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How to Set Your Rates as a Virtual Assistant

How to Set Your Rates as a Virtual Assistant

Whether you have been a Virtual Assistant for over a decade or just starting out, you need to think about how to set your rates. In this article we discuss different charging models, so that you are comfortable in speaking about your fees with prospective clients. Plus, some scenarios to avoid.

 

Per hour

Categorise your work into different tasks and set out an hourly rate. Tasks that fall under admin or concierge can be charged at one rate and then those that require specialist knowledge, experience or equipment can be charged at a higher rate. Tip: don’t make it complicated. Also, don’t undercharge; this is the first downfall of Virtual Assistants, thinking they can’t charge much per hour because the work is easy.  Remember the client has come to you because they either can’t do the work or they don’t have time.

 

Per project

If you are given a task but you aren’t too sure how long it will take you could suggest a project rate. You may find that you are working for a slightly lower fee per hour but if you want to take on the work and learn something from it then this is a good way to gain experience on the job (and you will know how long it takes for next time). If you are struggling to work out how much to charge then find a VA buddy or mentor who you can bounce this off. They will be ready to share their experiences with you and provide advice. Don’t ask your family or friends as they probably won’t know. Find someone in the same industry as you.

 

Blocks of hours

Some clients will prefer you invoice them in blocks of 5 or 10 hours so they can manage their budget.  Invoice them upfront and then send them regular timesheets. If the work is going to be a mixture of tasks, you may need to pick a rate halfway between your maximum and minimum charges. Or you could agree a fee for the 5 or 10 hours and say that anything over that will be charged at your regular hourly rate. Whatever you agree, make sure it is clear and put it in writing.

 

Monthly retainer fee

If you have spotted a task that you can invoice for but doesn’t take up much time, you can charge a monthly retainer fee. This means you will take on the task for the client and bill them a flat fee per month. Again, if you do extra work for them during the month just charge them the extra at your regular hourly rate.

 

Things to set alarm bells ringing

Here are some scenarios that we have come across and we have decided that these are not the clients for us:

  • You talk about your work and the prospective client talks about using service websites like Fiverr or overseas Virtual Assistants
  • You mention your rates and they talk about using a neighbour’s teenage son / daughter for the minimum wage
  • You mention your rates and they say “I can’t afford to pay that, I was thinking xx”.

 

 

If you are ever in any situation like the above then either say, it was nice talking to you and move on.  Or, if they are keen to work with you, tell them you will get back to them.

 

 

If you are thinking about becoming a Virtual Assistant then we’d be happy to give you a few pointers.  Get in touch at mel@reddesk.co.uk.

How Virtual Assistants Win Clients

How Virtual Assistants Win Clients

If you are thinking about becoming a Virtual Assistant then one thing you need to understand is how Virtual Assistants win clients. It is very different to applying for an advertised job with a formal interview, often it is just a chat with a prospective client. In this article we look at some scenarios in which you might find a client and some tips on promoting your business.

 

Editing a Word Document

Mary is struggling to edit an important Word document. She asks around her friends if they know of anyone who  can help. Her neighbour tells her that you are a Virtual Assistant and might be able to help. Her neighbour puts Mary in touch with you and you have a chat about her requirements. During this conversation you can see if you will be able to work with each other.

This is the first difference between an advertised job and a task for a Virtual Assistant – you have a conversation and do not attend an interview.

At this point you can either accept (if you are proficient in editing Word documents), decline and suggest another Virtual Assistant, or swot up on editing Word documents and learn on the job. The great thing about being a Virtual Assistant is that you can learn new skills in your own time if a client or project interests you enough.

 

Holiday Cover

Jeff is about to go on holiday and wants a complete break from emails whilst he is away. Whilst at a networking event, you bump into him and you have a brief conversation about how you can support freelancers and small businesses with various tasks. A couple of days later you receive an email and Jeff wants a follow-up call about his holiday cover. You discuss the types of emails he might receive whilst he is away and you decide to give it a try.

Providing Jeff provides you with all the information you need, you will be able to carry out the task proficiently.

Being a Virtual Assistant is all about spotting how you can help a client and then carrying it out in the most efficient manner. If things don’t go to plan then don’t worry, you can part ways and both move on.  If things go well then it may open up more opportunities.

 

Red Desk Tips

Over the past 12 years, we have learnt many things about being a Virtual Assistant. Don’t worry about wasting time learning new software applications, focus on spreading the word about your VA business.

  • Elevator pitch – If you are to spread the word about your business then you may find yourself at networking events. Each networking group is different and some allow introductions of 30 seconds and others as short as 7 seconds. No matter the length, learn how to talk about your business in a clear and succinct way, this is called an elevator pitch. For example: “Hi, I’m Flora and I’m a Virtual Assistant, supporting small businesses and freelancers. I can help with admin tasks, social media and property management.”
  • Don’t be afraid to shout about your business – chat to everyone you meet about your business. You never know where your next client is coming from.  So when you are next at your book group, exercise class or night out, tell people about you and your business. If you are at a networking event, don’t just target those who you think might be a good fit with your business as you never know how people are connected.
  • Be yourself – as a VA you are one person and when you have a chat with someone you can see if you are forming a bond. If you get on well then you are more likely to win them over.
  • Don’t accept every job that comes along – if you are setting up your VA business then it can be tempting to say yes to every opportunity. However, you have chosen to be a VA for a reason – to pick the work and clients that you enjoy. This will reflect in your work and in turn your happy clients will recommend you to others.

If you are thinking about becoming a Virtual Assistant then we’d be happy to give you a few pointers.  Get in touch – mel@reddesk.co.uk.

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