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

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