?
Thanks for the article. I am currently reading it now. Great information
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Old 01-27-2013
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Default Re: Virtual Assistant Rates: How Much Should You Charge?
Excellent article I need to get the mindset that I dont have to discount my rates to get work. I am good at what I do and need to be comfortable charging for it.
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Old 02-03-2013
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Default Re: Virtual Assistant Rates: How Much Should You Charge?
I'm new so pardon if this is a dumb question but why would someone pay $30/hour for a virtual assistant when you can hire a real person to be in the office to help you for less?
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Old 02-03-2013
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Default Re: Virtual Assistant Rates: How Much Should You Charge?
Hi, rmaker. Each of my clients needs less than ten hours from me a week, most less than five. But because I have multiple clients, I'm working enough to have a full-time income even though each individual client doesn't need very many hours weekly. If one of my clients decided to hire someone to come into their office for, I don't know, three, four, five hours a week and wanted to pay them less than $20 to $30 an hour, I don't think they'd get too many applications from good, experienced individuals.

So with all my clients added together, I get a full-time income, and each of clients gets a very experienced, very real transcriptionist or VA and only has to pay for the time they actually need me. They don't have to provide any of the equipment or office space. It really can't get much better than that!
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Old 02-03-2013
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Default Re: Virtual Assistant Rates: How Much Should You Charge?
Hi: Yes, I agree. You should have reasonable rates which you stick to. You can always offer a discount if the situation demands it. Penelope and Partners
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Old 02-03-2013
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Default Re: Virtual Assistant Rates: How Much Should You Charge?
I took a financial business planning class and the speaker mentioned some if the same things. She said to offer what you are worth and don't feel bad about it. If you lower your rate, you're lowering your value and then saying you're not worth it.

It is hard for me anyway. I don't want to seem too expensive but I don't want to cheat myself and do more work and not get paid for it.

Great things to think about.
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Old 02-03-2013
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Default Re: Virtual Assistant Rates: How Much Should You Charge?
Hi:

I find it works best if by looking at what similar VAs charge you settle on an hourly price. Then you can discount this price. But you don't want to be too low or there is no point in it.

Good luck, Penelope
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Old 02-03-2013
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Default Re: Virtual Assistant Rates: How Much Should You Charge?
This is truly one of the main topics so many VA's want to know and struggle with. And guess what. there really is no exact answer because as a freelancer or multi level va team, you can name your price. But a couple tips here.

Research your market and see what services and other people are charging. Let google be your best friend in this. Do a cost comparison between your rates and others. See the differences. Since your a virtual assistant check your Department of Labor. Factor in all overhead costs for the employer in the U.S. as of 2012 is approximates at about 30% on top of the base salary for an inhouse employee. This is not including additional cost such as training furniture or recruitment.

So many articles and different companies claim that a VA does the same work an in office employee does in half the time.

This is dependent on the VA and there experience,and if there seasoned.

Create a table in word or excel. Factor in all expenses if there are any from your end.
And here's the most important thing. Be confident in what your asking for once you do decide what your rates are. I have mentored and spoke with many VA's that are not confident with there work or themselves. They end up negotiating a lower rate and not satisfied. Usually that relationship does not work out in the longrun.

If you are new and without support from anyone on how to start then thats an added pressure and worry. Get a VA coach/Mentor. Network Network.

Always keep in mind that your business model will have a start point, but always should be open to be revised. It might be a good idea to review your rates annually. Many VA's still work on bidding on major sites and platforms like elance and odesk etc..Though there is work to be found there, Unless you specialize in a NICHE your competing with the world for the lowest rate. You will come to a point when you have that consultation and the client wants to lower the rate, you feel confident enough to say I am sorry this will not work for me. Recommend them to someone else, keep them on your mailing list for future work and bid farewell.

I find that putting together a rates services and policies packet for the client, generally most questions are answered. And what an icebreaker that is. 2 things will happen there. They will like your information and schedule a consultation, or they won't. There's no bad here. It's important to attract the right client and focus on your Service with that client.

For me after 1 year I was tired of the client paying the lowest possible and then questioning where the hours went and why there was an increase.. Now I am not saying that's what everyone should do, because certainly there's a market for those low budget VA's. Everyone usually starts from the bottom to gain the experience etc. For me it was my confidence. The more research I did the more I found out I was more then a bargain. Now I am just very confident in what I am asking for. My perspective with each of my clients is more like a partnership not an employee situation. There's a real professional respect. I have rates and many different flex terms with all my clients. I don't change them every time any more.

Chin up,

Natalie

Last edited by Natalie1979; 02-03-2013 at 08:55 PM. Reason: Add to reply
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